OMAHA, Neb. – The Bentley University hockey team got its season off to a great start Friday night with a 6-4 victory at Nebraska-Omaha in a non-conference showdown. Freshman Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna Warriors) and senior Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) each had two goals.
The Falcons' special teams accounted for four of the six goals, with French scoring both on the power play and shorthanded. Gensler had a power play goal and freshman Derek Bacon (Calgary, Alberta/Okotoks Oilers) had a shorthanded one in the first period, the first goal of the night.
Bentley led by as much as 5-2 after two periods, as Gensler's first goal of the night with 1:43 left in the second gave them a three-goal cushion.
However they had to sweat out the final 10 minutes, as the Mavericks received goals from junior Josh Archibald and freshman Austin Ortega less than two minutes apart to cut Bentley's lead to 5-4 with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.
But the Falcons did not allow the tying goal, and Gensler scored an empty netter from near his own blue line to seal the opening night win over UNO, which competes in the newly former National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Senior goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) made 34 saves to earn the win.
Goals by Bacon and French staked Bentley to a 2-0 lead with just under five minutes left in the first period, before UNO's Nick Seeler found the back of the net with 3:11 left in the period to make it 2-1.
UNO tied it at two just 1:22 into the second period but minutes later French struck again, this time shorthanded, scoring on a break down the right wing and beating Mavericks goalie Ryan Massa to the glove side. Junior Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors) made it 4-2 for Bentley at 5:44, scoring off his own rebound off a Bentley face-off win in the offensive zone.
Gensler then made it 5-2 on the power play at 18:17, tipping in Steve Weinstein's (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers) centering pass in front of the net.
It's the second straight year Bentley has won its season-opener. They'll go for the sweep Saturday night in game two of this series. Face off is at 8:07 ET.