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Game Recap

Mandolese earns first AHL shutout as B-Sens blank T-Birds 3-0 at CAA Arena

April 5, 2024

The Belleville Senators earned a pair of crucial points and got some help out of town, as they defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-0 at CAA Arena. Kevin Mandolese stopped 25 shots to earn his first career AHL shutout, while Zack Ostapchuk and Cole Reinhardt each had two-point nights. 

The Senators got a big emotional bump from a fight between Belleville’s Boko Imama and Springfield’s Sam Bitten less than three minutes into the game. After giving up the first few shots, the B-Sens would go on to outshoot the T-Birds 14-5 in the period, with one of those shots getting past Colten Ellis in the Springfield net. Former T-Bird Jamieson Rees ripped a shot off the right post and the rebound came right to Tyler Kleven, who put Belleville up 1-0 in his return from the NHL.

It took 14 minutes of the second period for Belleville to extend the lead. Nikolas Matinpalo took a hard shot from the point, that was tipped by Zack Ostapchuk and saved by Ellis. However, Ostapchuk was able to use his long reach to find the loose rebound and tuck it home to make it 2-0 after two periods. Cole Reinhardt was credited with the second asssist on the play. The T-Birds outshot the Senators 9-8 in the frame.

Belleville added its third marker at 4:09 of the third when Reinhardt finished off a two-on-one pass from Ostapchuk to round out the scoring. Garrett Pilon picked up the second assist and Kevin Mandolese would make 11 more saves in the period. Belleville outshot Springfield 29-25 overall.

Belleville also got back even on points with the Laval Rocket in the North Division playoff race, after Laval lost at home to Syracuse. Belleville still trails the Rocket due to the tie-breaker (regulation wins), but holds two games in hand on the Rocket and still has to play them twice more in the final seven games of the season.

The Senators host the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night for Country Night presented by Cool 100.

Fast Facts:

  • #4 Jacob Larsson had four shots on goal.
  • #10 Zack Ostapchuk scored his 15th goal of the season and picked up his 10th assist. He was named the game’s second star.
  • #17 Stephen Halliday earned his first career AHL point, with an assist.
  • #19 Jamieson Rees had an assist and has collected points in back-to-back games (three assists).
  • #22 Garrett Pilon earned his 28th assist of the season and had five shots on goal.
  • #23 Cole Reinhardt scored his eighth goal of the season, along with his 13th assist and has points in back-to-back games (one goal, two assists). He was named the game’s third star.
  • #25 Tyler Kleven’s fourth goal of the season stood up to be the game-winner, in his return from the NHL.
  • #31 Kevin Mandolese stopped all 25 shots he faced to earn his first career AHL shutout. He was named the game’s first star.
  • #52 Nikolas Matinpalo picked up his ninth assist of the season and has points in back-to-back games (two assists).
  • The Senators were 0/2 on the power play and 1/1 on the ViewTech Window and Door Penalty Kill.


Sound Bytes:

Belleville Sens Goaltender Kevin Mandolese on his first career shutout:

“It feels good. Now that it’s out of my mind I can just go on and play games without having it on my mind. But I’m just happy we were able to get the two points because we’re in the playoff push and every game is important right now.”

Belleville Sens Goaltender Kevin Mandolese on what the win means to the group:

“It definitely helps. But, tomorrow we’re after another two points and we have to grab every point we can get. It definitely helps with the morale and the confidence, but tomorrow is a new day.”

Belleville Sens Goaltender Kevin Mandolese on carrying momentum into Saturday’s game against Syracuse:

“We just have to stick with our process. I think when we do that, have good track backs and a good F3, and don’t feed into the rush like the Crunch like. If we just trust our process and our plan, we’ll be just fine.”

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Ticket Info:

Tickets for all Belleville Sens home games for the remainder of the 2023-24 season are now on sale online, via Ticketmaster or the Belleville Sens Ticket Hub, by visiting the Belleville Sens Box Office at the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre, or by emailing Box Office hours are available by clicking here.

Fans looking to buy second half tickets can secure those seats now, by purchasing season seat membershipsflex packsgroup experiences or Business Elite memberships

The full 2023-24 Belleville Senators regular season schedule can be found by clicking here.

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