Story by Matt Tidcombe
Belleville Senators forwards Drake Batherson and Filip Chlapik each had four points to lead the Sens to their first win of the 2018-19 season after beating the Manitoba Moose 6-2.
Batherson (2), Rudolfs Balcers (2), Chlapik and Jordan Murray had goals for Belleville while Filip Gustavsson made 33 saves in his first start of the season. CJ Suess had both Manitoba goals while Ken Appleby stopped 28 shots.
A game that the Senators dominated from start to finish started on the right foot as it took just 1:20 to open the scoring. Chlapik grabbed his first assist of the evening as he skated down the left wing before centering to Balcers who wired a one-timer past Appleby for his second goal in as many nights.
The Moose found an equalizer at 12:03 as Suess redirected Mason Appleton’s shot over the shoulder of Gustavsson for his second goal of the year.
But Belleville had the lead going into the first intermission as Batherson scored his first professional goal at 17:38 as he redirected Julius Bergman’s point shot into the back of the net.
After Balcers hit the post early in the second period, the Sens had their third goal of the night at 10:38 through Chlapik as he was the beneficiary of some great work by Jack Rodewald off of the faceoff on the power play.
Chlapik has now scored a game-winning goal in back-to-back years in Manitoba.
He talked after the game about his success at Bell MTS Place.
Belleville’s lead grew to 4-1 at 17:17 as Balcers fired a one-timer on the man advantage past Appleby for his second of the night after being set-up by Batherson and Christian Wolanin, who notched his first career AHL point.
Batherson’s second of the game came at 3:12 of the third after some spectacular back-and-forth passing between him and Chlapik saw the rookie make it 5-1 before Suess got Manitoba’s second of the night at 11:33 moments after Rodewald had hit the post for Belleville.
Murray completed the scoring with 4:22 to play as he fired a wrister from the left faceoff dot on the power play past Appleby to grab his first goal of the campaign.
Gustavsson says he was happy about getting helped out with early offence, but had to remind himself to stay focused on the rest of the game.
After going 0-for-9 on the power play in their first two games of the season, Belleville went 3-for-7 Saturday.
Batherson and Chlapik each registered four points, which puts them in a tie for the franchise record for points in a game while Balcers notched his 50th career point. Adam Tambellini reached 100 career points with an assist on Murray’s goal.
The win also marked the first victory for Troy Mann as the Senators’ head coach.
Belleville is back in action Wednesday for their home opener at CAA Arena against Binghamton. Tickets are available at the Senators website