Article by Matt Tidcombe/Belleville Senators
The Belleville Senators scored five straight goals to beat the league-leading Charlotte Checkers 5-1 Tuesday night in North Carolina.
Jack Rodewald (2), Rudolfs Balcers (2) and Francois Beauchemin had goals while Filip Gustavsson made 19 saves. Charlotte’s lone goal came from Valentin Zykov while Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 22 shots before pulled in favour of Callum Booth.
The hosts struck first 9:35 in on the power play through Zykov’s first of the season on a rebound before the Sens found an equalizer on the man advantage through Balcers who slid a loose puck under Nedeljkovic at 15:53.
It was the Rodewald show in the second period as his two goals gave the Sens a 3-1 lead. His first came at 14:18 on a gorgeous drive to the net from the left faceoff circle before he put the puck high on Nedeljkovic and then added his seventh of the season as he finished off a beautiful tic-tac-toe play with Nick Paul and Paul Carey to give Belleville a two-goal lead after 40 minutes.
Balcers’ second of the night at 1:25 pushed the Sens lead to 4-1 as he took a loose puck and wristed home his seventh of the season before Beauchemin’s fourth of the year at 8:21 came after he patiently out-waited a diving Checkers defender to slot the puck past Nedeljkovic to chase the netminder from the game.
Belleville only converted once on the power play from seven chances but were rarely threatened all evening as the Sens knocked off the team with the best record in the AHL
The two teams will do battle once again Wednesday at 7 p.m. CJBQ’s broadcast begins at 6:50.