Gensler's the Guy for Bentley
by Ryan Hannable/CHN Reporter
Two years ago in his freshman season, Bentley forward Brett Gensler was second on the team with 24 points and the Falcons finished with a 10-18-6 overall record and a first round loss in the Atlantic Hockey tournament.
Following the season, things changed for Gensler.
“Coach (Ryan Soderquist) was really hard on me after my freshman year,” Gensler said. “I got a lot stronger to take care of the puck down low, and things like that. My conditioning got taken to a whole new level that summer, and now I am able to fight off players more. Those offseason preparations now make things a lot easier.”
Riding the momentum from the offseason, Gensler came onto the scene last season finishing with 50 points in 40 games, while leading Bentley to a 16-16-8 overall record, before losing a tough series to RIT in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.
This season, the 22-year-old winger has taken his game to the next level, currently tied for eighth in the nation in scoring, totaling 31 points in 23 games. As a team, Bentley is 10-10-1 overall and in fifth place in the Atlantic Hockey standings.
Gensler is proud of his individual accomplishments, but knows the wins and losses are more important.
“It’s pretty special to be up there with some of those good players,” he said. “Obviously it means a lot to the school and the team, but overall we want to be a little better in the standings because that is more important."
Even more impressive for Gensler is his name mentioned in the race for the Hobey Baker Award, annually given to the best player in college hockey.
“Obviously the best players in the country are up for that award so it’s special,” Gensler said. “It means a lot, but credit my teammates as they have put me in a position to be up there. It’s really nice.”
Currently Bentley has a .500 record, but playing better than their record would indicate. They’ve won three out of their four conference games since the Christmas break, and had two good road games against Hockey East opponents Massachusetts-Lowell (a 3-2 loss on Dec. 30) and Northeastern (a 6-3 win on Jan. 5).
Playing against two teams in arguably the best conference in the country will certainly benefit the Falcons down the stretch.
“We had a great first game back from Christmas against UMass-Lowell. We had a lead and then we fell apart at the end,” Gensler recalled. “Those games were really good for us as we learned we can play against top teams, but it also taught us we need to play a full 60 minutes. I think UMass-Lowell scored two goals to take the lead in like 16 seconds or something.
“The next weekend we played Northeastern at Matthews Arena, and it goes to show we can go into a hostile environment and play against a top team. Going back into Atlantic Hockey play we had a lot to build on after that win.”
Bentley is determined to finish the season strong going into the postseason.
“We’re trying to be the best we can be down the stretch run as we have 12 games left,” Gensler said. “We want to finish in the top four in Atlantic Hockey and get a home game in the playoffs. Then, we want to go to Rochester and win the Atlantic Hockey championship and make it to the first round of the NCAA tournament. We think we have the talent to do that, we just have to come together here at the end.”
The Falcons will look to continue their momentum with 10 games remaining in the regular season. Crucial series against Niagara and Connecticut await Bentley as the stretch run begins. In their quest for supremacy in Atlantic Hockey, Gensler will be ready to lead the way.