Sens Fall in Season Opener to Utica
The Belleville Senators lost its season-opener 3-1 to the Utica Comets Saturday night.
Belleville's lone goal came from Joseph LaBate while Mike McKenna made 26 saves. Brendan Gaunce, Reid Boucher and Darren Archibald scored for Utica with Richard Bachman turning aside 31 shots.
After a scoreless first, it was the Sens who struck first 3:35 into the period through former Comet LaBate as he buried a rebound at the side of the net after Boston Leier, who was recalled this morning from Brampton, saw his shot denied by Bachman.
The Comets tied it just 10 seconds through Gaunce on a one-timer before taking the lead with 54 seconds left in the second on the power play through a Boucher wrister with LaBate in the box.
The period ended in fiery fashion though as Brendan Woods starting punching Filip Chlapik with 34 seconds left before dropping him with a punch and then cheap shotting him while he was on his knees resulting in Belleville getting a seven-minute power play, that they failed to score on, and Woods receiving a 10-minute misconduct as well as a game-misconduct.
The Sens generated some half-chances in the third, including a Christian Wolanin end-to-end rush that Bachman turned aside while Adam Tambellini hit the outside of the post but the Senators couldn't find a tying goal. Archibald scored an empty-netter with 9.2 seconds to secure the Utica win.
There was no score in the opening period with the Sens leading 11-8 on shots but were denied a goal when Stuart Percy found the back of the net but not before the net had been knocked off its pegs. The Sens also got into the physical side of things early on with Pat Sieloff laying a booming hit on Ashton Sautner in the opening minutes that saw the penalty box door fly open.
The Senators are back in action Friday as they visit Winnipeg to play the Manitoba Moose. Belleville's home opener is Oct. 17 against Binghamton at CAA Arena and tickets are available.
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