Sens Win First Meeting with Rockford
The first ever contest between the Belleville Senators and Rockford IceHogs went the way of the hosts after a 5-2 victory Friday night at CAA Arena.
Jordan Szwarz (2), JC Beaudin, Josh Norris and Alex Formenton had goals for the Senators as Filip Gustavsson made 24 saves. Rockford's Matt Tomkins turned aside 26 shots as Nicolas Beaudin and John Quenneville scored.
Beaudin had the lone goal of the opening period and it came on the penalty kill. On a clear by Joseph LaBate, Rockford captain Tyler Sikura tried to stop the puck with his stick but in the process slowed it down right into Beaudin's stride as he then skated in and went forehand, backhand to beat Tomkins up high for his first of the season at 13:54.
Belleville extended its lead to 2-0 28 seconds into the second period through captain Szwarz as he banked home a rebound after Erik Brannstrom had tossed the puck goalwards. It was 2-1 at 15:40 as Beaudin scored his first pro goal on a wrister from the slot after he was left wide open.
The IceHogs found the tying goal 28 seconds in the final frame as Tyler Sikura forced a turnover behind the Belleville net before centering to Quenneville who scored his fifth of the season.
But Belleville restored its lead at 4:35 on a nice in-tight finish from Norris as the rookie bagged his 11th of the year after beating Tomkins over his right shoulder for a 3-2 lead.
Szwarz's second of the evening at 17:49 pushed the lead to 4-2 as he banged in his own rebound before Formenton added an empty-netter with seven seconds left in regulation.
Sens forward Rudolfs Balcers had an assist in the game, his 11th straight with at least a point, a new franchise record.
Belleville returns to action Saturday afternoon when they visit Toronto. The Senators are back home Wednesday when they face Utica for the first time this season. Tickets are available.
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