WATERTOWN, Mass. — Ryan Soderquist took his place atop the all-time wins list for Bentley University hockey, and freshman Brett Gensler scored two goals as the Falcons avenged last year’s first round playoff defeat to the Connecticut Huskies with a 3-2 victory at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena on Friday night.
Soderquist recorded career win 102, moving him one in front of Jim McAdam for the all-time wins mark by a Bentley head coach.
“Any milestone accomplishment is a credit to all the teams that put on the jersey,” he said. ”The players go out and win the games, and they deserve all the credit for this. They put the blood and sweat into going out and playing the games.”
McAdam coached from 1993-2002, an era during which Soderquist played for the Falcons.
“He taught me a lot about coaching and about life,” said the current coach.
Gensler put the Falcons on top just 6:46 into the opening frame, gaining the puck just inside the UConn zone after senior Erik Peterson deflected it off the linesman. Gensler deked around sophomore Garrett Bartus to put Bentley on top 1-0.
Gensler then recorded a highlight-reel goal four minutes later. On a 2-on-2 breakout with linemate Dustin Cloutier, Gensler went 1-on-1 against defender Stevie Bergin. He sliced through the left wing faceoff circle with the puck between Bergin’s legs, edging around Bartus on the backhand for the 2-0 lead.
“(Peterson) sent it across ice,” said Gensler. ”I was on a breakout with (Cloutier) and tried to just isolate the defense for an opportunity. It really started slow but then really got going, and I was able to get it on the backhand. I was looking for the pass before I had a good look.”
“That’s a highlight reel goal,” said Soderquist. ”It was very pretty, and everyone had to respect it. He’s a very talented kid as a freshman.”
The Huskies narrowed the gap just before the end of the first when Andrew Olson punched one by senior Joe Calvi (New Lenox, IL/New England Jr. Huskies) with 33 seconds remaining. But Peterson came out of the break with fire under his skates, snapping a shot out of mid-air to open up the 2nd period with an unassisted goal 2:28 in.
“Erik’s such a great leader,” said Gensler. ”Playing with him and Dustin on the line, they are such great mentors, and I’m learning a lot.”
The Huskies would mount a mini-comeback later in the period, scoring on James Gallagher’s tally at 13:45. But Calvi and the Falcon defense held the fort despite six UConn power plays, including three in the final period. The third period went scoreless, and Bentley walked away with a 3-2 win. Calvi finished with 24 saves to improve to 3-3 on the season and 23-34-6 overall for his career.
The game marked the first time the teams had met since last year’s playoff upset, when UConn eliminated Bentley with a 2-1 victory. They will meet again in February with a home-and-home series. Bentley improved to 3-5-1 overall, 2-2-0 in Atlantic Hockey with the win, and Connecticut fell to 2-4-3, 2-3-1 with the loss.
Bentley returns to action tomorrow night at Holy Cross, while Connecticut is home against AIC. The Falcons will be without Mike Switzer, who received a game disqualification after the final buzzer along with UConn’s Grant Scott for fighting. Scott is also suspended for the Saturday contest.
Bentley’s next home contest is a 2-game swing against Canisius on Saturday and Sunday.