WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Four different players found the back of the net as the Bentley University hockey team closed out the 2013-14 regular season with a 4-1 victory over Atlantic Hockey rival AIC Saturday night at the Olympia Ice Center.
The Falcons were assured of the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Atlantic Hockey Tournament just after face-off when UConn was beaten by Sacred Heart 2-1. Nevertheless, Bentley completed the series sweep to finish the regular season 18-12-4 overall and 16-7-4 in AHA play.
Neither team created many scoring chances in the first period until freshman Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna Warriors) put the Falcons ahead 1-0 with just 21 seconds left. Sophomore Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo Clippers) fed French a pass from down low to where he was positioned in the high slot. French then blasted a one-timer past AIC goalie Ryan Kerpan to light the lamp.
Bentley then scored twice in the first 5:04 of the second period to take a 3-0 lead. The second goal came from junior Alex Kubiak (Tinley Park, Ill./Chicago Steel) with captain Jared Rickord (Skokie, Ill./Springfield Jr. Blues) getting the primary assist. Rickord took the initial shot on goal that Kerpan made a pad save on, but the rebound bounced right to Kubiak in front, who potted it into the back of the net for a 2-0 Falcons lead at 1:33.
Senior Justin Breton (Fitchburg, Mass./Boston Jr. Bruins) gave Bentley a 3-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season at 5:04. Defenseman Mike Berry (Edmonton, Alberta/Sherwood Park Crusaders) was credited with a secondary assist after playing a pass to fellow defenseman Charlie Donners (Norwood, Mass./Dexter School) on the blue line. Donners ripped a slot shot, and Breton was positioned in the slot to get his stick on the puck and tip it past Kerpan for the goal.
The Yellow Jackets got on the board with 4:19 left in the second period on a goal by freshman David Norris. Norris won a race to a loose puck in the neutral zone and had a breakaway on net, which he finished off with a nice deke move to make it a 3-1 game at the end of two periods.
Bentley was able to restore a three goal lead when Rickord got on the score sheet again, this time with a goal at the 9:20 mark of the third period to make it 4-1. Kubiak took a shot on net that was saved by Kerpan, and the rebound bounced to Rickord on Kerpan's glove side. Rickord then collected the puck and beat Kerpan before he could get back into position for his ninth goal of the season.
Senior goaltender Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) made 25 saves to earn his 18th win of the season, tying Bentley's single-season record.
The Falcons will open their AHA quarterfinal series with game one on Friday, March 14 at the JAR.