College Hockey:
Mercyhurst wins penalty-filled affair over Bentley, 8-2

— Paul Chiasson, Jeff Terminesi, and Phil Ginand scored two goals apiece, and Ryan Zapolski stopped 33 shots as the Mercyhurst Lakers defeated the Bentley Falcons, 8-2, on Friday Night at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena.

The numbers on the scoreboard, however, were undermined by a penalty tally that totaled 26 penalties between the two clubs for 87 minutes, including 15 for 65 in the second period.

“Sometimes you have those days where the bounces go your way, and we had that day (on Friday),” said Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin.  “But the penalties were terrible.  It was a terrible game to watch, a terrible game to play, and a terrible game to coach.  We got a win, but I’m disappointed with how the game turned out.”

Mercyhurst jumped on the board first with two first period goals from Paul Ginand and Chiasson.

Ginand’s came early on a rebound in front of the net at 5:33, while Chiasson’s came off a Taylor Holstrom feed late, at 18:44.  Coincidental minor penalties marred the end of an otherwise competitive period, as the Lakers sent two men to the penalty box for roughing, while Bentley captain Dustin Cloutier also got whistled in a post-play fracas.

As the teams skated into the second frame, Chiasson potted another at 5:40.  As Mercyhurst went up 3-0, the game began to devolve.  After Grant Blakey received a quality slashing minor penalty, Joe Campanelli negated the power play with his own elbow.  When Blakey’s penalty expired, Terminesi spearheaded a power play attack that scored to take a four goal cushion.

Just past the halfway point, referees whistled seven penalties within a span of two minutes, including five on one exchange.  The end result netted 30 minutes over that same period, including two 10-minute misconducts.

However, neither team had an extra advantage until after Jamie Nudy absorbed a double minor for cross checking for Bentley and Micah Williams received a game misconduct.  At that point, Terminesi scored a 4-on-3 power-play tally to make it 6-0 after Ryan Raven had added a goal of his own at 10:16.

When the dust settled, referees assessed one game misconduct, three ten-minute misconducts, one five-minute major, a four-minute double minor, and a number of two-minute minor penalties.

“It was terrible,” said Gotkin.  “We need to go out and play our game.  Even though we scored eight goals, we need to play more effectively on the offensive end.  We need a better forecheck, and we cannot take the penalties we took.”

Continuing on the penalties, Gotkin added, “I’m not pointing any fingers.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ryan Soderquist, Charlie Carkin, and the entire Bentley staff and team.  They’re great coaches and great kids.  Sometimes the game gets emotional, though, and this will happen.  I take full responsibility for my team.”

Bentley was able to add two late goals by Dan Koudys and Nudy, but Derek Elliott answered with one of his own to end the scoring at 8-2.  Ginand earlier scored his second goal to give Mercyhurst a 7-0 lead.

For Mercyhurst, they pulled even at .500 with an 11-11-2 record (9-8 Atlantic Hockey).

The win keeps the Lakers within a point of fourth place Air Force both in the overall standings and in the ultra-competitive western scheduling pod.  Bentley dropped to 5-12-4 overall (4-9-3 Atlantic Hockey).

They remained in 10th place with Sacred Heart’s loss to Niagara, but the Falcons lost ground to Army, who defeated Robert Morris to extend the lead to three points.  The loss also ran Bentley’s winless streak to 10 games, having last won a game on November 27th against Canisius.

“We can sit back and think about how to move on and how to put it all behind us,” said Soderquist.  “But I think at this point, we need to play with the frustration of having not won in so long.  We need to think about what’s been happening, and we need to use it to skate with an edge.”

The two teams will play again on Saturday night at the JAR for a 7:05 first faceoff.

This is Bentley’s last conference game played outside of their scheduling pod, with all but one game (at UMass-Lowell) remaining against eastern divisional teams.  Mercyhurst also plays the remainder of their games after Saturday against divisional teams.

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