After graduating six seniors, including No. 2 all-time scorer Brett Gensler and record-holding goaltender Branden Komm, Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist should have held concern for this season.
He didn't, and he's been proven right.
"My expectations were actually pretty high because even though we graduated a lot of offensive production in Gensler, I thought we might be better because of our overall depth," said Soderquist, coach and the Falcons' career scoring leader. "We have four lines that we can play every night, and two that can really score."
Bentley (9-8-2, 7-4-2 Atlantic) entered the holiday break with a share of second place in its conference with Holy Cross (7-5-4, 6-1-4). The Falcons' 3.26 goals per game only ranks third in the conference, but one of the teams they trail is the nation's top scorers, Robert Morris. (The Falcons return to the ice with a pair at the first-place Colonials on Jan. 9-10.)
The Falcons' success, according to Soderquist, is a tribute to the players. Injuries have ravaged the lineup. Senior captain Alex Grieve missed more than a month, and promising freshman goalie Jayson Argue only recently returned from an ailment.
"One of things is that we've battled with a lot of guys being out. So, I'm really proud of the guys," Soderquist said. "Once we get healthy, it will probably take four or five games to get our lines settled. That's the funny thing ... we have been playing pretty well and we haven't had a steady lineup. A lot of guys have stepped every night. I'm pleased with our depth."
Leaders up front have been junior Andrew Gladiuk (14 goals, 13 assists), sophomore Max French (13, 11), and senior Brett Switzer (7, 11), who recently became the seventh Falcon to reach 100 career points.
The back line is anchored by assist machine Steve Weinstein (two goals, 13 assists), a senior who was the nation's only point-per-game defenseman last season. Senior goalie Blake Dougherty contributed two shutouts while Argue was out.