UConn Strikes Early, Holds on for 6-4 Win Over Bentley

Aaron Stonacek
Aaron Stonacek

STORRS, Conn. – UConn scored five goals over the first 37-plus minutes and held on the rest of the way for a 6-4 victory over Bentley University Saturday night, earning a split of the team's Atlantic Hockey series.

Sophomore Miles Winter had two goals for the Huskies, who win the final game of the three-game season-series after Bentley had won the first two. It gives UConn a two-point advantage in the standings over the Falcons and Army for the East pod's second first round bye in the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.

The Huskies emerged from a wild first period with a 3-2 lead. All five goals were scored in less than eight minutes.

After UConn's Brant Harris scored the first goal of the game at 7:53, Joe Campanelli (Pierrefonds, Quebec/Westminster Prep) answered back 30 seconds later, scoring in front of the crease off a pass from Dan Koudys (Grimsby, Ontario/Burlington Cougars).

The Huskies quickly took the lead back on Winter's first goal of the night at 9:56 that held up after a review by the officials. At the 14:20 mark of the first, defenseman Mike Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Olds Grizzlys) and Aaron Stonacek (Basehor, Kan./Fairbanks Ice Dogs) combined for Bentley's second goal. Switzer pushed the puck into the offensive zone and after twirling to lose a defender, left the puck for Stonacek at the top of the slot, who beat Huskies goalie Garrett Bartus with a wrist shot that clanked in off the right post.

Just 44 seconds later however, UConn took a 3-2 lead on Billy Latta's 10th goal of the season.

The second period had nearly as much action with the Huskies outscoring Bentley 2-1 to take a 5-3 lead into the third. Freshman Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Herron) took over in net for Bentley at the start of the period and didn't fare much better early on, allowing two goals in the span of just eight seconds from Corey Jendras and Winter to give UConn a 5-2 lead.

Komm though settled down, and after a timeout, the Falcons got back to within two goals as junior Jamie Nudy (West Chester, Pa./Choate Rosemary Hall) found the back of the net at 9:12. Defenseman Zach Ledford (Folsom, Calif./Wichita Falls Wildcats) took a slap shot that Bartus saved but the puck came loose. Bartus sprawled to the ice for the rebound, but Nudy beat him to it and roofed his shot for his fourth goal of the season.

In the latter stages of the third period, the Falcons used a power play opportunity to pull Komm for a 6-on-4 advantage but couldn't score. Freshman Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) did score with 16 seconds left with an extra-attacker on the ice to make it 5-4, but it was too little too late. UConn's Jordan Sims scored an empty-netter as the clock expired to provide the final margin.

Komm made 17 saves in two periods of work, while Bartus made 34 saves for his 11th win of the year.

The Falcons will close out the regular season next weekend with a home-and-home against Holy Cross.

Box Score

At Storrs, Conn.

Bentley (10-16-5, 9-12-4 AHA)                    2   1   1   --   4

UConn (11-17-4, 11-12-2 AHA)                   3   2   1   --   6

1st Period: UC, Brant Harris (Sean Ambrosie) 7:53; B, Joe Campanelli (Dan Koudys, Trent Bonnett) 8:13; UC, Miles Winter (Jeff Sapieha) 9:56; B, Aaron Stonacek (Mike Switzer) 14:20; UC, Billy Latta (Justin Hernandez, Andrew Olson) 15:04

2nd Period: UC, Corey Jendras (Sapieha) 7:12; UC, Winter (Jendras) 7:20; B, Jamie Nudy (Zach Ledford) 9:12

3rd Period: B, EX Brett Gensler (Switzer, Brett Hartung) 19:44; UC, EN Jordan Sims (Garrett Bartus) 00:01

Shots: UC, 31; B, 38

Saves: UC, Garrett Bartus 34; B, Kyle Rank 8, Branden Komm 17

Penalties: UC, 5-10; B, 5-10

Power Plays: UC, 0-5; B, 0-5