Skip to content

Game Day Build-Up: Belleville Sens look to build on record season in 2022-23

October 14, 2022

Oct.14/22 @ Laval Rocket

Presented by Carpenters Union Local 397

The Set-Up:

After finishing the 2021-22 season with a franchise-record 40 wins and a first-ever trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs, but a disappointing first-round playoff exit, the Belleville Senators get set to open the new campaign in Laval tonight, trying to take another step forward in player development and team success. The B-Sens kick off their sixth season with a roster that is loaded with talented youngsters that boast plenty of offensive potential, along with some steady hands on the back end, and a pair of blossoming goaltenders. And while there’s a positive mindset around the entire organization heading into a critical year in the development of some of the Senators top prospects, the task tonight will be a difficult one. Not only will the Belleville Sens have to contend with what’s sure to be a raucous opening night crowd at Place Bell, they’ll also be trying to shake the “opening night curse” that has plagued the team since it’s inauguration, with Belleville holding an 0-5 lifetime record in the first game of the season.

Previous History:

The Belleville Sens were able to buck their lifetime trend against the Rocket last season, putting up an 8-4-0-0 record. The team’s lifetime mark vs Laval is a little bit closer to .500, at 29-24-1-2. But, even with that success, wins in La Belle Province have been tough to come by. Belleville was 3-3 at Place Bell in 2021-22, with a 10-12-0-0 record in Laval over the past five years. The Senators may have a bit of confidence though, depending on how heavy one weighs victories in the preseason. Belleville picked up a 6-5 shootout win over the Rocket, in an exhibition contest at CAA Arena, last weekend.

Roster Notes:

Three players will make their full Belleville Sens debuts tonight, as forward Jayce Hawryluk and defenders Kristians Rubins, and Jacob Larsson, play their first regular season games for the club. It will also be the first regular season game in a Belleville uniform for forward Angus Crookshank since the 2020-21 season, when the team played out of Ottawa due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crookshank missed all last year with an injury but was one of the most notable Senators throughout both NHL and AHL training camps. Belleville is currently carrying three goaltenders, with Mads Sogaard expected to start tonight and be backed up by Kevin Mandolese. Newcomer Antoine Bibeau won’t dress, neither will defenders Xavier Bernard and newly signed Zachary Massicotte, who are all healthy scratches. Defenceman Jonathan Aspirot is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and isn’t expected to play until at least December, while forward Matt Wedman is also working his way back from an injury suffered in training camp.

Who to Watch:

The Belleville Senators are hoping Victor Lodin will carry over his strong offensive play from late last season. He collected points in six of his ten appearances to close out his 2021-22 campaign. A 4th round pick by the Senators in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Lodin is looking to become an impact player, as he finds his footing in North America, after playing his entire junior career and a couple seasons of pro in his native Sweden.

For Laval, a lot of eyes will be fixed on Rafael Harvey-Pinard. An honest two-way forward, Harvey-Pinard tallied a team-leading 56 points (21G, 35A) over 69 games for the Rocket last season. While his plus-29 rating was third-best in the AHL. He also appeared in four games with the parent club Montreal Canadiens last season, scoring one goal.

Follow the action:

You can watch tonight’s game free as part of the AHL TV Opening Weekend Freeview, with audio coverage available via the Belleville Sens Entertainment Network. David Foot and Joel Vanderlaan will have the call, with pregame coverage starting at 6:50 p.m.

Ticket info:

Tickets for all Belleville Sens home games are available via Ticketmaster or at the CAA Arena Box Office.

Visit the Belleville Sens website:
Engage with the Belleville Sens on Twitter: @BellevilleSens
Like the Belleville Sens on Facebook:
Follow the Belleville Sens on Instagram: @BellevilleSens