December 14, 2013

College Wraparound: Bentley top BU on eve of holiday break

By Joshua Kummins

Saturday night marked the Bentley Falcons' (8-7-1, 6-2-1 Atlantic Hockey) first-ever visit to Agganis Arena, but based on the results, they sure wouldn't mind a repeat invitation.

The Falcons' veteran attack, which is 5-0-1 in their last six games dating back to Nov. 15, was way too much for a struggling Boston University Terriers (7-8-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East) squad to handle in the final game before the holiday break for both sides.

The 4-1 victory was a dream come true for Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist (Stoneham, Mass.), and one that was made possible by a giant in the college hockey coaching ranks, Jack Parker.

Just 9:44 into the first, sophomore Derek Bacon put the visitors up 1-0, tipping junior Steve Weinstein's perfect pass from the point past BU netminder Matt O'Connor. For Weinstein, the beautiful set-up was his 20th assist of the season to lead the team, and his 21st point to lead all Division 1 defenders.

The Terriers gave one away in their defensive zone just 100 seconds into the second period and senior Jared Rickord doubled the Bentley lead, going in alone on O'Connor to make it 2-0. Third-year Brett Switzer sniped to a wide open left-hand corner for a three-goal lead on the hosts at the 5:45 mark of the second.

Bentley senior and Northfield Mount Hermon product Branden Komm made 42 saves, etching his name into the school record books with his program-best 36th career victory.

BU would not go down without one mark on the scoreboard as sophomore Matt Lane scored a power-play goal at 14:56 of the third, but the Falcons put the game away quickly after O'Connor was pulled in favor of an extra attacker as senior Brett Gensler found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season with 1:58 remaining in regulation.

The victory was the second in a matter of just a few weeks for Atlantic Hockey against a perennial Hockey East power from Commonwealth Avenue as Holy Cross shocked sixth-ranked Boston College, 5-4, on Nov. 29. That result was the Eagles' first loss to an AHA team since the conference was formed in 2003-04.

A statement has been made to the college hockey world, and now the Falcons will ride the momentum of the victory into the holidays. Their next time on the ice will come in the friendly confines of America's Most Beloved Ballpark, opening the Citi Frozen Fenway 2014 events with a date against in-state rival Holy Cross on Dec. 28.

All Soderquist wanted was to include the historic BU program on his schedule - not to mention beat them.

Vermont 5, St. Lawrence 1

The Catamounts (8-5-1, 4-4-0 Hockey East) made it a clean handful of consecutive victories, defeating the Saints (8-9-2, 2-4-2 ECAC) in the 88th edition of the rivalry between longtime foes and former ECAC combatants. Junior Michael Paliotta (Westport, Conn.) scored the opening goal for UVM and added an assist, leading five multiple-point scorers. Sophomore Brody Hoffman made 21 saves in his third victory of the season, allowing just the 13th goal and 36th point of the season to SLU sniper and leading national scorer Greg Carey.

Massachusetts 2, Colgate 0

In the opening game of two consecutive matinees, the Minutemen (5-11-2, 2-7-2 HEA) used a 25-save shutout from junior Steve Mastalerz (North Andover, Mass.) to defeat the Raiders (7-8-2, 5-3-1 ECAC Hockey) on enemy ice at Starr Rink in Hamilton, N.Y. Senior Conor Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) scored the only goal UMass needed with 1:23 remaining in the opening period.

Maine 5, American International 1

Sophomore Ryan Lomberg scored two goals and added an assist as the Black Bears (9-6-1, 4-2-1 Hockey East) completed a weekend sweep of the visiting Yellow Jackets (3-12-0, 3-6-0 AHA) at Alfond Arena. Chris Porter scored AIC's lone goal 30 seconds into the first period, but Maine senior Dan Sullivan recovered to make 18 saves in his first start since Nov. 4, 2012.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins