NORTHFORD, Conn. — Shane Saum scored two goals to lead Air Force past Bentley, 4-2, in the first round of the Quinnipiac Cup Friday.
“[Bentley] never quit; they come hard and they are well-coached. We just got a few more chances in the second half of the game, and we were able to get a couple,” said Air Force assistant coach Joe Doyle, subbing for Frank Serratore, who was inducted into the hockey Hall of fame at Omaha Friday night.
Bentley’s Ryan Mayhew opened the scoring at the 4:06 mark of the first period when Joe Lovell spotted him wide open on the left side of the crease. Mayhew made it look easy as he deflected the puck into the net past AFA netminder Mike Polidor, who was hung out to dry.
Air Force struck back just 22 seconds later when confusion crippled the Bentley breakout. The Falcons continued to pressure the zone and Bentley goaltender Simon St. Pierre, and Saum picked up the puck behind the net and found some room between St. Pierre and the short-side post to tie the game at 1-1.
The second period started the same way as the first, with Bentley jumping out into the lead. It took just 57 seconds to beat Polidor on a shot by Brendan McCartin, assisted by Seth Vinocur and Josh Thompson.
Air Force held most of the play in the second and finally found the back of the net at 16:34, when Andrew Ramsey picked up the loose puck near a pile of players in front. Ramsey lifted the puck inside the far post past the outstretched glove of St. Pierre, which tied the game at 2-2.
St. Pierre saved the Falcons from falling behind later in the second with two key saves. First St. Pierre stoned Spanky Leonard on a breakaway, and then he robbed Seth Pelletier with a remarkable glove save.
With 9:35 left in the third Air Force took its first lead of the game on another play from behind the Bentley net. Saum stickhandled out from behind the net into a cluster of players in the slot and snuck the puck in between St. Pierre and the post to put Air Force up 3-2.
The Falcons added another goal with 6:05 left as Mike Knaeble picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, swooped into the slot and found space between St. Pierre’s pads.
“All in all, [St. Pierre] had a great effort, but when it comes down to it, three of the goals he let in were soft, soft goals, poor concentration on his part. He may have looked good on the saves tonight but when you break it down, he didn’t play a great game either,” said Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist.
Air Force advances to play Quinnipiac in the Q-Cup final on Saturday at 7 p.m. Bentley will face American International in the consolation at 4.