A look back at three observations from this past weekend in the world of Atlantic Hockey:
Falcons fly high in sweep of Hockey East’s Huskies
At the end of the first period on Friday night, Hockey East’s Northeastern Huskies had bombed and blitzed Bentley goalie Jayson Argue to the tune of 20 shots. The Huskies went into the locker room after holding possession for nearly 70 percent of the period, outshooting the Falcons 20-2.
But the Falcons led, 1-0. Crazy, right?
It began a theme of the weekend, one where Northeastern’s offense threw everything — including the proverbial kitchen sink — on the Bentley net but simply couldn’t score. During Friday night’s game at Matthews Arena, the Huskies outshot the Falcons 51-11, but they trailed by as many as three (3-0) in the third period thanks to an Andrew Gladiuk hat trick. After Northeastern clawed back within one, Argue slammed the door shut to preserve a 3-2 Falcons win.
Then came Saturday in front of a sold-out home crowd, the first of its kind in Bentley program history.
Bentley scored 1:13 into the first period, then again five minutes later. They built a 3-0 lead after two when Gladiuk scored on the power play, then pushed it to 4-0 early in the third when Kyle Schmidt scored on a great individual effort. Northeastern got one back, but Argue against kept a lid on things with 40 more saves. Bentley 4. Northeastern 1. It was a better all-around effort with the Bentley defense, who blocked 17 shots in the process of the victory.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of synergy (on Friday night); he just saved a lot of second, third, and fourth chance opportunities,” said Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist of Argue. “But I will credit our D corps tonight for saving a lot of those second and third chance opportunities. (Argue) did a great job tonight picking up the first chance, and the defense did a good job of cleaning up the second and third chance. If we can play like that over the season, we’ll be pretty successful.”
Good thing it’s October cuz that’s a whole lotta orange
This weekend’s slate featured two sell-outs, one at Bentley’s JAR and the second as part of the Brick City Classic at RIT. With more than 10,000 fans looking on at Blue Cross Arena, RIT built a 2-0 lead on the back of two Todd Skirving goals scored a minute apart at five and six minutes into the first period. Bowling Green retaliated with a goal of their own a minute after Skirving’s second before the game settled into a 50-minute, one-goal grind.
With about three minutes remaining, Kevin Dufour scored for Bowling Green, tying the game and allowing them to escape Blue Cross Arena with a 2-2 tie. But it was a good confidence builder for the Tigers, allowing the team to “have some belief in ourselves,” according to head coach Wayne Wilson after the game.
All for one, one for all
A running tally Chris and I are keeping all season is Atlantic Hockey’s performance against outside conference competition. The league scored three wins against non-conference opponents this weekend thanks to Bentley’s sweep of Northeastern and Sacred Heart’s 3-0 victory over Arizona State.
That’s still not great for AHC fans. The league is essentially on the same pace it was a year ago. After three weekends last season, AHC schools were 5-19. This year, through roughly the same amount of games (but in one week’s shorter time), the league has the exact same amount of wins. That means there’s work left to do if they intend to work towards that all-important second NCAA berth in this spring’s tournament.