Setting the Stage: Bentley returns to Atlantic Hockey action after six weeks this weekend against Robert Morris on the road. Since the last conference weekend against Mercyhurst on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Bentley has played three non-conference games against Harvard, UNH and Dartmouth spread around the semester break.
Both teams had non-conference games last weekend. Bentley rallied for a 3-3 tie against Dartmouth at home, while Robert Morris hosted the Three Rivers Classic, where they dropped games to Brown 7-4 and St. Cloud State 5-2.
Bentley will come into the weekend with a 4-7-1 Atlantic Hockey record, while Robert Morris is at 7-6-1 in the conference.
The Matchup: Bentley comes into the weekend ranked 5th in Atlantic Hockey in both scoring offense (2.83) and scoring defense (3.17). The power play is ranked 6th at 17.9 percent. Sophomore center Luke Santerno leads the team in both assists (13) and points (17), while senior Drew Callin leads the team with 7 goals.
The Colonials rank just 10th in scoring offense with 2.55 goals per game, and they are 5th in scoring defense at 3.20. RMU has the league's 2nd ranked penalty kill at 83.8%. Senior forward Alex Tonge leads the team in both goals (9) and points (19). In goal, junior Francis Marotte has been the team's starter since his freshman year and has started 83 career games entering this weekend. He has a 2.93 GAA and .906 save percentage on the season.
Last Time Out: Bentley battled back for a 3-3 tie with Dartmouth at the Arena last Saturday night. Junior Jonathan Desbiens scored the tying goal, with the extra-attacker on the ice, with just 19 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Dartmouth led 2-0 after a goal early in the 2nd period, but the Falcons scored twice in the period to tie it up. The goals came from Desbiens at 4:36 and Callin 9:42.
Desbiens now has 10 points over the last 8 games, going back to the Army game on Nov. 17. He has 3 goals and 7 assists in that span.
Series Notes: Bentley and Robert Morris have seen a lot of each other recently. They have played 18 times since the start of the 2014-15 season, which includes two, three game playoff series. They met in the 2016 quarterfinals and the 2018 first round.
This will be Bentley's 7th trip out to Pittsburgh over the last five seasons. Three times in the regular season and the two playoff series.
The teams played seven times last season, four times in the regular season. Bentley swept a series at home by scores of 3-1 and 6-3, then lost and tied in the return series by scores of 3-2 and 3-3. RMU won the playoff series two games to one. The Colonials won the first game 3-1 before Bentley responded with a 4-3 win in game two, but RMU won game three 3-2. RMU led 2-0 in the first period, but Bentley battled back with goals from Kyle Schmidt and defenseman Charlie Marchand. The eventual game-winning goal was scored by RMU's Daniel Mantenuto at 15:18 of the 2nd period.
The all-time series is tied at 13-13-4 entering this weekend's games.