Setting the Stage: The first ever postseason games at Bentley Arena get started this weekend when the No. 2 seed Bentley Falcons host the No. 8 seed Robert Morris Colonials in a best of three Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinal series. Friday and Saturday's games begin and 7:05, and Sunday if necessary will be a 4:05 pm start.
The Falcons earned a first round bye and home-ice advantage for the quarters by finishing second in the regular season with a 15-9-4 mark for 34 points, the team's highest point total and final standing since 2013-14. Bentley finished up the regular season on March 1-2 at Army West Point, with a 2-1 win and a 3-3 tie.
Robert Morris finished the regular season in a tie for 8th with an 11-15-2 AHA record for 24 points. They swept Holy Cross in the first round last weekend, by scores of 1-0 and 3-2, and have won four straight games entering the weekend.
The Matchup: Bentley swept RMU in Pittsburgh back on Jan. 11-12, which kick-started the team's 12 game unbeaten streak. The Falcons won the first game 5-2 behind two goals from Ryner Gorowsky, then completed the sweep with a 5-1 victory behind two goals from Pittsburgh native Brendan Walkom.
This will be the second year in a row and third time in four seasons these teams will meet in the postseason. The previous two series were in the first round, and were both won by RMU in three games.
Atlantic Hockey Playoffs: The other two first round series last weekend saw the No. 6 seed Niagara hold off No. 11 Canisius in three games, and No. 10 Army upset No. 7 Mercyhurst in a sweep.
In the quarterfinals this weekend, No. 4 Sacred Heart hosts No. 5 RIT in a series that begins Wednesday. No. 1 seed AIC hosts Army, and No. 3 seed Air Force hosts Niagara.
Last Time Out: Bentley took three points from Army on the road two weekends ago in the final series of the regular season. A 2-1 win in the first game wasn't decided until the third period. Bentley took a scoreless game and went ahead 2-0 in a span of four minutes, on goals by Brendan Hamblet at 4:20 and freshman Will Garin on the power play at 8:28. Aidan Pelino made 24 saves to earn the win.
Senior Jake Bryniarksi got the start in net in the second game, as the teams skated to a 3-3 tie. After Army went ahead 1-0 in the first period, Tanner Jago scored a 5-on-3 goal 49 seconds into the 2nd period. Bentley then trailed 2-1 in the 3rd period, but goals 44 seconds apart by Ryner Gorowsky and Jonathan Desbiens put Bentley in front 3-2, before Army got the tying goal from Dalton MacAfee at 11:12. Bryniarski finished the night with 27 saves.
Bentley Notables: Sophomore center Luke Santerno finished the regular season leading the team in both points (35) and assists (24), with senior Drew Callin not far behind in both with 33 points and 23 assists. Jonathan Desbiens leads the team with 15 goals.
Senior defenseman Tanner Jago finished the regular season with 86 career points, putting him just two points away from passing Steve Tobio '02 for 2nd place for most career points among Bentley defensemen.
Series Notes: Bentley leads the all-time series over RMU 15-13-4, but the Colonials lead 4-2 in playoff games. RMU last visited Bentley on Nov. 24-25 in Watertown, with the Falcons sweeping the series.