Bentley Hosts Air Force on Final Weekend at the JAR

Jayson Argue
Jayson Argue

Game Notes

The Matchup: The opening of Bentley Arena is less than two weeks away, but this coming weekend the Falcons hockey team will play its final games at the JAR in Watertown against the Air Force Falcons. Friday's game gets underway at 7:05, and Saturday is an earlier start at 5:05.

Both teams come into the weekend playing well. Bentley has won three straight after sweeping RIT on the road last weekend by scores of 4-3 and 5-2. The win streak started with a 3-2 win over first place Canisius on Jan. 27.

Air Force has a four game unbeaten streak (3-0-1), and is 6-1-1 in its last eight games. Last weekend, they defeated AIC 3-0 and tied 2-2 at home. They swept Niagara on the road two weekends ago.

Follow the Games: Both games this weekend can be seen on AtlanticHockey.TV, starting at 6:45 on Friday and 4:45 on Saturday.

Live stats for Friday and Saturday can be found by clicking on the links.

Bentley Arena Opening Feb. 16: The countdown is on to the first games at the brand new on-campus Bentley Arena. The Falcons will play their first games in their new home on Feb. 16 and 17 vs. Army West Point, with both games getting underway at 7:05. They will also take on AIC on Feb. 24 in the final game of the regular season.

Next week, keep an eye out for Bentley, and the Bentley Arena, to be featured on College Hockey Nation, which can be seen on the Watch ESPN app.

Farewell to the JAR: Its home since 1977, Bentley will play its final games in Watertown this weekend against Air Force. The team has played approximately 430 games in that building. On Friday, the first 175 fans to arrive will receive a Farewell to the JAR long sleeve T-shirt. On Saturday, the first 150 to arrive will receive a commemorative puck.

Checking the Standings: As the season enters February, the standings are tightly bunched. Just four points separates 5th place, the last first round bye position, and 9th place. Niagara with 23 points enters the weekend in 5th. While Bentley is T-9th with RIT, both with 19 points. Air Force is currently in 8th with 21 points, which would give them the final home spot in the first round of the playoffs. Canisius and Holy Cross are currently tied for first with 28 points, but the Golden Griffins have played two fewer games. Robert Morris is in 3rd with 26 points.

Last Time Out: Bentley improved to 6-0 all-time at the Polisseni Center with a pair of wins over RIT last weekend.

In Friday's 4-3 win, Bentley overcame an early 2-0 deficit and reeled off four unanswered goals. Sophomore Jonathan Desbiens had two of the goals, in the 2nd and 3rd periods, while defenseman Connor Brassard had a power play goal in the first period and sophomore Jake Kauppila also lit the lamp.

Bentley then mostly cruised to a 5-2 win on Saturday night, behind a hat trick from senior Kyle Schmidt. Schmidt scored twice in the opening 4:33, then completed the hat trick with a power play goal in the 3rd period. Desbiens and junior Drew Callin also scored. For Desbiens, his three goals on the weekend gives him seven goals in just four career games at the Polisseni Center.

Schmidt Cleans Up: Schmidt's five point weekend earned him Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week honors, and the 2nd Star of the Week from the NCAA. He recorded his second career hat trick in Saturday's win.

Schmidt now has 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points on the season, which leads the team in goals and is tied for the team lead in points. Over the weekend he also moved into the top-six on Bentley's Division I career points list at 113 points. With 53 career goals, he ranks 7th on the Division I list, two behind Alex Grieve for 6th.

Among active NCAA players, he ranks 4th in career goals and 9th in points.

Additionally, he is on the fan ballot for the 2018 Hobey Baker Award. Fans can vote once every 24 hours at the following link: Hobey Baker Fan Vote

Bentley's Atlantic Hockey Awards This Season

Series Notes: Air Force has won the last four in the series after a sweep in last season's Atlantic Hockey first round in Colorado, and a sweep at the JAR last February in the regular season. The teams also played in Colorado in October at the start of the season, which was a split. Bentley won the second game 6-1.

The Falcons swept Air Force at the JAR in 2014-15. Though Air Force is 13-5-1 all-time in Watertown.

Others Notes: Center Luke Santerno leads Atlantic Hockey in points among freshmen with 23. He's 6th nationally in points per game among freshmen (0.85). Junior Tanner Jago is 3rd in points among defensemen with 20. Schmidt is tied for the conference lead with eight power play goals, and is tied for 3rd nationally.

Up Next: The long awaited opening of Bentley Arena is finally here next weekend, when the Falcons host Army West Point on Friday and Saturday night.

Tale of the Tape

 

 

 

 

Record

10-13-6 (7-11-5 AHC)

14-11-4 (9-9-3 AHC)

Goals Per Game

2.69

2.69

Shots Per Game

28.3

27.1

Goals Allowed Per Game

3.14

2.48

Penalty Minutes

11.5

10.2

Power Play

22.1%

13.0%

Penalty Kill

77.0%

84.0%

Leading Scorers

Kyle Schmidt (12-12-24); Drew Callin (6-18-24); Luke Santerno (9-14-23); Tanner Jago (5-15-20)

Evan Giesler (8-10-18); Erik Baskin (12-5-17); Matt Serratore (10-5-15)

Leading Goaltender

Aidan Pelino: 8-8-2; 3.13 GAA, .901 sv%

Billy Christopoulos: 14-11-4; 2.35 GAA, .913 sv%