WORCESTER, Mass. – Sophomore Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo Clippers) netted two more power play goals to help the Bentley hockey team defeat Holy Cross 5-3 at the Hart Center Saturday night in Atlantic Hockey play. The win gives the Falcons a season sweep of Holy Cross.
Gladiuk struck in the first and third periods, including a big goal 5:14 into the third period to give Bentley a two-goal cushion at 4-2. Earlier, defenseman Matt Blomquist (Blaine, Minn./Coulee Region Chill) scored a shorthanded goal just 20 seconds into the third frame, breaking a 2-2 tie and going down as the eventual game-winning goal.
Defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers) had two assists, including the primary assist on Gladiuk's second goal, which was his 30th of the season, breaking the school's Division I record for most assists in a single-season.
Bentley never trailed in another tight contest with their local rivals, as they improve to 11-3-3 in Atlantic Hockey play, and are now 11-1-3 since Nov.15. The Crusaders drop to 5-10-2 in conference games.
The win was also the 150th career victory for head coach Ryan Soderquist.
The Falcons jumped out ahead 1-0 at 5:44 of the first period on their first power play chance of the night, as Gladiuk continued his impressive production on the man-advantage with his 11th power play goal of the season and 16th overall.
The goal started with Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) in possession of the puck in the slot, who then fed Weinstein on the point. Weinstein then slid a cross-ice pass to Gladiuk in the right face-off circle, whose shot deflected in off goalie Matt Ginn for the goal.
It wasn't all good news for Bentley's special teams though as they allowed a shorthanded goal to Holy Cross' Adam Schmidt at 14:53 of the first, and with just one second left before the penalty expired. After Holy Cross cleared the puck from its defensive zone and had a rush down the other end of the ice, Schmidt got control of the puck in the slot. He then spun around his defender and slid his shot past Branden Komm's (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) pads for the goal.
Gensler though struck just 18 seconds into the second period with his 16th of the season to give Bentley a 2-1 lead. After the opening face-off Gensler corralled the loose puck and skated down the right wing towards the goal. He then deked around Ginn and poked the puck past him for the goal in a great individual effort.
Holy Cross responded less than three minutes later at 3:02 with a goal by junior Jake Youso. A shot by Sean Gustin was saved by Komm but created a big rebound, allowing Youso to crash the net and knock the puck into an open net to tie the game 2-2.
Bentley was whistled for a penalty with 1:10 left in the second, which carried a Holy Cross power play over into the final frame. That didn't deter them however, as Blomquist scored shorthanded just 20 seconds into the period. A 2-on-1 developed into Bentley's offensive zone with Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) skating down the right wing and Blomquist the left. Switzer then centered a pass over to Blomquist, who one-timed his shot past Ginn's stick for the eventual game-winning goal.
Bentley continued to fly around in the early parts of the third and was rewarded with yet another power play goal, with Gladiuk scoring again at 5:14 for a 4-2 lead. Weinstein started with the puck, skated into the slot and dropped a pass off to Gladiuk in the right face-off circle, who roofed his shot over Ginn's glove for the goal.
But Holy Cross wouldn't go away as junior Tommy Dwyer got them to within 4-3 by scoring at the 10:56 mark, on a shot from close range that first hit Komm's pads and trickled in.
However, Bentley was able to withstand Holy Cross the rest of the way, and an empty-net goal by captain Jared Rickord (Skokie, Ill./Springfield Jr. Blues) with eight seconds left sealed the win.
The Falcons will now head to Mercyhurst next weekend for a battle between the top-two teams in the Atlantic Hockey standings. The first game begins Friday at 7:05 pm in Erie, Pa.