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Game Day Build-Up: Senators at Rocket – March 23, 2022

March 23, 2022

Presented by Carpenters Union Local 397

The Set-Up:

It’s been a roller coaster couple of weeks for the Belleville Senators, in the hunt for a first ever Calder Cup Playoff birth. Belleville started last week in second place in the tightly contested American Hockey League North Division standings and despite earning points in three-of-four games, still slipped down to sixth and below the playoff cut-line. The Senators chase for the playoffs continues this week with three more games, starting with another divisional challenge, at Place Bell against the rival Laval Rocket. Belleville’s last game ended in heartbreak, a 5-4 overtime loss to another divisional foe in the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday, while the Rocket helped to give themselves some cushion at second place in the division, with a 5-1 win over the Hershey Bears last Saturday.

Previous History:

The Senators and Rocket have already tangled nine times during the 2021-22 American Hockey League campaign, with Belleville holding a 6-3-0-0 record and a 2-3-0-0 mark at Place Bell. The last time Belleville and Laval met, they split a pair of games on February 25 (4-1 Laval) and February 26 (4-3 Belleville) in Quebec. The Belleville Sens lifetime record against the Rocket is 27-23-1-2 and 11-15-1-0 at Place Bell.

Roster Notes:

With the Ottawa Senators making a handful of moves at the NHL trade deadline, Belleville’s lineup has a couple of new faces. Forward Zach Senyshyn was acquired from the Boston Bruins and will join Belleville’s top line, while goaltender and former member of the Rocket, Michael McNiven, was picked up in a trade from the Flames. The Senators will also still be without forward Rourke Chartier for a few weeks after he broke his hand blocking a shot, while defenceman Lassi Thomson getting close to returning from injury, but not quite there yet. Goaltender Kevin Mandolese is also still out with a long-term injury and defenceman Michael Del Zotto was recalled to Ottawa on the weekend. However, Colby Williams will return on the blue line from his injury tonight and Mads Sogaard is slated to start in net. Belleville’s other scratches this evening include Xavier Bernard, Jack Dougherty and Chris Wilkie.

Who to Watch:

Newly-acquired forward Zach Senyshyn immediately becomes the Senators leading goal-scorer, upon joining the team, with 19 goals. The former Boston Bruins first round draft pick has notched 31 points so far this season, with Providence of the AHL, which puts him among Belleville’s top-five overall point-getters. Forward Clark Bishop is also coming off his best offensive output for Belleville, after scoring twice and adding an assist in the overtime loss to the Crunch on Sunday.

The Rocket have been paced by Rafael Harvey-Pinard, who has amassed 10 points (five goals, five assists) as part of a seven-game point streak. He’s also scored in five straight games. Jean-Sebastien Dea is riding a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists), as is Xavier Oullet, who has four assists over that span and nine points (one goal, eight assists) in his last eight games played.

Follow the action:

Tonight’s game starts at 7:00 p.m. ET and can be heard on the Belleville Sens Official Broadcast Partner 800 AM CJBQ, with David Foot (Broadcast time is 6:50 p.m.). The game can also be streamed live on AHL TV.

Don’t forget to download the Belleville Senators app before game time and follow the Sens social media (@BellevilleSens) for updates.


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