The Belleville Senators fell by a goal Saturday night as they were beaten 3-2 by the Cleveland Monsters.
Filip Gustavsson made 34 saves while Jack Rodewald and Aaron Luchuk had Belleville’s goals. Sam Vigneault, Nathan Gerbe and Vitaly Abramov scored for the Monsters while Matiss Kivlenieks stopped 27 shots.
The Monsters struck with just 18 seconds left in the first on a very fortunate goal as Gabriel Karlsson’s dump in from the defensive zone caught the corner of the boards and jumped out front to a waiting Vigneault who had a wide open goal after Gustavsson had gone behind the net to play the puck.
With it being the Monsters’ teddy bear toss night, the two teams headed to the locker room for the intermission with the final 18 seconds played before the start of the second period.
Jack Rodewald scored the first goal of the game for Belleville.
The Sens fired 13 shots on Kivlenieks in the second period but were unable to solve the Latvian goaltender with rookie forward Aaron Luchuk coming the closest as on a 2-on-0 he couldn’t bury Jack Rodewald’s cross-ice feed.
Belleville found its equalizer at 4:25 of third through Rodewald as he took the puck down low and skated out front before beating Kivlenieks up-high for his ninth of the year.
But the hosts re-took the lead 1:57 later through Gerbe as on a 5-on-3 he wired a one-timer past Gustavsson off of Alex Broadhurst’s pass and they pushed their lead to 3-1 with 7:39 as Abramov re-directed Adam Clendening’s point shot in for his fifth of the year.
The Senators got within a goal with 1:18 left as Luchuk grabbed his second of the year on a re-direct of Christian Wolanin’s point shot but the Sens were unable to find that tying goal in the remaining 78 seconds.
Belleville is back in action on Boxing Day against the Toronto Marlies at Scotiabank Arena and return home on Dec. 27 to host Laval.