WATERTOWN, Mass. — Bentley’s second line of forwards scored two goals, and senior captain Dustin Cloutier added a third, as the Falcons defeated the Canisius Golden Griffins, 3-2, at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena on Saturday night, a game marred by 77 combined penalty minutes.
The Falcons evened their record at 5-5-1 (4-2-0 Atlantic Hockey). Canisius dropped under .500 to 5-6-4 (4-5-4 Atlantic Hockey).
“It was definitely a hard-fought game with the penalties,” said Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist. “I was not happy with our discipline, and we had to kill too much time in our own barn. (Our team) will take the win and the two points, and we have to forget about it.”
Bentley got the first tally just 1:40 into the first period when Jaime Nudy stripped defenseman Chris Forsman on the right wing. Nudy fed Dan Koudys behind the net, who found Joe Campanelli in the slot. Campanelli stuffed it past goalie Dan Morrison for the 1-0 lead.
The Falcons notched their second just seven minutes later. A wild scrum in front of the net resulted in Koudys hitting a shot off his stick that Morrison seemingly handled, but the action in front got Morrison slightly off his mark, and the puck squirted free and over the crease line before he could cover it up.
Canisius got one back on Vincent Scarsella’s picture-perfect tally at 6:18 of the second period. Scarsella came up the right wing off a feed from Eric Rex. He went from forehand to backhand around Bentley netminder Joe Calvi, then lifted the backhand over Calvi’s blocker to make it a 2-1 lead.
Bentley took a 3-1 lead into the locker room after Cloutier’s power-play goal, but Taylor Law’s short-handed, first career goal made it 3-2 early in the 3rd. The Falcons then relied heavily on Calvi, who made 26 saves en route to the win.
“Joe really needed to stay composed, and our team fed off that,” said Soderquist. “Our team was playing very undisciplined, so we had to rely on our goaltending, and it was fortunately there.”
“We had to come out against a very good team, and we’re always looking for series wins and weekend sweeps,” said Calvi. “It means a lot to pick up the win tonight, and hopefully it can build some momentum.”
Calvi came up especially big against two point blank shots from Cory Conacher. Both times, Conacher found himself with a wide-open goal mouth from the opposite of where Calvi was standing. Both times Conacher found himself in that position with the puck. And both times Calvi made glove saves during a 3rd period Canisius dominated but mustered only five shots.
“There really isn’t any time to think about it,” said Calvi. “You just have to react and trust your instincts. I tried to get as close to (Conacher) as I could.”
For Calvi, he improved to 4-3-0 on the season. It comes on the heels of a disappointing 2009-2010 campaign where he missed extended time. “You learn to appreciate the time you have (on the ice),” he said. “Each game, I get to reflect and appreciate the time I have left. You can’t really think about what’s next, because you don’t know if there is anything after this season. So it’s just more about appreciating the time and going out there to try help the team be in a position to win the game.”
The game was the latest chapter in a budding rivalry among the Division I and Atlantic Hockey ranks. The teams have now played 12 games since the start of the 2008-2009 season, with Bentley holding a 9-3 edge. The Falcons also hold a playoff series victory in 2009, and four of the last five games have been decided by one goal. The remaining game was a 9-3 Canisius victory last December, a game that featured 28 penalties and 80 combined penalty minutes.
There were just three penalties and six penalty minutes combined in the first period, but the second and third periods devolved in a whistlefest, as referees assessed a combined 22 penalties, including 16 in the second frame. It included one game misconduct, two additional 10-minute misconducts, and one five-minute major. In contrast, there were 20 more penalty minutes combined than shots on goal (77 penalty minutes to 57 shots on goal).
Ironically, Law’s goal came on a breakaway while Canisius was defending against a five-minute major in the 3rd period. Bentley was unable to score during that penalty, just as Canisius couldn’t capitalize on an extended five-on-three power play during the second.
The Griffins and Falcons will play the second game of the weekend tilt on Sunday at 4:05 p.m.