WEST POINT, N.Y. — After the first period, it looked like the game Army and Bentley was going to be a close battle.
However, Alex Grieve and the Falcons put on a scoring clinic in the second period, scoring five goals and winning the contest 6-1.
The Black Knights started the first period with hard forechecking, which put a lot of pressure on Bentley’s defense.
The forechecking was rewarded when Joe Kozlak made a quick pass from the left circle to freshman C.J. Reuschlein, who blasted a one-timer slap shot through Bentley goaltender Brandon Komm’s five hole at 4:41.
Army was able to keep the pressure up and go into the locker room with the 1-0 lead over the high-powered Falcons.
“We played well in the first period, but this is not a team you can play for just 20 minutes,” Army coach Brian Riley said. “You have to play 60 minutes against this team and we made some soft plays that led to them getting odd-man rushes. We talked about it before the game that you cant give a team like this odd-man rushes because they have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net.”
In the second period, Bentley found its offense.
Led by Grieve’s three points, Bentley scored five times to take a commanding lead going into the third period.
After Brett Gensler picked up a faceoff win from Grieve, Gensler sent a pass to Matt Blomquist, who took a booming slap shot, beating Army goaltender Tanner Creel at 8:02.
Just 50 seconds later, the Falcons were putting the pressure on again and after the first shot attempt was saved by Creel, Grieve was there to get the rebound and give Bentley a 2-1 lead.
“We had a pretty good forecheck going and I slid it over to Gensler, who slid it to Brett Switzer,” Grieve explained. “I went to the net for the rebound and was there to tap it in.”
Bentley’s third goal came from the point. After some well-designed passing, Kyle O’Brien took a slap shot that went caroming off an Army defenseman and trickled into the net at 10:40 in the period.
The Falcons did not stop there and kept the offensive pressure on Army, leading Bentley to cause a turn over that led to a fast break. This time, Jared Rickord was flying down the ice and even with a sliding Army defenseman, Rickord was able to make a pass to Tyler Deresky, who just tapped it in to put Bentley up 4-1 at 11:51.
Before the end of the period, Grieve got another, this one also coming off a rebound when Blomquist took a shot that was blocked by Creel. With Creel on his back and Grieve wide-open on the post, he easily roofed it top corner at 18:40. This was Grieve’s nineteenth goal of the season, which put him in sole possession of second in the AHA in goals.
Grieve talked about his success with his linemates after the game.
“We have a pretty good natural knack of finding each other,” Grieve said. “This is my third year playing on the same line as Switzer and Gensler, which gives us great chemistry. Other than that, we have a very strong power-play unit with good defensemen that move the puck up to us so we can contribute to each other and we are all fortunate to get to play with each other.”
The third period was rough with a lot of hitting and after some Army penalties, Bentley was able to get one more by Max French.
After the game Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist praised Grieve’s performance.
“His leadership on and off the ice has been phenomenal this year and he got a great jump on couple of goals in the second period tonight,” said Soderquist. “You need your big players to step up at big times and that line did and he did and that’s why he is one of the leaders on this team.”