Presented by Carpenters Union Local 397
The Belleville Senators have had plenty of time to work out any opening weekend kinks following their season-opening split with the Laval Rocket last weekend, which saw them drop a 6-2 decision on the road Friday and then pick up a 5-2 win at home the following night. The team has had four full days of practice in preparation for this weekend’s home doubleheader with the Cleveland Monsters, which will be Cleveland’s only two visits this season to the Friendly City. Tonight, is the first of four meetings between the teams, with the return set of games back Cleveland coming up in early November. Cleveland is also coming off a season-opening split, where they lost 6-4 and then won 5-4 (OT) at home against the Syracuse Crunch.
Friday’s matchup is just the 13th meeting between Belleville and Cleveland since the Senators moved from Binghamton in the 2017/18 season. Belleville holds a 6-5-0-1 lifetime record against the Monsters, with an impressive 4-1-0-1 mark at CAA Arena, while winning just two-of-six games at the Rocket Mortgage Field House. The last time these two teams played was on February 28 and 29, 2019 in Cleveland, with Belleville earning a pair of wins (5-1 and 4-1).
The biggest roster change for the Senators will be in goal, with Filip Gustavsson being returned from Ottawa and Mads Sogaard out with a minor injury. Head Coach Troy Mann says they’re taking a cautious approach with Sogaard this early in the season. Gustavsson will to start tonight, with Kevin Mandolese potentially getting the call on Saturday. Also not dressed for the Senators tonight are Zac Leslie, Kameron Kielly, Rourke Chartier, Maxence Guenette, Colt Conrad and Mitchell Hoelscher. Cedric Pare will make his Belleville Sens debut tonight, while Matt Murphy was released from his professional try out this morning.
Who to Watch:
Jake Lucchini made an immediate impact after being acquired by the Senators from Laval last weekend, scoring twice against his former team in the win on Saturday. He’ll be looked at again to provide an offensive spark. Kole Sherwood, who spent time in the Columbus/Cleveland pipeline as well, had a pair of assists for the Sens last game too.
Meanwhile, Cleveland boasts a roster with a solid mix of veterans and prospects, including 2018 first round pick Liam Foudy. The 21 year-old, former London Knights captain played 24 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL during the 2020/21 season and has also represented Canada at various international events including the World Junior Championship and the World Championship, winning gold medals at both tournaments. The Monsters roster also includes former Belleville Bulls Captain Brendan Gaunce, who called The Friendly City home between 2011 and 2014, and former Belleville Sens forward Cole Cassels who played 55 games for Belleville between 2019 and 2021.
Where to Watch:
Tonight’s game starts at 7:00 p.m. ET and is can be heard on the Belleville Sens official broadcast partner 800 AM CJBQ, with Jack Miller and David Foot. Both games this weekend 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 for updates.
Single game tickets for the 2021-22 Belleville Senators season are now on sale and can be purchased via Ticketmaster, by stopping by the CAA Arena Box Office. Season Ticket Memberships and Flex Packs are also available, with more information available at bellevillesens.com.