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Atlantic Hockey: Bentley Hosts Niagara as Falcons Look to Keep Rolling

Bentley hasn't lost a hockey game since Nov. 8.

Brett Gensler scored all three goals as his team triumphed over Holy Cross, 3-2, at Fenway Park last Saturday.
Brett Gensler scored all three goals as his team triumphed over Holy Cross, 3-2, at Fenway Park last Saturday.
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Bentley University's hockey team has soared to unprecedented heights following a 3-2 victory over Holy Cross at Fenway Park last Saturday night. The Falcons are tied for first place with Mercyhurst in Atlantic Hockey and have back-to-back wins on big stages in the city of Boston.

Bentley had knocked off perennial powerhouse Boston University, 4-1, at Agganis Arena before the Christmas break and then one-upped that with a league win over Holy Cross and two crucial points at Boston's beloved ballpark, Fenway Park.

The Falcons are undefeated in their last eight contests and have won four games in a row as they prepare to take on preseason favorite Niagara at the John A. Ryan Skating Rink in Watertown this weekend.

This is a team that fans, students and alums should rally behind. The team has superstars at each position and a coach who is a former player at the school and is driven and dedicated to ensuring the longterm success of the program.

Ryan Soderquist and his staff, past and present, have assembled a hockey team that can compete for an Atlantic Hockey championship and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Brett Gensler, the 2012 winner of the Walter Brown Award, is the most recognized figure on the squad. The senior is the school's all-time scoring leader at the Division I level. His hat trick provided all the offense necessary for Bentley at Fenway Park, but he isn't the only forward who triggers fear in the opposition.

Alex Grieve and Andrew Gladiuk have 12 and 10 goals, respectively. Brett Switzer and Max French have 12 points each, but the highest scoring Falcon is a defenseman.

Junior Steve Weinstein leads the nation in scoring among defensemen. The Los Angeles, Calif. native has a goal and 23 assists, tops in the nation out of all positions. Weinstein represented the United States at the Maccabiah Games last summer.

Senior goaltender Branden Komm, a non-roster invitee to the Ottawa Senators Development Camp last summer, has been tremendous in goal for the Falcons. The Williamsville, NY native and Northfield Mount Hermon alum has been a workhorse for the past several years, but this season he has a defense that is more consistent and reliable in front of him. He has a 2.40 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Over Bentley's recent eight game unbeaten streak, Komm's numbers are almost unworldly with a 1.48 goals against average and .954 save percentage.

The Falcons will be facing the defending Atlantic Hockey regular season champions in Niagara this weekend. Dave Burkholder's team trekked through a blizzard to arrive in the greater Boston area for the weekend series.

Bentley will be going up against two freshmen goaltenders who both came in highly regarded, but have struggled statistically in their first seasons in college hockey. Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignagni have split the goaltending duties fairly evenly this year. Ignagni, a product of the St. Michael's Buzzers in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, played really well his first four games, but has hit a wall since then. Teichroeb, a London, Ontario native who played for the Lincoln Stars in the USHL, has been up-and-down, but was particularly solid in his last two outings.

Niagara lost a ton of production in all positions to graduation and was hit with the news that top returning scorer Ryan Murphy would be suspended for a driving while intoxicated charge that ultimately left him off the roster.

Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

Atlantic Hockey Weekend Schedule

Air Force at American International 7:05 p.m.
Mercyhurst at Army 7:05 p.m.
Niagara at Bentley 7:05 p.m.
Canisius at Holy Cross 7:05 p.m.
RIT at Connecticut 7:05 p.m.
Canisius at Holy Cross 3:05 p.m.
RIT at Connecticut 4:05 p.m.
Air Force at American International 7:05 p.m.
Niagara at Bentley 7:05 p.m.
Mercyhurst at Army 7:05 p.m.
Robert Morris at Sacred Heart 7:05 p.m.
Robert Morris at Sacred Heart 4:35 p.m.

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.