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 Belleville Senators

B-Sens Beat Rocket On The Road And Finish The 2023-24 Season In 4th Place In The North Division

April 21, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Belleville Senators News Release

Belleville Senators' Tarun Fizer congratulated by team
Belleville Senators' Tarun Fizer congratulated by team
(Belleville Senators, Credit: Rochester Americans)

BELLEVILLE, ON - The Belleville Senators will finish the 2023-24 regular season in fourth place in the North Division after coming from behind on consecutive nights to beat the Laval Rocket 2-1 at Place Bell. With the victory, and Toronto's loss to Cleveland, the B-Sens clinch home ice for their first-round playoff series with the Toronto Marlies. The B-Sens ground out the win, even without five key players, who were being rested ahead of the postseason.

As they did on Friday, Laval counted first, but it wasn't until late in the opening stanza after the Rocket had carried a lot of the play. William Trudeau was able to get a low wrist shot past a screened Leevi Merilainen at 19:10 to start the scoring. The B-Sens goaltender had been terrific otherwise, with Belleville being outshot the B-Sens 14-3 in the first period.

The Senators were able to get a few more chances in the second than they did in the first, firing eight shots on Kasimir Kaskisuo, but weren't able to break through. Leevi Merilainen saw another 15 shots in the period and stopped them all, keeping the Rocket lead at 1-0 after 40 minutes.

Belleville came out flying in the third period and swung the momentum back their way. First, Wyatt Bongiovanni found Tarun Fizer alone in front, from behind the net, and Fizer was able to beat Kaskisuo to tie the game 1-1. Bongiovanni would net the game-winner about two minutes later, pounding home a power play one-timer, following a pass from Jacob Larsson. Belleville would hang on and pick up the two points, despite being outshot 40-23.

Fast Facts:

#4 Jacob Larsson collected his 26th assist, finishing the season with a career-high 33 points.

#5 Wyatt Bongiovanni scored his 17th goal and notched his ninth assist to finish the season on a six-game point streak (7 G + 2 A).

#8 Tarun Fizer scored his second goal of the season.

#15 Matt Highmore picked up his 22nd assist of the season and had four shots on goal.

#18 Josh Currie had a team-high five shots on goal.

#35 Leevi Merilainen stopped 39 of 40 shots he faced to earn his 10th win of the season.

The Senators were 1/3 on the power play and 3/3 on the penalty kill.

Sound Bytes:

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on the season-ending victory:

"It wasn't the start we needed, but that's tricky coming off an extremely emotionally high win the night before and getting in here late. But Leevi Merilainen kept us in it, we found some legs, found some structure and had a big third period."

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on the depth shining through Friday:

"I think that's been the story all year. Whether it's call-ups or injuries, we've called upon these guys all year to have big games. Tarun Fizer had a big game tonight, I thought Sebrango and Mackinnon were really good on the back end. We've had that mentality all year and we have faith and trust in anybody inside that locker room, that if they're going to go over the boards, they're going to get the job done."

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on Wyatt Bongiovanni's impact:

"I think his hockey IQ is very high. He knows where to go on the ice and he knows what his strengths are, so he puts himself in positions to use his strengths. Obviously that's his shot and being able to take pucks to the net, so he's been a real nice addition."

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on Tomas Hamara's AHL debut:

"He was very good. I thought he moved the puck well and had some good composure in traffic in our end. And again, that's another guy that gets to make his American Hockey League debut in Laval, in front of 10,500. So, I thought he composed himself well and had a really good showing."

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on his initial preparations to face the

Toronto Marlies in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs:

"We've played Toronto enough that we know what we have to do, we just have to tighten everything up. Tighten up our systems and get guys feeling good, get some line combinations going that they can get some chemistry. Just get ourselves as much rest and as energized as we can for Wednesday night."

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on having home ice advantage:

"I think it's huge. It gets us the hard match ups and we've got our fans here for us in game one, and game three if we need it."

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on the 2024-24 season:

"Adversity is probably the best word you could use. Guys getting injured, guys getting called up, going through some changes up top so we had to do some transitioning down here with coaches and players. But, I would say they were a very resilient group and to finish 10 games over .500, in fourth place, with home ice, is a successful regular season."

Up Next:

Calder Cup Playoffs First Round Game 1: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - Belleville vs Toronto (7:00 p.m. ET - CAA Arena)

Calder Cup Playoffs First Round Game 2: Friday, April 26, 2024 - Belleville @ Toronto (7:00 p.m. ET - Coca-Cola Coliseum)

* Calder Cup Playoffs First Round Game 3: Sunday, April 28, 2024 - Belleville vs Toronto (3:00 p.m. ET - CAA Arena)

*If necessary

Ticket Info:

The public on-sale of 2024 Calder Cup Playoff Tickets will begin, via Ticketmaster, or at the Belleville Sens Box Office at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre, starting at noon ET on Monday, April 22, 2024.

Belleville Sens Season Seat Members and Flex Pack holders can access playoff tickets now through their Belleville Sens Account Manager, while fans looking for early access can join the club's Playoff Ticket Mailing list.

Images from this story

Belleville Senators' Tarun Fizer congratulated by team
Belleville Senators' Tarun Fizer congratulated by team

(Rochester Americans)

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