The Belleville Senators finished off the 2018 portion of their schedule with a crucial win on Saturday night.
Rudolfs Balcers, Andrew Sturtz and Boston Leier all scored as Belleville picked up its third win in as many games, beating the Binghamton Devils 3-2, at CAA Arena.
Blake Pietila had both goals for the Devils.
It’s the first time Belleville has won three games in a row this season.
Belleville got the offence going early when Rudolfs Balcers’ shot squeaked past Cam Johnson and over the line, just 44 seconds into the game.
The lead only lasted until Pietila scored his first of the season about 7:00 later, one-timing a snapshot high and over the right shoulder of Filip Gustavsson.
Sturtz would convert a wrap around chance 27 seconds later, to make it 2-1, with Leier snapping home his first goal of the season at 13:24 and make it 3-1, leading the Devils to pull Johnson from the net.
He was replaced by Evan Cormier who was playing on an amateur tryout contract, after signing from the University of Guelph Gryphons and he kept Belleville off the scoresheet the rest of the way.
Gustavsson made 19 saves in his second consecutive victory.
Pietila’s second goal came late in the second period to round out the scoring.
The Senators started the game with just 19 skaters because of more injuries and NHL call-ups, then finished the game with only 18, after Logan Brown left with a lower body injury.
Head Coach Troy Mann says it was a resilient performance by his club.
He also noted the importance of the victory, getting back to within a game of the .500 mark, with another big divisional game coming up Wednesday in Laval.
Leier also stressed the importance of picking up another win over a divisional rival and dealing with the almost constant lineup juggling.
The game in Laval can be heard Wednesday night, starting at 6:20, for Eastern Overhead Doors and Deerhaven Farm and Garden.
The B-Sens return home to CAA Arena on Friday January 4 when they welcome the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) for a pair of games.
You can read the box score from Saturday night by clicking here and see highlights from the game below.