ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Playing close to his hometown of Williamsville, N.Y., junior goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) made 41 saves for a shutout as Bentley University defeated RIT 3-0 Friday night in the first game of an Atlantic Hockey series at Ritter Arena.
Returning to the rink where its season ended last March in the postseason, Komm helped Bentley extract a small measure of revenge with a standout performance. He got off to a hot start, making 18 saves in the first period, and kept it going throughout for his fourth career shutout and first this season. The 41 saves in his third highest total of the year.
The win is the second straight for the Falcons, who were playing their first Atlantic Hockey contest since Dec. 8 against Air Force. They improve to 8-9-1 overall and 6-5-1 in Atlantic Hockey. RIT falls to 5-10-4 and 3-6-3.
The goals for Bentley came from sophomore Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) in the first period, and senior Brett Hartung (Tallahassee, Fla./Wichita Falls Wildcats) and junior Justin Breton (Fitchburg, Mass./Boston Jr. Bruins) in the second.
Despite being outshot 18-7 in the first period, Bentley came away with a 1-0 lead on Switzer's third goal of the season with 1: 54 remaining.
The goal came off an odd-man rush down the right wing. Defensemen Zach Ledford (Folsom, Calif./Wichita Falls Wildcats) dropped the puck off for Switzer in Bentley's offensive zone, and Switzer beat Tigers goalie Josh Watson with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle.
Bentley then outplayed RIT in the second period, outshooting them 13-9, and went up 3-0 after 40 minutes on the Hartung and Breton goals.
Hartung's goal came off a shot on net by junior Andrew Fitzstephens (Schoolcraft, Mich./Bay State Breakers) that Watson saved. But Watson allowed a big rebound, and Hartung was all alone on the doorstep to knock in the rebound, giving the Falcons a 2-0 lead at 10:40. That was his third goal in two games.
Just over three minutes later Breton's ninth of the year put them up 3-0. RIT turned the puck over in its own zone and the puck came to Switzer on the goal line. Switzer then fed Breton in the slot, who beat Watson for the goal.
Komm made 14 more saves in the third period to preserve the shutout.
Bentley will go for the sweep Saturday night in the second game of the series. Face-off from Ritter Arena is set for 7:05 pm.