The Matchup: The Bentley hockey team will close out the month of January with a trip to Rochester, N.Y. to take on the RIT Tigers this weekend. It will be the second series of the season between the two teams. Both games get underway at 7:05 and can be seen live on AtlanticHockey.TV
The Falcons are coming off a split against Sacred Heart that saw them win on the road 3-2, but fall at home 5-4. They enter the weekend with a 6-8-4 record in Atlantic Hockey for 16 points, which has them in 9th place in the tightly bunched standings. They're just four points behind the 5th place team in the standings, which happens to be RIT.
The Tigers were swept last weekend by Canisius in a home-and-home series. RIT dropped the first game at home 3-1, followed by a 6-1 defeat in Buffalo the next night. RIT enters the weekend with a 10-9 conference record.
Last Time Out: Two goals by Kyle Schmidt and a strong performance in net by freshman Aidan Pelino powered Bentley to a 3-2 win at Sacred Heart on Jan. 20. Pelino made 37 saves to earn his 1st career win. Schmidt's 2nd goal of the night, on the power play at 7:18 of the 3rd period, gave Bentley a 3-1 lead and turned out to be the game-winner.
One night later back at the JAR, Bentley could not fully overcome a 5-2 deficit in the 5-4 defeat. They trailed by three goals after a SHU goal at 7:05 of the 3rd period. A goal by freshman Jonathan Desbiens at 12:33 made it a 5-3 game, but that's as close as Bentley could get until Schmidt scored an extra-attacker goal with 7 seconds left. That was Schmidt's 2nd goal of the night.
Schmidt Earns 2nd Straight Player of Week Award: Schmidt was named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week on Tuesday for the 2nd straight time. This time he shared co-honors with AIC's Jackson Dudley. Schmidt had four goals in the series with Sacred Heart, two in each game, and has been on a scoring tear lately.
He has seven goals in the last five games, and has a seven game point streak going (8g, 4a), which is the longest by a Bentley player this season. He now has 14 goals on the season, which is tied for the Atlantic Hockey lead, and a team-best 24 points, which is T-4th in the league.
French Joins 60 Goal Club: Max French's power play goal on Saturday against Sacred Heart was the 60th goal of his career. That makes him the 5th player in the program's Division I history to reach that milestone. French also moved past Dain Prewitt into 4th place on the program's Division I career points list with 127. He's two points away from passing Alex Grieve for 3rd place.
Among active players in the NCAA, French is T-2nd in career goals, 4th in points, 13th in assists (67) and T-5th in power play goals (19).
Power Play Ticks Up: Bentley has scored a power play goal in five of the last six games, and is 7-22 (31.8%) in that span. They scored two PP goals last Saturday against Sacred Heart, and had two against Army West Point in a 5-5 tie on Jan. 6. Schmidt and French each have three of the PP goals, and Drew Callin has the other, which came in the Frozen Fenway win over Army on Jan. 5.
Series Notes: RIT leads the all-time series 21-11-2. The last three series these teams have played have resulted in sweeps. Bentley swept at the Polisseni Center in November of 2015 with 3-2 overtime wins in both games. Max French scored the winner with 31 seconds left in OT in the first game, and Andrew Gladiuk struck the winner 46 seconds into OT the next night. The Tigers responded with a sweep (3-2, 6-3) at the JAR in January of 2016. They also swept at the JAR in October of this season, with 4-1 and 6-3 victories.
Up Next: Bentley returns home next weekend to host Air Force for a pair at the JAR. It will be the second series of the season between the two squads. The teams split out in Colorado in mid-October. Air Force took the first game 5-2, but Bentley cruised to victory in the second game, 6-1.