Two spectacular goaltending performances dominated the game between the Bentley Falcons (5-4-1) and the RIT Tigers (3-5-2). Falcons goaltender Ray Jean made 37 saves while Tigers netminder turned away 32 shots at his end of the ice. A breakaway goal by Dain Prewitt for Bentley 2:58 in to overtime was the difference as the Falcons skated away with a 3-2 victory.
“We had a lot of good opportunities, but sometimes going for it all leads to it going the other way, especially in overtime,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “We took too many chances to generate offense. Bentley played a very patient game and deserved to win tonight.”
The flow of the first period was choppy, broken up by one whistle after another for icing, offsides, and a parade of players to the penalty box.
Despite seven power plays combined for the two teams, only RIT was able to convert on one of its opportunities.
The Tigers were putting good pressure within the Bentley zone when the puck squirted out to Dan Ringwald at the top of the slot. Ringwald had time to wait for Matt Smith to park himself just to the right of the Falcons crease. Smith tried to one time the puck, but Bentley goaltender Ray Jean blocked the deflection. Smith swatted at the rebound and the puck evaded Jean for the RIT power play goal at 3:45.
The two teams exchanged power plays throughout the remainder of the first period, spending little time with both squads at full strength. But despite each team having several good chances the period ended with RIT holding a 1-0 lead.
Bentley came out with a jump in the second period and took the play to the Tigers. The Falcons were able to apply steady pressure within the RIT zone and it paid off at the midway point of the stanza with a pair of goals off of defensive breakdowns by the Tigers.
Pat Percella scored Bentley’s first goal at 10:18 when he found himself alone at the left side of the net. Percella collected the puck and flipped the puck over RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond to tie the score 1-1.
Less than four minutes later, Jeff Gumaer received a long breakout pass at center ice and made a great individual move around a Tiger defenseman at the RIT blueline. Gumaer broke in to the RIT zone on a clean breakaway and lifted the puck high over Guimond’s should to give Bentley a 2-1 lead at 14:02.
The only time during the second period that RIT was able to exert sustained offensive pressure was during a pair of power plays, one early and one late in the period. Falcons netminder came up with a pair of great saves to deny RIT on the first power play, but a puck deflected past him on the Tigers second power play at 18:10 to tie the game at 2-2. Simon Lambert was credited with the goal, even though the puck deflected in to the back of the net off the leg of a Bentley defenseman.
The goaltenders put on a show in the third period, each making several spectacular saves sprinkled in amongst the more routine work to keep the game knotted 2-2. Perhaps the best save came with just a minute to go in the period when Jean made a lunging save across the crease while an RIT player was falling across him knocking his goaltender’s helmet off.
Bentley’s Anthony Canzoneri had a semi-breakaway chance just twenty five seconds in to overtime but Guimond steered the puck harmlessly to the back boards.
RIT had a chance of its own just a minute later when a sloppy Bentley line change turned in to a 3-on-1 breakaway for the Tigers. But Anton Kharin chipped the puck over the net and play continued.
Dain Prewitt caught a high flip pass forward to go in on another breakaway midway through the overtime. Prewitt evaded a pursuing RIT defender and slid the puck past Guimond for the game winning goal at the 2:58 mark.