GAME DAY: Senators at Syracuse
Both clubs are looking for their first win of the AHL season as the Belleville Senators visit the Syracuse Crunch tonight at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena. • B-Sens at Crunch
The B-Sens kicked off their inaugural season last weekend with back-to-back losses at Laval. The defending Eastern Conference champion and Calder Cup runner-up Crunch — the top farm club of the Tampa Bay Lightning — did likewise in a home-and-home weekend series with the Rochester Americans, although they gained a point for an O.T. loss.
After visiting the Crunch, the B-Sens move on to Hershey where they’ll battle the Bears on Saturday night at the Giant Center.
Game time tonight in Syracuse is 7 p.m. Live radio broadcast can be heard on CJBQ 800 AM. Here’s a look at the matchup:
• Where they stand: B-Sens, 0-2-0; Crunch, 0-1-1.
• Who’s hot: Chris DiDomenico has a goal and an assist after two games for the B-Sens; Team Canada WJC grad Mitchell Stephens has similar stats for Syracuse.
• Big D: Patrick Seiloff earned the distinction of being involved in the first-ever fight for the B-Sens last weekend in Laval; Ben Thomas leads the Crunch blueline with two assists after two games.
• Puck stops here: Veteran Danny Taylor faced a total of 65 shots for the B-Sens last weekend, stopping 58; Syracuse netminder Michael Leighton, 36, has appeared in 111 career NHL games.
• Behind the bench: B-Sens boss Kurt Kleinendorst, 56, guided the team (then located in Binghamton, NY) to a Calder Cup title in 2011; Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx, 49, won three QMJHL crowns with the Gatineau Olympiques and went to consecutive Memorial Cups in 2003-04. • Need to know: In the iconic 1977 hockey movie, Slap Shot, the Syracuse Bulldogs were the fictitious foes of the Charlestown Chiefs in the Federal League final.
ON DECK: Tonight — Belleville at Syracuse, 7 p.m. Live play-by-play on CJBQ 800 AM radio.
SENS STUFF ... Defenceman CHRISTIAN JAROS, who started the season in Belleville, earned high praise from GUY BOUCHER, head coach of the parent OTTAWA SENATORS, after getting called up to the NHL club with fellow rearguard, THOMAS CHABOT. Boucher told the Ottawa Citizen: “We love those guys. Those guys are going to be NHL players. It’s just a matter of time whether it’s Chabot or Jaros. Love him. Love his game. I’m really thrilled to see that quality depth on defence.”
AROUND THE ‘A’ ... Four Eastern Conference teams opened the 201718 AHL campaign with two straight wins — Laval, Rochester, Toronto Marlies and Charlotte Checkers ... Top opening-night AHL attendance was recorded by the CLEVELAND MONSTERS — 12,115 — in a 4-0 home-ice loss to the Rockford Ice Hogs; lowest opening-night attendance was 2,152 at Hartford where the hometown WOLF PACK beat Lehigh Valley 2-1 in a shootout ... The COLORADO EAGLES will join the AHL as an expansion club in the Western Conference next season. Eagles currently play in the ECHL. They’ll be the top farm club of the Colorado Avalanche ... Former record-setting Belleville Bulls defenceman JORDAN SUBBAN starts his third AHL season with the UTICA COMETS. The Vancouver Canucks prospect had 16 goals and 36 points in 65 games for Utica last season. He holds the Bulls franchise mark for most goals in one season (25) by a blueliner. Comets make their first of three visits to Yardmen Arena on Feb. 19.