It seemed like each week featured some other team breaking out of its shell. Someone had the perfect weekend of hockey and banked four points while providing glimpses into a program’s identity. Everyone had their day, except, it seemed, Bentley.
Bentley swept Robert Morris this weekend by playing a complete weekend of hockey. The Falcons outscored the Colonials, 9-4, with two very different types of victories. They led the entire way on Friday after Connor Brassard scored seven minutes into the first period, taking a 2-0 lead late in the frame when Drew Callin did the same. Bentley salted the game away with a third goal early in the final period before surrendering a power-play goal.
On Saturday, the Falcons won in very different fashion. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but surrendered the next three goals, including an early third period strike, to fall behind 3-2. They rallied for three straight to take a 5-3 lead, adding an empty net goal en route to a 6-3 win.
The win brought with it a resurgence of Bentley’s special teams unit. The Falcons are historically one of the best power play units in the league, and they scored four extra attacker goals on the weekend. The penalty kill unit, which entered as one of the worst in the nation at 70%, found its groove and prevented the Colonials from scoring on all but two of their 11 chances on the weekend.
Four points had an added bonus of vaulting the Falcons back into the thick of the league race from tenth place. They now sit in eighth and are within striking distance of sixth place. They sit one point behind AIC for seventh place with a game at the Yellow Jackets on the horizon on Friday. The two teams split their first two meetings with a pair of ties.
Bentley will meet UMass-Lowell in a non-conference game on Tuesday before then.
Air Force entered Saturday’s game against Sacred Heart in need of points to avoid falling too far behind the rest of the league. The preseason favorite to win it all, the Falcons were in the bottom three in the league after recording only one point in its last four games.
The Falcons responded, though, with a three point weekend that could have been better. A 3-3 tie on Friday saw Sacred Heart claw back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period with under three minutes remaining, but Air Force rallied from down two goals in the second period to score five unanswered on Sunday.
The points kept pace with the rest of the league. Air Force is still in ninth place, but, like Bentley, they remain in striking distance of the teams in front of them. A huge opportunity awaits this weekend with Niagara traveling to Colorado.
Splitting It Up
As expected, AIC and Niagara proved itself as the underrated series of the weekend. The teams fought to a split in Springfield as both delivered and absorbed blows from the opposing roster.
Niagara struck first with a 3-1 victory on Friday afternoon. After taking a 1-0 first period lead, the Purple Eagles made it two in the third period. The insurance goal wound up necessary after AIC scored a minute later.
The Yellow Jackets fell behind 1-0 in the first period again on Saturday but scored four unanswered goals, including two by Jared Pike, to roll through for the two points. It marked Niagara’s second loss of the season in conference and held the Purps back from pushing into second place