WATERTOWN, Mass. – The Bentley University hockey team defeated AIC 5-1 Friday night on Senior Night at Ryan Arena as the Falcons clinched a first round bye in the upcoming Atlantic Hockey Tournament. Senior right winger Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) notched one goal and one assist to become the AHA's all-time leading scorer.
Bentley's top line of Gensler and juniors Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors) and Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) accounted for four of the five goals. Grieve had two, to go along with two assists for a four-point night, and Gensler and Switzer each had a goal apiece. With the victory, Bentley clinched a bye to the quarterfinals of the AHA Tournament and is assured of at least the number three seed.
The Falcons can finish second with a win or tie over AIC in the regular season finale Saturday night, or a loss or tie by UConn.
A slow start by Bentley saw AIC jump out to a 1-0 lead at 3:20 of the opening period on a goal by senior Jon Puskar after he finished off a two-on-one with Alexander MacMillian. But a little over three minutes later, Grieve netted his first of the night with a shot from the slot that slid along the ice and beat AIC goalie Hunter Leisner. Switzer had the assist to help tie the game at 6:36.
With just 17 seconds left in the opening period, Gensler found the back of the net for his 18th of the season to give Bentley a 2-1 lead. Grieve led a breakout into the offensive zone and ended up with the puck behind the net. He then found Gensler in front of the net, who beat Leisner glove side for the goal.
Bentley then went up 3-1 at 11:15 of the second period as the second line of Justin Breton (Fitchburg, Mass./Boston Jr. Bruins), Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo Clippers) and Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna Warriors) combined on the goal with Breton scoring it, his fifth of the season.
The record breaking point by Gensler came on an assist on Grieve's goal at 19:40 of the second, the 159th point of his career. Gensler started with the puck down low, then fed a pass to defenseman Matt Blomquist (Blaine, Minn./Coulee Region Chill) on the blue line. Blomquist spotted Grieve open at the point, who beat Leisner five-hole for his second goal of the night and to give the Falcons a 4-1 cushion.
Blomquist would get his third assist of the evening on Switzer's goal at 13:59 of the third period to finish out the scoring. The goal was Switzer's ninth of the year, and Grieve got an assist as well for his fourth point of the night and 41st of the season.
Senior goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon), who made his 53rd straight start on Senior Night, turned in a solid performance after allowing the early goal. He made 31 saves for his 17th win of the season.
These two teams are back at it Saturday night for the regular season finale as the series shifts to Springfield and the Olympia Ice Center. The game gets underway at 7:05 pm.