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Game Recap

Smejkal scores twice, Crookshank the OT hero as Belleville beats Syracuse

February 3, 2024

The Belleville Senators put an exclamation mark on their five-game road swing and the last game before the AHL All-Star breaking, beating the Syracuse Crunch 4-3 in overtime, in a physical back-and-forth affair at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Saturday’s game featured some fireworks right off the bat, as Belleville’s Donovan Sebrango and Syracuse’s Shawn Element squared off in a fight about two minutes into the game. The Crunch would open the scoring shortly after, with Cole Koepke deflecting a point shot past Mads Sogaard. The Sens tied it midway through the first, with a deflection of their own, courtesy of Josh Currie. The back-and-forth frame continued as Koepke was able to beat Sogaard again for his second of the game, on the power play at 16:20. But just over a minute after that, Lassi Thomson got in behind the Crunch net and fed a pass to Jiri Smejkal, who ripped home his sixth of the season to make it 2-2 after 20 minutes.

The second period saw both goaltenders put up perfect performances, with Sogaard stopping seven shots and Alnefelt turning away five.

Belleville took its first lead just over three minutes into the third period when Smejkal rifled his second of the game over the left shoulder of Alnefelt, but the Crunch would tie the game again through Jack Finley, about three minutes later to send the game to overtime. The Sens peppered the Syracuse net in the extra frame, with seven shots and eventually got the game-winner with about a minute to go. Angus Crookshank broke up a two-on-one in the defensive zone and rushed down the ice to stuff the puck past Alnefelt and give Belleville four points on the weekend.

Fast Facts:

  • #4 Jacob Larsson had an assist  is now on a three-game point streak (three assists). The Senators are 10-3-0-1 this season when Larsson records at least a point
  • #6 Donovan Sebrango recorded an assist and had a fight early in the game
  • #9 Angus Crookshank scored the overtime winner and now has five points (four goals, one assist) over his last three games. He was named the game’s first star.
  • #10 Zack Ostapchuk registered an assist
  • #13 Egor Sokolov had another assist, giving him three helpers over two games this weekend
  • #18 Josh Currie scored his eighth goal of the season and has found the net in back-to-back games
  • #22 Garrett Pilon recorded an assist and has five helpers in his last six games
  • #25 Tyler Kleven notched an assist
  • #33 Lassi Thomson had an assist to give him points in back-to-back games (one goal, assist)
  • #39 Jiri Smejkal had three points (two goals, one assist) and was named the game’s third star. It was his third two-goal game of the season. 
  • #40 Mads Sogaard earned his second win in as many nights, stopping 37/40 shots against
  • The Seantors were 0/0 on the power play and 2/3 on the ViewTech Window and Door penalty kill


Sound Bytes:

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on the win:

“It’s a huge win. Obviously, we need the points with other teams in the division winning. But that’s a first-place team we were able to take four points from this weekend, so that’s big.”

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on Jiri Smejkal’s performance:

“He played like a man and he’s a big, big man. When he imposes his body, he can make plays down low, but tonight he shot the puck. Those blocked shots are just the buy-in of him and everybody on the team to find a way to win games. He led by example.”

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on his message ahead of the AHL All Star Break:

“I think a lot of the guys will get away from the rink and away from listening to me, so that’ll be refreshing. But, they know when they come back there’s a sprint to the end to try and climb the standings. I told them they deserve the break, it’s been a grind the first half, so come back ready to push in the second half.”

Media Availabilities:

Up Next:

  • Friday February 9, 2024 vs Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils) – 7:00 p.m. ET (Super Friday)
  • Saturday February 10, 2024 vs Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils) – 7:00 p.m. ET (Women in Hockey Night)
  • Wednesday February 14, 2024 vs Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) – 7:00 p.m. ET 

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 can also click the following links for more information on season seat membershipsflex packsgroup experiences or Business Elite memberships, or send an email to

The full 2023-2024 Belleville Senators regular season schedule can be found by clicking here.

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