ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It was a big night for Bentley at the Atlantic Hockey awards banquet on Thursday as the Falcons took home two major awards and had five players earn All-Conference honors. Head coach Ryan Soderquist was named Coach of the Year and Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors) was selected as the Rookie of the Year. Sophomore Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) was named first team All-Atlantic Hockey.
The four others voted All-Atlantic Hockey were senior defenseman Trent Bonnett (Butler, Pa./Mahoning Valley Phantoms) and sophomore goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) to the third team, and Grieve and Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) to the All-Rookie team.
For Soderquist, it's his second AHA Coach of the Year award in four seasons after winning it for the 2008-09 season, and third overall in his career (MAAC Coach of the Year in 2003). In his 10th season at Bentley, he directed a team that was picked 10th in the AHA preseason coaches poll and had them in contention to win the regular season title on the final weekend. They ended up finishing sixth at 13-7-7 in the conference, but were just three points out of first-place. Bentley finished at 16-16-8 overall, the second most wins in the program's Division I history, and advanced to the conference quarterfinals after beating Sacred Heart in the first round.
Soderquist is now a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the top coach in Division I hockey.
Grieve is the second Bentley player to be named the AHA Rookie of the Year, joining Erik Peterson in 2008. He finished the regular season tied for the league lead in points among rookies (29), and he closed the season first in goals (15) and points (34) among AHA rookies. He set the program's Division I record for most points in a season by a freshman, and tied the program's Division I record for most points in a game with six against UConn on Feb. 18.
Gensler is the first Bentley player to be named first team All-Atlantic Hockey. He won the regular season scoring title with an 18-23-41 line, but was beaten out for the Player of the Year award by Air Force's senior defenseman Tim Kirby. The Missouri native broke two school Division I records this year; for goals, finishing with 23, and points, finishing with 50. He became just the second player in program history to hit the 50 point mark in a season, and is one of just eight players in the nation to reach that number heading into the weekend.
Bonnett, a co-captain, played in all but one game during the regular season and was +13 with two goals and six assists. After last weekend, he's a league-best +19 and was second on the team in blocked shots with 60. For his career, Bonnett played in 144 games, which is third most in school history.
Komm was a workhorse in between the pipes for the Falcons. He started 31 games during the regular season and 26 of 27 conference games, allowing two or fewer goals in 21 games. He was one of four goalies to have a goals against average under two in AHA games (1.96) and posted a .933 save percentage. Overall, Komm started 37 games and logged the second most minutes in the league. He set program single-season records for GAA (2.43), save percentage (.923), saves (1,080) and wins at the Division I level (16).
Switzer teamed with Gensler and Grieve to form one of the most potent lines in the conference, as each ended the year with 30+ plus points. The younger brother of senior defenseman Mike, he finished the regular season as the fourth leading rookie scorer in Atlantic Hockey with 26 points, and is now second with 33 points after adding seven in the postseason. He ended the season third on the team in goals (14), tied for second in assists (19) and third in points.