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Game Day Build-Up: Belleville Sens look to keep playoff hopes alive in home finale against Cleveland

April 8, 2023

Presented by Carpenters Union Local 397
Apr.8/23 vs Cleveland Monsters (NHL Affiliate: Columbus Blue Jackets)

The Set-Up:

The Belleville Senators wrap up the home portion of the 2022-23 American Hockey League regular season tonight, and they’re going to need a strong effort and a positive result against a familiar opponent if they want to stay in the North Division playoff picture. The Cleveland Monsters return to CAA Arena for the second time in four days after beating the Sens 1-0 in a shootout Wednesday before knocking off the Laval Rocket on Friday night and jumping past Belleville into the North’s 5th and final playoff spot.

Previous History:

This is meeting number eight of eight in the season series between Belleville and Cleveland. The Monsters’ shootout victory on Wednesday dropped Belleville’s record vs Cleveland in 2022-23 to 2-4-0-1 and 10-11-0-2 overall. Belleville’s record at home against the Monsters this season is 1-1-0-1 and 5-4-0-2 lifetime.

Roster Notes:

There are a couple of transactions to report since Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland. Following their elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs earlier this week, the Ottawa Senators have returned forward Ridly Greig and goaltender Leevi Marilänen from the National Hockey League, causing the Belleville Sens to have to release forward Mitchell Heard and goaltender Mark Sinclair from their professional tryouts. Both were returned to the ECHL, with Heard rejoining the Toledo Walleye and Sinclair heading back to the Cincinnati Cyclones. With that roster fluctuation in mind, full lineup information won’t be available until closer to puck drop.

Playoff Push:

Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland and the Monsters’ Friday win in Laval has pushed the Senators back into 7th in the North Division, with four games to play, including tonight. Belleville has 66 points, with Laval ahead by two points, sitting at 68 (with four games to play) and Cleveland three up at 69 (with five games to play). More on the overall American Hockey League playoff picture can be found via the daily AHL Playoff Primer.

Who to Watch:

The Senators get some reinforcements back from the NHL tonight after the Ottawa Senators were mathematically eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday. Rookie forward Ridly Greig will play his first game for Belleville since March 11, and Leevi Merilainen returns to the Friendly City, after getting into two NHL contests in Ottawa. There are no Senators on significant point streaks after Belleville was shut out for the first time this season in their last game Wednesday.

A couple of Monsters had pretty big nights in their 5-4 win at Laval last night. Cole Sillinger led all scorers with three points (two goals, one assist), while Trey Fix-Wolansky had a pair of goals himself. Forward Alex Whelan and star rookie defenceman David Jiricek each had two assists, while Jet Greave made  28 saves on 32 shots against, to earn his second consecutive win.

Follow the action:

Tonight’s game can be seen on AHL TV, or heard live on the Belleville Sens Entertainment Network. Pregame coverage from CAA Arena in Belleville, Ontario, begins at 6:50 p.m. (ET) with David Foot and Joel Vanderlaan.

Ticket info:

Tickets for all Belleville Sens home games are available via Ticketmaster or at the CAA Arena Box Office, with more information on group experiences, promotional packs and more, available on the Belleville Sens website.

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