The Belleville Senators finished their eight game road trip on a high note on Wednesday, beating the Toronto Marlies 4-1 in the Boxing Day Classic, at Scotiabank arena.
Belleville had a tough start coming off their three-day holiday break, giving up the opening goal to Michael Carcone at 8:21 of the first period.
The Ajax native jumped on a bouncing puck at the top of the Senators’ zone and used a quick release wrist shot to beat Marcus Högberg.
Belleville would get outshot 15-9 in the first period but bounced back in a big way in the second.
Just 2:49 into the period, Erik Burgdoerfer’s seeing-eye point shot beat Kasimir Kaskisuo to make it 1-1, then at 10:38, Logna Brown danced in from the right point and got a shot off, then followed up to whack in his own rebound.
Carcone would have Toronto’s best chance of the second period, spinning his way around Stuart Percy to get a shot in tight, but Högberg stretched out to make a solid pad save and keep the 2-1 lead intact through 40 minutes.
Despite a heavy push from Toronto through the opening minute of the third, Belleville’s power play would start to click and put the game out of reach.
Christian Wolanin’s power play wrister from the blue line beat Kaskisuo clean to make it 3-1 then at 10:03, Jordan Murray redirected Stefan Elliott’s point shot, to stretch the lead to 4-1.
It was Murray’s first appearance after missing 10 games due to injury and says it was nice to be one of three defenders to find the scoresheet, which can make a big difference.
Högberg made 31 saves and was named the game’s first star.
He credited his teammates with a strong defensive effort in front of him.
Senators Coach Troy Mann told reporters he was pleased with his team’s bounce back attitude after the first period, but says they have to stay focused, as the games get more important.
Mann also credited the work of his special teams units in picking up the crucial two points.
Belleville was 2/6 on the power play and 4/4 on the penalty kill.
The coach added that Filip Gustavsson will be the probable starter when the Sens return to CAA Arena on Thursday night, welcoming the Laval Rocket for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
The Binghamton Devils visit the Friendly City on Saturday night.
Both games can be heard on 800 AM CJBQ, for Eastern Overhead Doors and Deerhaven Farm and Garden.
Tickets are also available at the CAA Arena Box Office or via the Belleville Senators’ website.