The Matchup: Bentley will close out the first half of the season this weekend with a two game series with chief rival Holy Cross at the JAR, beginning Friday night and concluding on Saturday. Puck drop for both games is set for 7:05 and can be seen live on EverSport.
The Falcons are coming off a split at Niagara last weekend and will enter this series with a 5-3-1 Atlantic Hockey record, which is good for 11 points and 4th place, with three games in-hand on 1st place Robert Morris (17 points).
The Crusaders (8-3-0 AHC) have won five straight after sweeping Mercyhurst at home last weekend by scores of 5-4 and 7-3. Holy Cross is in 2nd place in Atlantic Hockey with 16 points and has played two more games than Bentley.
Follow the Games: This weekend's games can be seen live on EverSport. The cost for a day pass is $6.99, while the cost for a season pass is $99. Visit this page to sign up.
In addition, live stats can be found on Bentleyfalcons.com, and live game updates are on Twitter @BentleyFalcons.
Last Time Out: Bentley split a pair of games at Niagara last weekend. After dropping the first game 6-4 in a high-scoring affair, they rebounded with a 3-1 victory on Saturday. In the series opener the Falcons fell behind 4-1, but got to within 4-3 in the 3rd period on two straight goals by Max French. After another Niagara goal, sophomore Kyle Schmidt struck with 5:26 remaining to make it a 5-4 game, but the Purple Eagles hung on and scored an empty-net goal late.
On Saturday, French scored just 30 seconds into the contest on the game's first shot. Freshman Drew Callin added two goals and senior goalie Gabe Antoni made 23 saves. He was denied his 2nd shutout of the week by a late extra-attacker goal by Niagara with 59 seconds left.
Warrior Player of the Week: French was named the Warrior Hockey Player of the Week on Wednesday. In three games last week, counting the 1-0 win over AIC on Dec. 1, he had three goals and three assists, averaging two points a game. The junior has previously been named the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week on Nov. 17 and Nov. 3.
Among AHC Leaders: With 10 goals on the season, in just 11 games, French is tied for the Atlantic Hockey lead in goals. He's T-2nd in points with 19. Line mate Schmidt is T-8th in the league in points with 16 (7g, 9a), and he's already surpassed his points total from his freshman season in just 15 games. He's 9th in the AHC in goals.
Nationally, French is T-9th in total goals. He's also one of eight players to lead the nation with three multi-goal games this season. His came against Army Oct. 31 (2 goals), RIT Nov. 13 (2 goals) and Niagara Dec. 4 (2 goals).
Series History: Holy Cross is Bentley's most played opponent, and Saturday's game at the JAR will mark the 60th game in the series, which began in 1981-82. The most significant meeting arguably came during the 2013-14 season at Fenway Park, which Bentley won 3-2. The last 10 meetings have been pretty even, with the Falcons holding a slight 6-4 edge. The Crusaders hold the edge all-time 31-20-7.
The teams split four games last season. Holy Cross won the first game in Worcester 4-2. The Falcons then swept a home-and-home series the weekend of Feb. 6, winning at the JAR 4-3 followed by a 5-2 victory at the Hart Center. Holy Cross then won at the JAR 2-1 on the final day of the regular season.
Series Notes: In the last 10 games at the JAR, the series is 3-3-4. In 10 career games vs. Holy Cross, senior Andrew Gladiuk has 6 goals and 4 assists. The two meetings this season is the fewest times they'll play each other since the 2007-08 season. Bentley's only appearance in the Atlantic Hockey championship game came against Holy Cross in 2006.
Up Next: With the end of the semester, Bentley will be off for three weeks. They return to the ice and open the 2nd half on Saturday, January 2nd at Air Force to begin a series. Bentley won both games against Air Force last season by scores of 2-1 and 4-1 at the JAR. The last time the Falcons went to Colorado, during the 2013-14 season, they won 4-2 and tied 2-2.