WORCESTER, Mass. – The Bentley University hockey team opened its big series against Holy Cross with a 4-1 road win at the Hart Center Friday night. Sophomore Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) had two goals, and freshman Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, British Columbia/Nanaimo Clippers) and sophomore defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers) each had three assists.
The Falcons, who have won five of seven since the break, earned their first win at Holy Cross' Hart Center since November of the 2010-11 season, which was also the last time they beat the Crusaders. Junior goaltender Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) continued his recent string of strong performances with 44 saves to pick up his 10th victory of the season.
Bentley led 2-0 after two periods as Komm made 28 saves to that point, but had its lead shaved to 2-1 just 1:04 into the third period on a goal by Holy Cross' Caston Sommer. But Switzer scored his first of the night at 7:53 to restore Bentley's two goal cushion, and then iced the victory with his second at 17:58 to make it 4-1.
Bentley scored the first goal of the game at 8:12 of the opening period on the power play off the stick of defenseman Matt Blomquist (Blaine, Minn./Coulee Region Chill). Bentley cycled the puck around to Gladiuk near the blue line, who then fed Blomquist on the point. Blomquist then let fly a slap shot that got past goalie Matt Ginn, who was screened by traffic in front of the net.
Despite being penalized three times in the second period, Bentley still led 2-0 after 40 minutes thanks to a power play goal from Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors), and the work of its penalty kill units, which killed off all three Holy Cross power plays.
Grieve's goal, his eighth of the season and sixth on the man-advantage, came with just one second left on a penalty to Holy Cross' Joe McNamara. That gave Bentley a 2-0 lead 5:03 into the second period. Grieve was fed a pass by Gladiuk on the left wing, drove in on net and stuffed the puck under the pads of Ginn for the goal.
After Grieve's goal, Bentley's penalty kill denied Holy Cross on two power play opportunities over the final 10 minutes of the period.
Holy Cross though finally put one past Komm early in the third period on Sommer's goal. The sequence that led to the goal was started by a shot on net by McNamara that was saved by Komm, but a big rebound came to Sommer in the left face-off circle. Sommer then beat Komm with a wrist shot that just went over his glove.
But Bentley responded with a big goal from Switzer at 7:53 to take a 3-1 lead. Gladiuk started an odd-man rush down the ice on the left wing, and played a centering pass to the far post that Justin Breton (Fitchburg, Mass./Boston Jr. Bruins) got his stick on. Breton then touched the puck over to Switzer, who slid the puck under Ginn for the goal.
Switzer tacked on his second of the game with 2:02 remaining, with Breton and Weinstein on the assists, to make the score 4-1.
Bentley improves to 11-10-1 overall and 9-6-1 in Atlantic Hockey with the victory, while the Crusaders fall to 12-9-2 and 8-6-2 in the conference. The second game of this season is Saturday night at Ryan Arena in Watertown.