WORCESTER, Mass. — Senior forward Pierre Napert-Frenette scored a power-play goal with 1:03 to play to lift Holy Cross to a dramatic 3-2 win over Bentley College Saturday night in Atlantic Hockey action at the Hart Center. With the win and a Sacred Heart 4-3 loss at UConn, Holy Cross won the Atlantic Hockey regular season championship.
Despite the loss, Bentley will host Army next Saturday at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs as the Black Knights lost at AIC. It will be the first time that the Falcons, who will be seeded fourth in the upcoming playoffs, will host a postseason game since Bentley moved to Division I in 1999.
In what was an eventful first period there were 10 combined penalties for 28 minutes and two penalty shots. The first penalty shot came 5:16 into the game when Dale Reihhardt skated onto a loose puck in the neutral zone while the Crusaders were on the penalty kill and was taken down by a Bentley player from behind before he could release a shot. Reinhardt was awarded a penalty shot, but his effort low to the left side of the goal was saved by junior goaltender Ray Jean.
Holy Cross would score on its second five-on-three opportunity of the game. A pass from behind the net by Reinhardt was shot by Blair Bartlett and through Jean’s pads for his 11th goal of the season.
Bentley would even the game with 4:44 to play in the period on a penalty shot by freshman Tom Dickhudt. The Holy Cross goal was intentionally pushed off its moorings by a Crusader player and Dickhudt would score on his backhand on the resulting penalty shot.
Bentley would take the lead with 1:15 to play in the first as Brett Murphy netted a power play goal. A shot from just inside the blueline was deflected by traffic in front of the goal and past Quesada. A night after Quesada held Bentley scoreless, the Falcons scored a pair in the opening twenty minutes.
The second period was a disjointed affair that featured very little five-on-five action. Holy Cross would even the game on its fifth power-play opportunity of the period and ninth of the game with 3:53 to play in the period. James Sixsmith skated down the right side of the Bentley zone and roofed a shot over Jean for the game-tying goal.
Holy Cross came close to scoring multiple times on a power play midway through the third period. The best chance of the power play came as Sixsmith fired a wicked slap shot that struck Jean in the mask and bounced in front of the net, but was eventually cleared away by the Falcon defense.
The Crusaders would net the dramatic game winner on its 12th power play of the night. Sixsmith led a Holy Cross rush into the Bentley zone and dropped a pass to Napert-Frenette who scored the dramatic winner.
Jean picked up the loss despite making 27 saves, while Quesada made 22 saves for Holy Cross in the win.