After two awful losses to Union to close out the first half, a couple easier matches are just what the doctor ordered for the Catamounts.
Coming to the Gutt for the last two games of 2016 are the Bentley Falcons. You’d be forgiven for not knowing who Bentley is or where they are. Bentley is a small private school with an enrollment of around 4000 located in Boston’s Back Bay. They’re Division II in every other sport other than men’s hockey. Their rink is a glorified pee wee rink with a capacity of 1,250 that I’ve been told is the coldest rink in Division I ice hockey.
Speaking of the hockey team itself, Bentley has been very Not Good this year, coming to Gutterson with a 4-8-4 record and sitting in a tie with Holy Cross for 8th in Atlantic Hockey. They’ve got one mutual opponent with the Cats – Northeastern – and earned a loss (7-3) and a draw (1-1) at Matthews back in October.
The starter for Bentley will most likely be junior Jayson Argue. One could argue (*dodges a tomato*) that he’s been decidedly average this year, sporting a .914 save percentage and 2.89 GAA. His backup, freshman Aidan Palino, has played less than two full games worth of minutes, so his .939 save percentage means nothing.
Against the ranked opposition they’ve played this year (Northeastern and Harvard), the defense has proven to be a huge problem. In those three games, the Falcons gave up 35 or more shots in all three. I do believe this is the first men’s team that I can be excited about as a fan of the Russian hockey, since Bentley has a Russian on the blueline! His name’s Alexey Solovyov (sah-LAV-yov), and he’s got 6 points in 10 games, just one point behind the team leader in points among defenders (fellow sophomore Tanner Jago, with 7).
The offense has the team’s lone real star and difference maker. Team captain Max French has been the real MVP for my fantasy teams over the last couple of years and he’s doing it once again with 18 points in 16. His sidekick, Kyle Schmidt, has 12 points in 16 games. Nobody else has 10. Goals have been hard to come by outside of the French/Schmidt duo as Bentley averages 2.5 goals per game (49th in the country), so if the Cats can shut them down, this is a cakewalk.
Games are Friday at 7 and Saturday at 4, and can be seen on CatamounTV.
Two wins or bust.