The Matchup: The long anticipated game between Bentley University and Holy Cross at Fenway Park as part of Citi Frozen Fenway 2014 is now just four days away. The longtime Atlantic Hockey rivals kickoff this year's Frozen Fenway on Saturday, Dec. 28 with the puck dropping at 6:30 pm. Tickets are still available here.
Bentley (8-7-1, 6-2-1 AHA) comes into this game as one of the hottest teams in the nation, riding a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) that has seen them rise to second-place in the Atlantic Hockey standings, just two points behind Mercyhurst. Last time we saw the Falcons, they recorded a massive 4-1 victory over Boston University at Agganis Arena on Dec. 14.
Holy Cross (4-9-2, 3-4-2 AHA) has been off since the weekend of Dec. 6, when they hosted Air Force at the Hart Center and the teams tied both games by scores of 2-2 and 3-3. The Crusaders will enter Saturday's game tied for seventh in Atlantic Hockey.
Follow the Game: If you can't make it to Fenway in person, there are a number of ways to follow the action online. America One Sports subscribers can see the game live online. Bentleyfalcons.com will have links to free audio and live stats, and the game will also be carried on Bloomberg Radio 1200 AM. In-game updates will be provided on Twitter @BentleyFalcons.
Frozen Fenway: Announced on Sept. 27, Bentley and Holy Cross will become the first two Atlantic Hockey teams to ever play at historic Fenway Park. The two rivals have played 52 prior times with the series dating back to 1981-82. Holy Cross leads the all-time series 29-16-7.
Last Time Out: Bentley posted a signature victory with a convincing 4-1 win over the BU Terries at Agganis Arena on Dec. 14. The Falcons led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by sophomore Derek Bacon, and then stretched their lead to 3-0 after two periods on goals by Jared Rickord (shorthanded) and Brett Switzer. Though BU got back in the game with a goal at the 14:56 mark of the third period to make it a 3-1 contest, senior Brett Gensler sealed the win with an empty-net goal at the 18:02 mark.
Senior goalie Branden Komm turned in another stellar performance with 42 saves, the 13th time in his career he's made 40-plus saves. Komm had a shutout going for nearly 55 minutes.
Earlier This Season: Bentley and Holy Cross have already played once this season, on Nov. 16 in Watertown at the JAR in a 3-2 Falcons win in OT. Bentley trailed 2-1 in the third period before a goal by defenseman Matt Maher tied it up at the 8:13 mark. The game went in OT, where the Crusaders were hit with a penalty just 22 seconds in, giving Bentley a chance on the power play. They took advantage, as sophomore Andrew Gladiuk potted the winner at the 2:21 mark.
The third game between these two teams takes place on Jan. 25 in Worcester.
Record Breaker: The win over BU was the 36th career win for Komm, moving him past Barratt Davison '84 and into first-place on the school's all-time wins list. Komm is also the program's career leader in goals against average (2.71) and save percentage (.919).
Komm was named the Atlantic Hockey Goalie of the Week on Tuesday for the fourth time in his career following his performance against BU. He was previously named the AHA Goalie of the Month for November.
Unbeaten Streak: Bentley's seven-game unbeaten streak is tied for the third longest in the nation with Minnesota State. That is bettered by only Ferris State (15 games) and Union (10 games). The streak is tied for the longest in Bentley's Division I era (1999-00-present). The program's longest streak ever is a 14-game winning streak during the 1980-81 season. They had two other seven-game unbeaten runs during the 1994-95 and 1996-97 seasons.
Weinstein Racking Up Assists: Junior defenseman and LA native Steve Weinstein continued to rack up the assists this season with two more against BU. He now has 21 on the season, which is 2nd in the nation. He's first in the nation in points per game among defensemen (1.38) and tied for 10th in ppg overall nationally. He has a nine-game scoring streak going (1-16-17).
Up Next: There won't be much of a break as Bentley is back in action the weekend of Jan. 3 to open a series at home against Niagara. The Purple Eagles won the Atlantic Hockey regular season title last season and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They swept Bentley in last year's series in upstate New York, winning by scores of 2-1 and 6-4.