Setting the Stage: Bentley looks to extend the nation's longest current unbeaten streak of nine games on Friday night when they host the Canisius Golden Griffins at Bentley Arena to open a weekend series. Friday's game is a 7:05 start, and the puck drops Saturday at 4:05.
Bentley swept Air Force last weekend by 4-3 (OT) and 4-0 scores to extend its winning streak to five, and the unbeaten streak to nine games, which began with a 3-3 tie against Dartmouth on Jan. 5. The Falcons enter the weekend with an 11-7-2 Atlantic Hockey record for 24 points. That's good for a 3rd place tie with Mercyhurst, and just one point behind Air Force for 2nd, and Bentley has two games in-hand on both squads.
Canisius enters the weekend with a 6-13-2 mark in the AHA for 14 points, which has them in 11th. Last weekend they played Mercyhurst and lost (5-3) and tied (1-1). Canisius swept North Dakota in early January, but has just one win since then.
The Matchup: This will be the 2nd series in three weeks between the Falcons and Griffins. Bentley swept up in Buffalo on Jan. 25-26, by scores of 4-2 and 3-1. In the first game, Bentley used 32 saves from Aidan Pelino, and 2nd period power play goals from Tanner Jago and Jakov Novak in the win. In the 2nd game, junior Jake Kauppila broke a 1-1 tie in the 3rd period with a goal with 8:12 remaining, and Jonathan Desbiens added an empty net goal late.
Bentley comes into the weekend with the 3rd ranked offense in Atlantic Hockey, at 3.19 goals per game, which is T-14th nationally. The Falcons have allowed the fewest goals in the AHA so far at 70, and its 2.69 goals allowed average is 2nd best to Air Force. They have the 20th best scoring margin in Division I at +0.50.
OT Winner: Bentley improved to 2-1-3 in overtime games this season with Friday night's 4-3 victory over Air Force. Sophomore Brendan Hamblet scored it, 2:03 into the extra session. The Falcons' other OT win this season was back on Nov. 3 against Sacred Heart, when Drew Callin scored to give them a 3-2 victory.
Unbeaten Run Continues: Bentley ran its unbeaten streak to 9 games with the sweep of Air Force. That's tied for the program Division I record, set during the 2013-14 season. The longest winning streak is six games, set last season.
It's the longest current unbeaten streak in the nation, besting UMass-Lowell's eight game streak. As a result, Bentley received votes in this week's USCHO Top 20 poll.
Goals Streak: Another Bentley streak is that of Jonathan Desbiens. The junior winger has a goal in six straight games, and is up to 11 on the season to lead the team. Over the last 16 games he has 19 points, on 9 goals and 10 assists.
Senior Drew Callin has the longest point streak on the team at six games. He has one goal and eight assists in that time.
Jago Hits 140: Defenseman and team captain Tanner Jago played in his 140th career game last Saturday against Air Force. With eight more regular season games left and at least two in the postseason, he should hit the 150 mark, which would be 2nd all-time in school history. He could pass Kyle Schmidt's record of 153 games if Bentley advances.
Jago's 76 career points is 4th most all-time among Bentley defensemen, and 2nd most among active Atlantic Hockey defensemen. Earlier this season, he was named a finalist for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, and he's currently on the fan ballot for the 2019 Hobey Baker Award. https://www.hobeybaker.com/vote
Pelino's Run: Over the last nine game, junior goalie Aidan Pelino has been lights out. He's 7-0-2, with a 1.74 GAA and .930 save percentage.
On the season, Pelino's 2.63 GAA is 6th best in Atlantic Hockey, while he's played the 2nd most minutes of any goalie in the league at 1,525.
Up Next: Bentley goes on the road next week to take on the Niagara Purple Eagles for the first time this season. The series takes place on Thursday and Friday the 14th and 15th, both at 7:05 pm. The Falcons return to Bentley Arena on Friday the 22nd against Holy Cross for the final home game of the regular season.