Bentley needs health, better goaltending to climb ladder

Injuries and spotty goaltending led to a disappointing 2009-10 season for the Bentley Falcons, who finished in eighth place and were defeated by Connecticut in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.

But a new season brings a fresh start for Ryan Soderquist’s team.

“We’re pretty optimistic heading into the fall,” he said. “I like what we have returning. Our incoming freshmen are talented as well. We have a lot of guys willing to step up to the plate.”

A healthy Dustin Cloutier and Erik Peterson should help. Both were expected to score over 30 points last season, but Cloutier missed 20 games and Peterson was out for 15.

“Cloutier broke his wrist, and when he finally got him back, he tore his ACL,” Soderquist said. “And Peterson had injuries that kept him out for a long time. But they’re both healthy.”

Soderquist was also disappointed at times with his goaltending tandem of Joe Calvi and Kyle Rank. The Falcons’ goals-against average was almost a full point higher (3.75) than it was the year before.

“We looked at our goals against, and it was actually lower for the top four teams in the league than the bottom four,” Soderquist said. “We sat down with our goalies and talked about being focused night in and night out.”

The Falcons start the season with five road games, all non-conference matchups.

“I like our schedule,” Soderquist said. “It gives us five games to put things together and not worry about the standings and just focus on playing really good hockey.”