WATERTOWN, Mass. – Bentley University held off Army in the third period Friday night to post a 5-3 victory over the Black Knights, and snap a five game losing skid in a hard-hitting affair at Ryan Arena. Five different players scored for the Falcons.
Bentley led 4-1 after junior Andrew Fitzstephens (Schoolcraft, Mich./Bay State Breakers) scored his first career goal 2:21 into the third period. But Army fought back with two straight goals to cut Bentley's lead to 4-3 just past the midway point of the period. However, the Falcons held firm, didn't allow the tying goal and iced the victory when Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) scored an empty-net goal with 13 seconds remaining.
After the opening 10 minutes of the game was scoreless, Bentley got on the board first on a goal by sophomore Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors) at 10:20, with Gensler on the assist, the first of his two on the night. Gensler fed a cross-ice pass to Grieve on the far post of goalie Ryan Leets, and Grieve lifted his shot over Leets' blocker.
The Falcons went up 2-0 at 16:58 when sophomore Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) finished off a two-on-one break down the ice with Gensler for his eighth goal of the season. But just 24 seconds later, Joe Kozlak cut Army's deficit in half with a slap shot that trickled past goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon).
Despite being outshot 16-9 in the second period, Bentley came away with the period's only goal, coming off the stick of junior Jared Rickord (Skokie, Ill./Springfield Jr. Blues). Rickord's shot came right off of a face-off win by Alex Kubiak (Tinley Park, Ill./Chicago Steel), who played the puck to Rickord. Rickord then tucked his shot into the right post and past a screened Leets.
Komm stopped all 16 shots he faced in the period.
Fitzstephens' goal, coming in front of the net off a pass from freshman Derek Bacon (Calgary, Alberta/Okotoks Oilers), gave the hosts a seemingly comfortable 4-1 lead 2:21 into the final period. But Army clawed back into the game, first getting a goal from Zak Zaremba at 7:20, and another from Thane Heller on the power play at 10:14 to make it a 4-3 game.
But that's as close as the Black Knights could get, as Komm and the Bentley defense kept the puck out. Leets was pulled for the extra skater with 46 seconds remaining, but the Falcons put the game away as Gensler scored his 14th of the season into the empty net from the neutral zone, after a pass out of the defensive zone by defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers).
Bentley improves to 12-15-1 on the season with the win and 10-11-1 in Atlantic Hockey, while the Black Knights drop to 7-15-4 overall and 7-10-4 in conference games. The second game of this series is Saturday night at Tate Rink in West Point, N.Y.