2024 Playoff Preview: Round 2 vs Cleveland

April 30, 2024  Calder Cup Playoff Series Preview: B-Sens tangle with Monsters in North Division Semi-Finals
BELLEVILLE, ON – Two teams that haven’t seen each other in quite a while will lock horns in the one versus four seed North Division Semifinals. The last time the Belleville Senators and Cleveland Monsters played was back in December, with the Monsters making their one trip to the Friendly City early in the season in November. Though Belleville had a losing record against Cleveland during the season, the Sens have gone in a more positive direction since the calendar flipped to 2024, finishing only six points behind the Monsters during the regular season. Here’s a breakdown of how the two teams match up, heading into their first head-to-head matchup in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Season Summary Belleville: 38-28-3-3, 82 points David Bell’s first full season as an AHL head coach proved successful, helping the Sens post 38 victories (tied for second in Belleville franchise history with the pandemic-abbreviated 2019-20 season). The Sens got hot down the stretch drive, winning eight of their final 10 games, including three straight games to clinch a Calder Cup Playoff spot and lock down an extra home game in the play-in round. That second home game proved crucial, as the Sens used the passion of 4,000-plus fans to edge the arch-rival Toronto Marlies 4-3 in overtime in Game 3 of the first round on Sunday on a winning goal by Garrett Pilon. The victory made history as the Belleville Senators first-ever playoff series win and capped off a supremely successful week. Cleveland: 40-24-5-3, 88 pointsThe Monsters engaged in a lot of pendulum-swinging between the Syracuse Crunch and Rochester Americans for the North Division title, eventually claiming the top seed with three straight wins on the last weekend of the season. Cleveland led the division for much of 2023-24, up until the NHL parent Columbus Blue Jackets were hit hard by injuries, necessitating a number of callups at the end of their season. The Monsters have enjoyed 10 days off between the end of the regular season and the start of their series with Belleville, so the Senators will aim to take advantage of their sharp run of play over the last couple of months.
Key Scorer Belleville #22 Garrett Pilon – 62 GP/18 G/29 A / 47 PTS / +10 / 12 PIM(Playoffs- 3 GP/3 G/1 A/4 PTS/+1/) Pilon led the team in goals and points during the first round versus Toronto, showing his ample Calder Cup experience in that series and continuing his great pace from the season. The Sens regular season MVP scored twice in Game 2, including the tying marker with 20 seconds left in regulation, before scoring the first-ever series-clinching goal for Belleville in overtime in Game 3 to oust the arch-rival Marlies.Cleveland #64 Trey Fix-Wolansky – 58 GP/26 G/34 A/60 PTS/+17/48 PIM Even as the resident of Edmonton, Alberta got into 11 games with the NHL parent Columbus Blue Jackets this season, Fix-Wolansky still managed to be better than a point-per-game to lead the Monsters in points through 58 AHL games. Fix-Wolansky led the Monsters in almost every offensive category this season and is expected to be a driving force in his team’s push for a Calder Cup.
Key Defender

Belleville#4 Jacob Larsson – 61 GP/7 G/26 A/33 PTS/-21/46 PIM, Playoffs- 3 GP/0 G/3 A/3 PTS/-1/2 PIM The Senators nominee for the 2024 AHL IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year award registered a career-high in points during the regular season in his second campaign as a Belleville Senator. With the absence of captain Dillon Heatherington, it was up to Larsson to take his game up a notch and he did in Round 1 versus Toronto, recording three assists to lead all Sens defencemen in points. Cleveland #23 Jake Christiansen – 62 GP/13 G/33 A/46 PTS/+8/34 PIM Cleveland’s lone all-star representative broke out in a big way this season, notching 46 points in 62 games, leading all Monsters ‘D’ in goals and points, while being second on the team in assists with 33. The West Vancouver, BC native also finished tied for fourth in the AHL in points by defencemen and got into Columbus’ lineup for 12 games in the NHL this season.
Key Rookie Belleville #25 Tyler Kleven – 53 GP/5 G/16 A/21 PTS/+14/51 PIM, Playoffs- 3 GP/1 G/1 A 2/PTS/+1/2 PIM The former University of North Dakota star defenceman notched his first AHL playoff goal and point in Game 1 of the Sens first round series versus the Marlies. Along with contributing to the surging offence, the ‘K Train’ continued to play steady, heavy defence to neutralize some of Toronto’s more dangerous offensive threats. Cleveland #65 Luca Del Bel Belluz– 58 GP/9 G/22 A/31 PTS/-2/12 PIM The Blue Jackets’ 2nd round, 44th overall draft selection in 2022 posted 31 points in his debut professional season following three years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Mississauga Steelheads and Sarnia Sting. The Woodbridge, Ont. native achieved a rare accomplishment, scoring his first NHL goal in his first NHL game with Columbus on April 18 versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Key Goaltender

Belleville #40 Mads Sogaard: 32 GP / 18-9-3 / 2 SO / 2.45 GAA / .916 SV%, Playoffs- 3 GP/2-1/0 SO/2.64 GAA/.881 SV% After an 18-win season, “The Great Dane” had a triumphant series versus the Toronto Marlies, starting in all three games, allowing eight goals and making 59 saves on 67 shots. He picked up the win in the clinching Game 3 versus Toronto and will likely start Game 1 versus Cleveland. Cleveland #73 Jet Greaves: 46 GP/30-12-4/1 SO/2.93 GAA/.910 SV% One of the busier goaltenders in the AHL, the 23-year-old Cambridge, Ont. product made the third-most appearances in the 32-team circuit, behind only Tucson’s Matthew Villalta and Jakub Dobes of the Laval Rocket. Greaves won all three starts he made against Belleville this season, allowing only four goals and filled the Columbus crease in nine games as well.
Special Teams Matchup BellevilleRegular Season PP% – 18.2% | 49/269  (16th in AHL) | 10 SHGAPK% – 79.3% | 199/251 (25th in AHL) | 5 SHGF  1st Round Series versus Toronto Marlies PP% – 25%, | 2/8 (T5th in AHL) | 1 SHGA PK% – 100% | 5/5 (T1st in AHL) | 0 SHGF Cleveland PP% – 17.9%, | 48/268 (T-19th in AHL) | 11 SHGA PK% – 80.7% | 218/270 (19th in AHL) | 3 SHGF 
How They Match Up:

Even though Belleville only posted a 1-3-0-0 record against Cleveland this season, both teams look a little different than the last time they met. The Senators surged down the stretch drive, while Cleveland hung on to claim the top seed and the bye into Round 2. All while dealing with a somewhat depleted lineup that has been replenished by the NHL parent club in Columbus, ahead of the postseason. 2023-24 Regular SeasonNovember 10, 2023 – L 4-2 vs ClevelandNovember 12, 2023 – W 2-1 (OT) vs ClevelandDecember 14, 2023-  L 5-1 @ ClevelandDecember 15, 2023-  L 2-1 @ Cleveland 
Ticket Info: Tickets to Belleville Sens home games in the AHL North Division Semi-Finals are on sale now and can be purchased via Ticketmaster, or at the Belleville Sens Box Office at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre.Belleville Sens Box Office Hours are as follows:Wednesday, May 1, 2024 – 12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.Thursday, May 2, 2024 – 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.Friday, May 3, 2024 – 12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.Belleville Sens Season Seat Members and Flex Pack holders can access playoff tickets now through their Belleville Sens Account Manager, while fans with further questions about playoff ticketing, or those looking for information on premium seating or group tickets, can also email tickets@bellevillesens.com. Details on group tickets, 2024-25 season seat memberships or 2024-25 Business Elite memberships, are available via the Belleville Sens website, or by emailing tickets@bellevillesens.com.
About the Belleville Senators

The Belleville Senators are the American Hockey League affiliate of the National Hockey Leagues’ Ottawa Senators and have been operating in the AHL since the 2017-18 season. The Senators play their home games out of the CAA Arena at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre and have graduated more than 60 players to the NHL since moving from Binghamton, New York.
—Visit the Belleville Sens website: www.bellevillesens.com
Engage with the Belleville Sens on X: @BellevilleSens
Like the Belleville Sens on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BellevilleSens
Follow the Belleville Sens on Instagram: @BellevilleSensListen to the Belleville Sens on Mixlr:www.bellevillesens.mixlr.com
For more information, please contact:
David Foot, footd@bellevillesens.com