Atlantic Hockey

Bentley, AIC & Atlantic Hockey Storylines To Watch In 2022

Bentley, AIC & Atlantic Hockey Storylines To Watch In 2022

There have been a number of surprises throughout the first half of the season including Bentley, but there are also expectations for the second half.

Dec 16, 2021 by Jacob Messing
Bentley, AIC & Atlantic Hockey Storylines To Watch In 2022

With the fall semester concluded, the winter break is certain to last longer on paper than it will mentally or physically during the rest and recovery period. 

There have been a number of surprises throughout the first half of the season and the second half is sure to add more, but there are also expectations, like a bounce-back from AIC.

AIC Ready To Avenge Fall Semester

Starting with the three-peat Atlantic Hockey champions, the Yellow Jackets are poised for a better second-half of the season. Sitting seventh in the conference standings and a 4-9-1 overall record, the Jackets’ culture is too strong to not be better in spring.

The Jackets will get a chance to build up some confidence in the new year with consecutive series against Air Force and Holy Cross, two of the three programs below them in the standings.

With a chance to rest, recover, and reset over the break, look for the Jackets to make a statement in 2022 and try to get back to a third-straight championship game.

Atlantic Hockey Tourney Tilt

Speaking of the Atlantic Hockey championship, the conference announced the 2022 title weekend will be held March 18-19 at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, NY. The arena is home to the AHL’s Utica Comets, an affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. 

The semifinal round will take place at 4:00pm and 7:30pm on Friday Mar. 18. The winners will face off in the championship game the following night at 7:30pm. 

In 2021, AIC defeated Canisius. AIC has claimed each of the past two tournaments (excluding the 2020 canceled season), the winner is granted an automatic bid to the National Tournament and a new team has their eyes on the opportunity.

Bentley Building Up

The Falcons glide into the break as the top team in Atlantic Hockey and are on the path to their first-ever Atlantic Hockey title. With a five-game winning streak—and wins in six of their past seven—the Falcons have bested AIC, Army West Point, and Mercyhurst.

Led by goaltender Evan DeBrouwer’s 1.71 GAA and .946 SV percentage, coach Ryan Soderquist has started DeBrouwer in each of their five consecutive wins and has relinquished just six goals in that span.  

Riding the hot goalie, high confidence and scoring 17 goals of their own during their current streak, the Falcons are proving to be a true contender for the conference title.

The Knights Go Marching

Last season, Army West Point’s 15-game unbeaten streak was ended in overtime by Canisius, which used the win to book a trip to the conference championship.

The return to a regular schedule has offered teams more leeway in fluctuating performances. That means the Black Knights’ 0-5-1 start to the 2021-22 season was less worrisome. They proved that with a five-game unbeaten streak that lifted them to a 4-5-2 overall record.

The streak was followed up by a sweep by Bentley, but the Knights bounced back quickly. They’ll start 2022 looking to build on a three-game winning streak. With 14 goals and just four against in that span, the piece could be falling into place for another lengthy stretch that rockets them back up the standings.

With one of the nation’s top goaltenders in Gavin Abric (2.07 GAA and .934 SV percentage) and Colin Bilek returning to form with five points over his past two games and 14 points in 16 games this season, the offense and defense are syncing up ahead of the second-half.

The Return Of Robert Morris

One program is already looking ahead to fall of 2022, as the Robert Morris Colonials eye a return of the program after a sudden shutdown of several sports programs, including men’s ice hockey. 

The Colonials went 15-9 in 2020-21, their last active season. Given the immediate eligibility granted to transfers and the program’s shutdown, a potential reinstatement and rejoining Atlantic Hockey would be among the first steps.

The lack of a roster and the need to convince recruits of program stability past the 2022-23 season would still mean a long road back to the ice and likely an even further road to a winning record.

You can catch all Atlantic Hockey games live, right here on FloHockey, for the entire remainder of the 2021-22 season.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.