COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Geordan Murphy’s collegiate debut is one he’d like to forget.
Bentley’s freshman netminder allowed three first-period goals before being removed after 20 minutes, and Air Force received goals from six different players in a 6-2 win before 1,219 fans at the Cadet Ice Arena on Saturday.
“Tonight we dominated until the last 10 minutes,” Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. “Usually I’m a nervous wreck on the bench, but I wasn’t worried tonight because we were playing so hard.”
Air Force, which evened its record at 3-3, opened the scoring just 2:43 into the contest thanks to a pair of outstanding individual efforts by senior Andy Berg. First, his nifty puck control behind the net forced Bentley into a hooking penalty, then his redirection of a Spanky Leonard shot beat Murphy to his right for his seventh goal of the season.
“Berg was a complete player, our best player tonight,” Serratore said. “I challenged him before the game, and he responded. He has to play that way.”
Air Force went up 2-0 midway through the opening frame thanks to two Bentley players losing their sticks. That allowed Scott Zwiers to crash the net, and while Murphy saved his shot, Seth Pelletier was there to backhand the rebound.
Despite not recording a shot on goal the first 9:15 of the contest and just three in the first period, it appeared Bentley would head into the locker room down only two goals. However, with 90 seconds left in the period, Kyle Fransdal’s wrister from a near-impossible angle near the goal line slid between Murphy and the post.
While that would be all for Murphy, things didn’t get much better in the second period for Bentley. Air Force’s Josh Priewe gave Bentley a chance to get back in the game when he took a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking Bentley’s Joe Lovell from behind.
However, not only did Bentley fail to score during that span, the Falcons failed to record a shot, as two penalties of their own killed their chances.
Two goals 51 seconds apart late in the second period clinched the victory for Air Force. Matt Bader beat Bentley’s second goaltender, Simon St. Pierre, on a breakaway, then Zwiers tallied his second goal of the year on a one-timer.
Bentley came out strong in the final period, recording 15 of its 29 shots in the final frame. However, it appeared Air Force goaltender Matt Polidor was going to record his first career shutout, and the team’s first since Jan. 5, 2001, against Connecticut, especially after Leonard’s goal 7:41 into the period made the score 6-0.
Bentley managed to thwart the shutout bid, as Paul Markarian scored a power-play goal with 9:36 remaining. Jake Plattner’s unassisted tally with less than four minutes left completed the scoring.
“This was the first good game we’ve played this year, the first time we’ve played Falcon hockey,” Serratore said. “If we play like this every night, we’ll be a difficult team to beat.”