December 29, 2013

College Wraparound: Gensler's hatty lifts Bentley at Fenway

By Joshua Kummins

Brett Gensler scored a goal in every period to propel Bentley to victory in the City Frozen Fenway opener. (Photo: SportsPix)

BOSTON -- Fenway Park has been a cathedral of baseball for over 100 years, but after the Red Sox' World Series victory in October, it certainly does not hold too many good memories for St. Louis Cardinal fans.

However, Bentley University (9-7-1, 7-2-1 Atlantic Hockey) senior Brett Gensler changed that in a hurry.

The St. Charles, Mo., native scored a goal in each period, including the game-winner at 9:07 of the third, to propel the Falcons to a 3-2 victory over league rival Holy Cross (4-10-2, 3-5-2) in front of 3,898 fans in the opening game of Citi Frozen Fenway 2014 on Saturday night.

"I think (my parents) can live with the World Series loss after that game," Gensler said. "It's something I'll never forget. When we walked in yesterday, we kind of all were taken back by it a little bit. It's something not all of us get to experience. We're all from different parts of the world, we have Canadians and those guys never get to see this kind of stuff."

The victory was not only a special one given the site, but proved crucial in the AHA standings. Bentley's seventh conference win lifted it into a first-place tie in the league with Mercyhurst, which will not return to league action with two games at Army.

"Obviously, we're extremely excited with the outcome of the game and the opportunity just to come in here," Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist (Arlington, Mass.) said. "It was a fantastic experience for our fans, alumni and our school. It was great to take advantage of the situation and win an even game both ways."

After skating pretty evenly over the first half of the opening stanza, the Crusaders tagged the scoreboard with the game's first goal at 10:43. Senior Shayne Stockton sauced a nice pass to assistant captain and fellow senior linemate Adam Schmidt in the slot for a beautiful wrist shot, which was his fourth goal and team-best tenth point of the year.

Freshman defenseman Logan Smith got the boot at the exact 11-minute mark of the period, setting up Bentley for a major power play and Gensler's seventh goal of the year on a tip from junior Steve Weinstein within ten seconds.

Gensler put the "home-standing" Falcons ahead 5:45 into the second period, pouncing on the rebound of second-year defender Matt Blomquist in the low slot.

"We didn't forecheck very well (overall) tonight," said Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl (Wake. We didn't make them spend a lot of time in their zone. We got our offense off our transition and a power-play goal, but we need to be better and more tenacious."

The Crusaders said no way at the 7:59 mark as Stockton found the twine across the grain past Bentley senior Branden Komm, a Northfield Mount Hermon product, on a rush down the wing to knot the score at 2-2.

Holy Cross junior keeper Matt Ginn was outstanding in the middle period, making 16 of his 36 total saves in the second stanza, including four important stops while killing penalties.

It was Gensler who had the last laugh 9:07 into the third, taking a pass from Grieve for a shot from just outside the faceoff circle to Ginn's right side to cap his third-career hat trick.

"Two were power-play goals, so we just had a good set-up there," Gensler said of his effort offensively. "On the first one, I just redirected it. I don't think they were really expecting the middle, high tip that we set up a lot. The other one was we just switched up, after they started covering give me (an open lane) on my one-timer side. Then, just a rebound. That's what you have to do in these types of games."

Gensler, who became the Falcons' all-time Division 1 leader in points scored with 126 back on Dec. 6, is now just two goals away from tying Anthony Canzoneri's career mark of 84, capped in 2009.

Entering league bouts with Niagara next Friday and Saturday in Watertown, Mass., the Falcons' eight-game unbeaten streak is third-longest in the nation and the longest in the school's Division 1 history since 1999.

Boston College 8, Penn State 2

In the Three Rivers Classic Championship at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, it was all Eagles (12-4-2). Junior Destry Straight had never scored more than two points in a collegiate game until Saturday as he found the back of the net three times over the final half of the contest for a hat trick, supporting junior Brian Billett's (Brunswick, Maine) 31-save effort in goal. Fellow third-year Johnny Gaudreau extended his point streak to a new career-best 13 games with a goal and an assist en route to tournament MVP honors.

UMass Lowell 5, Canisius 2

Sophomore blue liner Christian Folin scored a goal and added two assists as the River Hawks (12-5-0) earned victory against the Golden Griffins (5-9-1) in the Sheraton/TD Bank Catamount Cup opener at Gutterson Fieldhouse. UML sophomore Connor Hellebuyck made 21 stops in his seventh victory of the season. Second-year Stephen Miller (Boxborough, Mass.) registered an assist in defeat for the Griffs.

Vermont 3, Clarkson 2

Nine different players recorded points and sophomore Brody Hoffman stopped 33 of 35 shots as the Catamounts (9-6-1) staved off the Golden Knights (12-4-1) in Burlington, Vt. for their sixth win in seven games. Hometown rookie forward Tom Forgione (South Burlington, Vt.) scored the winner - the first of his career - at 12:59 of the third.

Maine 4, Princeton 0

Senior Martin Ouellette made 33 saves in his third shutout of the season and sophomore Steven Swavely provided half the offense with a pair of scores to lead the Black Bears (10-6-1) into the title game of the Florida College Classic with an easy win over the Tigers (3-13-0) at Germain Arena in Estero.

Cornell 4, New Hampshire 2

The Wildcats (9-10-1) opened the second half on a sour note in Florida, dipping back below .500 against the ECAC opposition from Ithaca, N.Y. Senior Jeff Silengo scored a goal and an assist, but it was not enough to tame the Big Red (8-4-2) attack. In goal for UNH, third-year Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.Y.) was solid with 20 saves.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins