The Matchup: After defeating UNH 5-1 in last weekend's season opener, the Bentley University hockey team will open at home on Friday against the Northeastern Huskies. The series will then shift to Matthews Arena in Boston for Saturday night's game.
This will mark the second straight year Bentley and Northeastern will play a home and home series. Last season saw the Falcons come away with a sweep. They won the first game 3-2 at Matthews Arena, and followed that up with a 4-1 victory at the JAR.
Both teams were in action opening weekend against non-conference opponents. Bentley traveled up to UNH and emerged with a 5-1 victory at the Whittemore Center. Northeastern played at Quinnipiac for two games. They tied the first game 2-2, and dropped the second contest 5-2. The Huskies are ranked 16th in this week's USCHO poll.
Follow the Games: Both games will be broadcasted online. Friday's game at home can be seen on the new Atlantic Hockey Digital Network. While Saturday's game at Northeastern can be seen on GoNU XStream. Live stats will also be available both nights.
Big Debuts: In Bentley's 5-1 win over UNH on Saturday, three freshmen playing in their first career game scored. Defenseman Connor Brassard was first to light the lamp at 12:33 of the 1st period to give them a 1-0 lead.
In the 2nd period, after UNH got to within 2-1, forward Dino Balsamo scored just 36 seconds later at the 17:17 mark to restore the two goal advantage at 3-1. Then, just 14 seconds into the 3rd period, forward Jonathan Desbiens scored to make it 4-1 for the Falcons.
While the freshmen had big games, three veterans had a huge part in the win as well. Captain Max French had three assists, and line mate Kyle Schmidt scored an empty-net, shorthanded goal in the 3rd period. Junior goalie Jayson Argue was sharp all night and made 32 saves.
Receiving Votes: Saturday's win resulted in Falcons receiving votes in this week's USCHO Division I poll. They received five votes and were one of four Atlantic Hockey teams to get recognition in the poll, with RIT and Holy Cross the others to receive votes. Air Force is ranked No.18 this week after winning the IceBreaker Tournament.
Last Year's Games: Bentley opened last year's home and home with the Huskies with a 3-2 victory at Matthews. Argue made 49 saves, with 20 alone in the first period. While the goals came from Andrew Gladiuk, who had a hat trick, two of which came of the power play.
When the series shifted to the JAR one night later, they jumped out a 1-0 lead just 1:13 in on a goal by defenseman Mike Berry. Then-junior Will Suter also scored in the opening period as the Falcons led 2-0 at the first intermission. Gladiuk added another power play goal in the 2nd period, and Schmidt netted an unassisted goal in the 3rd period to put the Falcon up 4-0. Argue made 40 saves.
Bentley vs. Hockey East: After beating UNH, the Falcons have now beaten a Hockey East team in seven of the last nine seasons. The others were Maine (2008-09), UMass-Amherst (2009-10), Northeastern (2010-11, 2012-13, 2015-16) and Boston University (2013-14). The Wildcats became the 5th different team from that conference they have defeated.
Series History: Bentley leads the all-time series over the Huskies 4-2. NU won the first ever meeting 3-2, which was the season opener of the 2009-10 season. Bentley's first win came one year later, 2-1 on Oct. 30, 2010. Brett Gensler, then a freshman, broke a 1-1 tie with a goal at 10:42 of the 3rd period to put Bentley in front.
Bentley also won 6-3 on Jan. 5, 2013 in a game in which they scored three unanswered in the 3rd period after the game was tied 3-3. Bentley entered the final period up 3-1, but two quick NU goals erased the lead, before Bentley closed the night strong with three consecutive goals.
Up Next: Bentley begins Atlantic Hockey play next weekend when they fly out to Colorado to visit Air Force. Bentley visited the Rocky Mountains last January, and split the series. Air Force won the first game 3-2, followed by a 5-3 Bentley win in the second game.