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Game Day Build-Up: Belleville Sens kick off three-game road trip in Laval

October 26, 2022

Oct.26/22 @ Laval Rocket

Presented by Carpenters Union Local 397

The Set-Up:

Coming off their most disappointing weekend of the season so far, which saw them lose twice at home to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Springfield Thunderbirds, the Belleville Senators are looking to reset as they begin a three-game road trip in Laval tonight. The Senators weekend losses saw them score just four times in total, after notching 15 goals through their first trio of games, while giving up a pair of shorthanded markers, with Head Coach Troy Mann saying he didn’t think his team was prepared for the urgency that Springfield brought into the mini-series. The Rocket, meanwhile, have struggled a bit out of the gate, despite making a trip to the Eastern Conference Final against Springfield last season. Laval is just 1-3-1-0 to start the year (with two of those losses coming against Belleville) and lost both games on their recent eastern road trip, 2-1 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and 5-2 at Bridgeport.

Previous History:

This will already be the third meeting of the season between North Division rivals Belleville and Laval, with the Senators earning victories in both of those contests, 6-5 in overtime at Place Bell on October 14 and 6-3 back at CAA Arena the following night. Lifetime against the Rocket, Belleville is 31-24-1-2, with a 13-15-1-0 record in Laval.

Roster Notes:

There’s more mixed news on the injury front for Belleville. The good news is that forward Ridly Grieg is expected to return to the lineup tonight and goaltender Mads Søgaard should start either Friday in Milwaukee, or Saturday in Rockford. However, veteran forward Jayce Hawryluk (who has two goals and three assists over his first five games) has been sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a wrist injury, while fellow forwards Cedric Pare (one-to-two weeks, upper body) and Phil Daoust (two-to-four weeks, shoulder) will miss time as well, as will goaltender Antoine Bibeau (one-to-two weeks, groin). With that in mind, the Senators have called up a pair of forwards in former ECHL Rookie of the Year Matthew Boucher from the Iowa Heartlanders (ECHL) and former NCAA Conference Student Athlete of the Year Kyle Betts from the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL). Kevin Mandolese will start in goal for Belleville, with the Senators also expected to bring Logan Flodell on this three-game road trip.

Who to Watch:

Senators forward Egor Sokolov has yet to score this season (which is not uncommon as it takes him about five games to get going each season) but he’s been on the scoresheet with four assists. Head Coach Troy Mann says, especially with Hawryluk out of the lineup, he’ll be leaning on Sokolov to find his offence, starting tonight. Mann says he wants Sokolov to shoot more, noting he’s only had three shots on goal in his last three games and no shots in Saturday’s loss to Springfield.

The Rocket offence has been led by Gabriel Bourque, who has four goals over his first five games played. The native of Rimouski, Quebec (originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2009 NHL draft by Nashville) will be relied upon again to help the stagnant Rocket to take flight against their divisional rivals tonight.

Follow the action:

Tonight’s game can be seen on AHL TV, or heard live on the Belleville Sens Entertainment Network and TSN 1200 radio in Ottawa. Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 p.m. (ET) with David Foot and Joel Vanderlaan.

Ticket info:

Tickets for all games in the preseason series, including tonight against Toronto, the game tomorrow afternoon between Toronto and Laval, and Sunday’s Belleville vs Laval contest, are available via Ticketmaster or at the CAA Arena Box Office. Belleville Sens Season Seat Members already have tickets to all three games.

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