COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Air Force and Bentley had many things in common Friday night at Cadet Ice Arena. Not only do the teams share the Falcons nickname, but they also scored the same
number of goals Friday night skating to a 3-3 tie.
Air Force came out flying, tallying a goal just 1:12 into the game. After winning a faceoff back to the defense, a Mark Williams shot glanced off the post. In a case of being in the right place at the right time, the puck landed on the stick of Paul Weisgarber who slammed it home.
For some teams, this goal would have been demoralizing, but Bentley kept the pressure up and did not let the early goal hurt them mentally.
I dont think that it hurt us, said Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist. We knew we had to play 60 minutes and we have a pretty mature club. They knew that goal wasnt going to be the difference and they had to battle back and they did a great job scoring three unanswered goals from there.
Bentleys pressure led to some scoring of their own as they tied the game up on a soft goal that should have been stopped by Air Force goalie Andrew Volkening (22 saves). A shot from the right faceoff circle by Brett Hartung found its way under the glove arm of Volkening who let it slip by.
Bentley took a 2-1 lead with 5:10 remaining in the first on a breakaway goal. After the Air Force defensemen pinched down too low, Erik Peterson was able to get behind them and was hit with a nice outlet pass beating Volkening high with a blistering wrist shot.
The first half of the second period was a defensive struggle as both teams struggled to gain any momentum. That was until a wrap around attempt by Brandon Bahnemann turned into a perfect pass as it slid through the crease and onto the stick of Justin Kemmererwho easily put the puck home for a 3-1 Bentley advantage.
We were not very accountable defensively at the beginning of the game, remarked Air Force coach Frank Serratore. We had a game plan in place but we allowed a breakaway, a semi-breakaway, and plenty of outnumbered rushes. Bentley is an opportunistic team and if you give up those kids of goals youre going to make life awful difficult on yourself.
Play became very scrappy in the following minutes as both teams took penalties. The teams ended up playing four on four for more than a minute but the timing and a little bit of luck favored Air Force (3-1-1 in Atlantic Hockey, 3-5-1 overall). As the penalty was ending, a shot from the point deflected off a Bentley defenseman and over the shoulder of Bentley goalie Joe Calvi (29 saves) cutting the deficit to 3-2 with 7:05 to go in the period.
The third period saw plenty of action but only one goal. Seconds after Bentleys Anders Olson went off for a tripping penalty Air Force took advantage. After a faceoff win and shot from the point by Tim Kirby, Calvi gave up a huge rebound to Kyle De Laurell in front of the net. De Laurell took advantage as he fired the puck past the outstretched goalie and tied the game at 3-3 with a power play goal.
After the goal Air Force went on the attack as the momentum was theirs.
I think there was some momentum on our part but Bentley fatigued too, said Serratore. Also, I think Bentley got in a defensive shell to try to milk that 3-2 lead.
That goal proved to be the final tally as both teams were unable to score during regulation or the overtime period despite great chances on both sides with Calvi saving the game for Bentley (2-3-1, 2-1-1) with a sprawling glove save with 3:41 left in overtime.
I thought Joe played extremely well tonight, said Soderquist. On one of the goals he gave up a tough rebound but he made a great save in overtime that allowed us to get a point.
The teams are back in action tomorrow night at Cadet Ice Arena. Game time is 7:05 p.m.