Boston, Mass. – Senior Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) netted a hat trick, and surpassed the 60-goal milestone for his career, as Bentley University defeated Holy Cross 3-2 Saturday night outdoors at Frozen Fenway. The win is the Falcons' fourth in a row and moves them into a first-place tie in Atlantic Hockey.
With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Gensler scored the game-winner on the power play at the 9:07 mark, giving him his third career hat trick. His shot from the blue line in the left corner found its way through traffic and past Crusaders' goalie Matt Ginn for the goal.
Bentley had to survive the final minutes down 6-on-4 after a penalty with 2:07 left, followed by Holy Cross pulling Ginn. They had two near misses on the empty-net from shots on the other end of the ice that would have put the game away. But backed by its defense and goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon), who made 29 saves, they held on for the victory.
The win extends Bentley's unbeaten streak to eight (7-0-1), the second longest in program history and longest since the 1980-81 season.
It was the Crusaders that jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 10:43 mark of the first period on a goal by senior Adam Schmidt, his fourth of the season. Schmidt was positioned in the right face-off circle and took a pass from senior Shayne Stockton, then snapped off a wrist shot that beat Komm to the glove side.
But Bentley responded to tie the game just 53 seconds later on a power play goal by Gensler, his first of the night. Junior defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers) helped set the goal up with a shot from the blue line. Gensler was positioned in the slot, and got his stick on it to redirect the shot past Ginn.
Gensler notched his 60th career goal and second of the evening at 5:45 of the second period to give Bentley a 2-1 lead, becoming just the third player in the program's Division I history to hit the 60-goal milestone. He cleaned up a rebound in front of the net off a shot from defenseman Matt Blomquist (Blaine, Minn./Coulee Region Chill).
The Falcons though only stayed ahead for 2:14 as Holy Cross tied it up on a power play goal by Stockton at the 7:59 mark.
Blomquist had an assist on each of the three goals, while Weinstein notched two more to take his season total to 23 and to move him into a tie for the national lead.
After two straight wins on the big stage, Bentley returns home next Friday to open a two-game series against Niagara.