Success for the Bentley Falcons has come in cycles. In 2006, Bentley reached the Atlantic Hockey championship game, but then fell out of contention the next two years. Last season saw a resurgence that resulted in the team recording its best record in school history and reaching the league semifinals.
But the Falcons might be in rebuilding mode again after the losses of Dain Prewitt (42 points last season), Jeff Gumaer (37 points) and Anthony Canzoneri (35 points).
“I hate to use that term [rebuilding], but in some ways I guess we are,” Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist said. “You don’t replace guys like the ones we lost. But unlike the last time when the cupboard was kind of bare, I think we have a good group of players that are ready to step up.
“I don’t think it’s going to take two or three years to get ready to challenge for a championship. The first part of this season will not be about wins and losses, but getting ready and getting better. We’ll go from there.”
The young Falcons will be challenged early with a schedule that takes them to Northeastern and Quinnipiac before opening the conference season against Mercyhurst and Air Force.
— Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist
“We’ll be tested right off the bat,” Soderquist said. “We’ll certainly take positives away from a win, but we can take positives away from a loss too. We’re looking to play hard and let the wins and losses take care of themselves.”
Soderquist says he intends to get his defense more involved in the playmaking this season.
“Last year I think we had two goals scored all year by defensemen,” he said. “It was, ‘Get the puck out of the zone and onto the sticks of the guys who score a lot.’ But this year I think you’ll see our defensemen more involved in the offense.”
Senior Bobby Preece will be called on to lead a group of blueliners that included three freshmen last season.
Up front, Erik Perterson, Marc Menzione and Dustin Cloutier had 43 goals between them last year, and they’ll be expected to do at least as well this season.
“They were basically our second line last year and they’re being pushed up,” Soderquist said. “Plus I think we have some great young freshmen and three or four guys that are going to be sleepers, who maybe didn’t have the opportunity to show their stuff.”
In net, Soderquist plans to again platoon Kyle Rank and Joe Calvi.
“I like having two goalies,” he said. “Who wouldn’t want a guy like (Air Force’s Andrew) Volkening who can go every night? But I think in most cases it’s good to be able to give a guy a night off so he’s not burned out by the end of the season.”