BOSTON — Even when you have the best offense in the country and one of the early Hobey Baker Award contenders on your team, it’s hard not to feel the pressure when you aren’t winning. For the Bentley Falcons, they found a way to turn the tide by doing what they do best – score goals. The Falcons used a third period outburst to beat Northeastern, 6-3, on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
It was the first win for the Falcons since Nov. 24, a long winless drought that was beginning to weigh on the players.
“I started to notice it last game; you could tell the losses were piling up,” senior forward Brett Gensler said, “[The win was] really big for our confidence. Our defense, our offense, our goalie – everyone knows that we’re capable of playing like that every night now.”
Gensler’s calm post-game demeanor, effortless skating, and penchant for being in the right place at the right time seemed representative of the Falcons on the whole Saturday night: steady, composed, and smart with the puck.
Bentley took advantage of a Northeastern defense that was frequently out of position and sloppy, carving out space for high percentage shots and redirections.
Tied 1-1 entering the second period, Bentley stepped out to a two-goal lead in the waning moments of the frame. At 5:08 into the period, Brett Gensler and Brett Hartung executed a perfect two-on-one rush, with Gensler sliding the puck across and Hartung blasting a slap shot into the back of the net.
The second tally came in final minute of the period after an incredible individual effort from Justin Breton in transition. Breton outskated three backcheckers to gain space on the right wing before he backhanded the puck top shelf on Chris Rawlings’ glove side.
However, Northeastern rallied in the third. In the opening minute of the frame, Cody Ferriero pocketed his second goal of the game and sixth in the last two games. Ferriero walked in with a wrister that glanced off the shoulder of Falcons goalie Branden Komm (45 saves) and rolled into the net.
Over the next five minutes, the Huskies peppered Komm with shots (NU finished with 48 shots in the game). The payoff occurred when Robbie Vroyk pounded home a rebound to knot the game, 3-3. Yet immediately after the tying goal, the Falcons responded and flipped the game back in their favor.
On a quick entry play, Justin Breton shot the puck to the middle and got a deflection from Derek Bacon to dribble the puck underneath Rawlings (26 saves) and into the goal. Less than four minutes later, Hartung got his second tally of the game, spinning away from both Northeastern defensemen to cut to net and throw the puck in to make it 5-3.
“We saved our best hockey for the last 10 or 11 minutes, and I was proud of how our guys responded in the last 10 minutes,” said Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist, Speaking to the third period surge, he said, “I don’t think at all that it was Northeastern’s letdown as much as it was us answering the bell, going out there and earning the win.”
Meanwhile for the Huskies, the loss was a setback before re-entering Hockey East play — yet another game littered with inconsistent effort and lax coverage in the defensive zone.
“That’s where we have to get better — in our own zone,” Madigan said, “If we’re going to be successful moving forward, we’ve got to take care of our own zone. And we didn’t do it tonight, plain and simple. It’s disappointing, because we’ve put time in practice into it and we didn’t execute today in the game.”
Adding to the trouble is a thin lineup, as Madigan revealed that forward Ludwig Karlsson and defenseman Dustin Darou would both be week-to-week with injuries sustained over the last week. The Huskies will have to make do with their limited personnel once again next week when they restart Hockey East play against Maine, while Bentley will hit the road to visit RIT in Atlantic Hockey action.