Playing healthy puts goaltender Komm at a higher level for Bentley

Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist takes the “what have you done for me lately?” approach with his goaltenders, and so far this year, that means sophomore Branden Komm has been the go-to guy.

“Coach goes with the hot hand, so you’re only as good as your last game or practice,” Komm said.

And in Komm’s case, the recent history is pretty good. On Monday, he was named Atlantic Hockey goalie of the week for picking up two wins last weekend, allowing just a single goal in each game. Komm has a .929 save percentage so far this season, fourth-best in the league.

Komm said he thinks his play in early non-conference games helped him earn the starting job.

“We played some tough teams — Michigan, UMass, Quinnipiac,” said Komm. “I saw a lot of shots in those games.”

Komm hails from Williamsville, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo. He played in seven games his freshman year, competing for time with a pair of upperclassmen, Joe Calvi and Kyle Rank.

“It was frustrating because I would play, get injured, play, and then get injured again,” he said.

Playing healthy and more consistently has earned him four wins after posting just one last season. One of Komm’s most satisfying victories to date was a 2-0 win at Canisius, his first shutout. The win was special, coming in his hometown.

“It was fun,” he said. “There were about 25 family and friends there. It was nice to come home and play well.”

The Falcons’ next challenge is a pair of games at Mercyhurst this weekend. The Lakers like to run and gun, especially at home.

“Every league game is so important,” said Komm. “And they’re an explosive team. Everyone’s going to have to help out. If we win, it will be a team win.

“This year, the team is very close. The leaders are doing a great job. The closer you are, the better you go.”

New digs

Rochester Institute of Technology’s quest for a new rink took a big step last Friday, when it was announced that the Polisseni Foundation and B. Thomas Golisano, former owner of the Buffalo Sabres, had contributed $4.5 million toward the project. The new facility will be named the Gene Polisseni Center, in honor of Polisseni, a friend and colleague of Golisano. Polisseni, who died in 1991, was heavily involved in youth hockey in the Rochester, N.Y., area.

“This is an extraordinary partnership that provides a giant step toward our goal of creating the highest quality game-day experience for our players, students and the fans of RIT hockey throughout the local community,” said RIT president William Destler. “The support of the Polisseni Foundation and our long-time benefactor and friend Tom Golisano heightens our resolve to make that a reality.”

RIT hopes to break ground on the proposed $30 million facility in the fall of 2012.

Players of the week

From the home office in Haverhill, Mass.:

Atlantic Hockey player of the week:
Jay Silvia, Holy Cross

The senior forward had two goals and an assist to help the Crusaders to a 1-1 weekend.

Atlantic Hockey goalie of the week:
Branden Komm, Bentley

Komm allowed just two goals last weekend to help the Falcons pick up four points. He made 31 saves on Friday in a win over American International and 40 on Saturday in a win at Army.

Atlantic Hockey rookie of the week:
Chris Bodo, Mercyhurst

The forward from St. Thomas, Ontario, had two goals and an assist last weekend to help the Lakers to a split. He had a goal in a 4-3 loss to Robert Morris and a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win against Air Force.

Came to play

Air Force was swept last weekend, but it wasn’t senior Tim Kirby’s fault. The all-star defenseman had an excellent weekend, posting a pair of goals and an assist. Kirby has 67 career points to date, including 16 goals.

All in the family

Army rookie defenseman Maurice Alvarez helped the Black Knights to their first win of the season on Saturday, with a goal and an assist in the 2-1 win. Alvarez was paired with his brother Marcel, a senior and three-time league all-star.

Welcome back

RIT goaltender Shane Madolora had a successful return from a five-game suspension by the NCAA for an eligibility infraction. Seeing his first action since Oct. 15, the senior stopped 25 of 26 shots to lead the Tigers to a 3-1 win over Air Force last Friday. RIT is 1-3-1 without Madolora in net, but 2-0-1 when he is in goal. Madolora has a 1.96 goals against average and a .930 save percentage so far this season.

A little help here

You’d expect a goalie with a .922 save percentage and a 2.99 goals against average to be at least .500, but so far American International goalie Ben Meisner is just 2-7-1. The Yellow Jackets are struggling offensively, scoring two goals or fewer in nine of their 11 games played so far.

King of all media

The always quotable Frank Serratore, coach at Air Force, is known for his press conferences and radio and TV appearances. Serratore is now taking a turn as a writer, penning a piece for USA Hockey Magazine on the type of recruits he looks for and the benefits of a service academy education. It’s worth checking out.