ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Last year, RIT ended Bentley’s season by taking the best of three Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals with a 3-0 shutout in the deciding game.
Bentley enacted some revenge on their first return trip to Rochester since then with their own 3-0 shutout over the Tigers. The Falcons withstood a strong first period by RIT to slowly take control of the game.
“I thought we had a good approach to the game,” Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist said. “Obviously, goaltending performed tonight. Branden Komm played phenomenally.”
Komm, from just down the New York State Thruway in Williamsville, got the whitewash with 41 saves.
“I’m from Buffalo, N.Y., so a lot of my friends and family were able to come today so it was real special,” Komm said. “I felt great. I really tried to come back from Christmas break and do a lot better than the first half. I was really happy with the way my team played out there. Great job defensively.”
Once RIT got its first of two power plays in the opening period, the Tigers controlled play with numerous chances. However, it was Bentley which came out of the period leading, 1-0, despite being outshot, 18-7.
“They got a lot of shots,” Komm said. “But our defense did a great job clearing out the net and the forwards did a great job of backchecking.”
“He did what he needed to do,” Soderquist said. “Since Christmas break, he came back strong. He’s had his third strong game in a row.”
Brett Switzer came down the right side on an odd-man rush. Neither the defense nor the goaltender challenged him, so Switzer shot a soft wrister which deflected off of Watson, sitting back on the goal line, and into the far upper corner at 18:06.
The second period saw Bentley outshoot RIT, 13-9, and outscore them, 2-0, for a commanding 3-0 lead.
It started at 10:40 when Brett Hartung, unmarked as the trailer, easily put in a fat rebound after Watson made a tough save on a strong shot from Andrew Fitzstephens.
Bentley scored three minutes later thanks to a defensive turnaround deep in the Tigers’ zone. Switzer picked up the loose puck, dropping it back to Justin Breton in the slot, who fired it past Watson.
The third period was a matter of preserving the shutout and for RIT to break it. The Tigers even pulled their goalie in the last minute, but to no avail.
“Didn’t like the way that we finished the game the last 12 minutes,” Soderquist said. “I think they dictated play the last 12 minutes and we hung on. I’m hoping for tomorrow night we show up ready to go and play hard the first period.”
Bentley and RIT face each other again Saturday night.