January 3, 2014

Bentley Falcons turn focus to strong finish

By Allen Lessels

Goalie Branden Komm and the Falcons defeated Holy Cross in Frozen Fenway opener. (Photo: Bentley Athletics)

They had their fun at Fenway - Brett Gensler, especially, had tons of it – and now Bentley and Holy Cross get back to the nitty-gritty of the Atlantic Hockey Association race.

“It’s something that I’ll never forget,” Gensler, the Bentley senior forward, told reporters after his team beat Holy Cross 3-2 on Saturday night. “When we walked in (Friday), we kind of all were taken aback by it a little bit. It’s something that not all of us get to experience. We’re all from different parts of the world. We have Canadians and those guys never get to see this kind of stuff either. It was really cool, a special experience and something we’ll be able to tell our kids about hopefully one day. The whole atmosphere tonight was awesome.”

Gensler certainly added to the lore.

He scored all three of Bentley’s goals for his third career hat trick.

The tallies boosted his career totals to 61 goals and 72 assists for 133 points in 125 games. He needs one goal to match the program’s Division I record for goals. Jeff Gumaer, who wrapped up his career in 2009, finished with 62 goals.

Gensler gets a shot at the record this weekend when Niagara comes in for games on Friday and Saturday.

The primary goal for the Falcons is to stay on the roll they have been on. The Holy Cross win was their fourth straight and they are 7-0-1 in their last eight games.

They have climbed into a first-place tie in the league with Mercyhurst and those two teams have a four-point lead over the three teams – UConn, RIT and Air Force – who are tied for third.

Bentley wants to rebound from last season’s tough finish, too. The Falcons were 9-6-1 in the league last season on Jan. 25 with a 4-1 win over Holy Cross. They went 1-8-2 to close out the regular season and fell into 10th place.

Folks like Gensler, junior Steve Weinstein who leads the nation’s defensemen in scoring at 1-23-24 and senior goalie Branden Komm, who has a .929 save percentage and 2.40 goals against average, will try to prevent a repeat of last year’s finish.

Holy Cross is on the other side of things.

The Crusaders won their first two league games of the season, but are 1-5-2 since then.

They finished third last year. At the moment, they are in a three-way tie for seventh, three points out of third, and looking to make a move.

Like Bentley, Holy Cross will try to build off the Fenway game and cause more problems for teams down the road, starting with this weekend’s series at home against Canisius. 

“I thought at times we played well but we made some mistakes out there and they’ve got a good team,” Pearl said. “We didn’t forecheck very well tonight. We need to be better and more tenacious on the forecheck. That’s something we’ll certainly focus on as a team and work to improve.”

Player of the Week

Brett Gensler, sr. F, Bentley

Genlser came up big on the big stage. He scored all of the Falcon goals in a 3-2 win over Holy Cross in the teams’ Frozen Fenway contest on Saturday night.

Games of the week

RIT vs. UConn, Friday and Saturday

The teams are in a three-way tie for third place in the league with Air Force, which is at AIC for a pair this weekend. RIT has won eight of the last 10 games against UConn and the teams split their two-game set last season. 

Power Rankings

1. Mercyhurst (9-9-2, 7-1-1)  . . . The Lakers lost  a pair of games at Ohio State last weekend and look to bounce back with games at Army on Friday and Saturday. Junior forward Matthew Zay has pushed his scoring totals to 11-17-28.

2. Bentley (9-7-1, 7-2-1) . . . Junior defenseman Steve Weinstein assisted on two of Brett Gensler’s three goals in Bentley’s 3-2 Frozen Fenway win over Holy Cross. Weinstein is at 1-23-24 for the season.

3. Air Force (9-5-4, 4-2-3) . . . The Falcons won the Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H with a pair of wins over Hockey East teams, 5-2 over Northeastern and 3-2 over Providence College. The Falcons are at AIC this weekend.

4. UConn (7-6-2, 5-3-1) . . . The Huskies dropped a 3-0 decision to Sacred Heart in the first round of the UConn Hockey Classic, but rebounded for a 2-1 win over UMass in the consolation. Senior forward Billy Latta scored the game-winning goal on a power play.

5. RIT (6-7-3, 5-3-1) . . . The Tigers have been off since tying Niagara, 2-2, on Dec. 14 in the Frozen Frontier game in Rochester. RIT will be out to extend its six-game unbeaten streak – 5-0-1 – at UConn on Friday and Saturday.

6. Canisius (5-10-1, 4-4-1) . . . The Golden Griffins dropped both of their games in the Catamount Classic at Vermont to Hockey East teams They fell to UMass-Lowell, 5-2, and to Vermont, 6-2. Canisius is at Holy Cross on Friday and Saturday.

7. Holy Cross (4-11-2, 3-5-2) . . . The Crusaders lost to Bentley, 3-2, in their Frozen Fenway game on Saturday and lost at Yale, 4-1, the next day. Holy Cross is home for a pair of games against Canisius on Friday and Saturday and two against Mercyhurst next weekend.

8. Niagara (3-11-2, 3-4-2) . . . Niagara will try to shore up its special teams for a two-game set at Bentley. The Purple Eagles have scored only five power play goals in 73 chances (6.8 percent) and have given up 20 opponent power play goals in 80 opportunities (25 percent).

9. Sacred Heart (5-13-0, 4-7-0) . . . Junior Alex Vazzano stopped 29 shots and the Pioneers collected their first shutout since the 2009-10 season with a 3-0 win over UConn in the first round of UConn’s tournament. Sacred Heart lost to Quinnipiac 5-0, the next night.

10. AIC (3-12-0, 3-6-0) . . . The Yellow Jackets have lost nine straight games. They have been outscored 32-8 in their last six and have not scored more than two goals in a game in that span. Air Force comes to town this weekend.

11. Army (3-12-0, 3-8-0) . . . The Black Knights were off last weekend, They have won two of their last four games and have four home games coming up. Mercyhurst is in on Friday and Saturday and Air Force stops by next weekend.

12. Robert Morris (2-12-2, 2-5-2) . . . The Colonials dropped a pair of 3-2 games at the Three Rivers Classic to Penn State and Bowling Green. Against Penn State, they were outshot 67-28, 27-11 in the second period, and goalie Terry Shafer made 59 saves.  

Twitter: @AllenLessels
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