Bentley remains undefeated at RIT’s new rink with 5-2 win

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Bentley University will open its new on-campus rink in two weeks, but Falcons sophomore Jonathan Desbiens would be fine with playing more games at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Gene Polisseni Center.

In four career games at the Polisseni Center, Desbiens has seven goals, including one tonight to help the Falcons to a 5-2 win over RIT to complete the road sweep of the Tigers.

Not to be outdone was senior Kyle Schmidt, who recorded his second career hat-trick. His first two goals came in the first five minutes of the contest, staking the Falcons (10-13-6) to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“It feels good, but four points on the road against a team that we are pretty tight with in the standings feels better,” said Schmidt, who scored his 50th career goal last Saturday. “We had some great players make great plays.”

Schmidt’s only other hat trick came late in his rookie season on Feb. 14, 2015, against Mercyhurst. Since then, he’s had eight two-goal games.

“He’s been a pretty amazing player for us for four years,” said Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist. “He’s a consistent player. He’s been a leader, and coming on strong down the stretch as a senior is very important for us.”

Schmidt’s first of the game came just 40 seconds into the contest when he took a headman pass from Luke Santerno and beat RIT goaltender Ian Andriano from in close.

It was 2-0 about four minutes later when Schmidt’s blast from the right faceoff circle pinged in off the far post.

“Getting down two goals early, we lost a lot of confidence,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “We couldn’t make plays. They had a pretty simple game plan, but we couldn’t put pressure on them.

“Give Bentley all the credit. They deserved the two wins.”

The Tigers (10-15-2) got on the scoreboard in the closing minutes of the first period on a great individual effort by Shawn Cameron for his fourth goal of the season. Cameron broke down the right side and put a backhander high over Bentley goaltender Aiden Pelino to make it 2-1.

However, Desbiens turned the momentum back in Bentley’s favor just 38 seconds later, putting home a rebound off a shot from Ryner Gorowsky for his 10th of the season, third of the weekend, and seventh in four games at the Polisseni Center.

“I’ll take it”, said Desbiens. “(The Polisseni Center) is a good place to play, good atmosphere. The student section gets you going.”

The Falcons extended their lead to 5-1 on Drew Callins’ second-period goal and Schmidt’s third of the game at 10:40 of the third period.

RIT closed out the scoring late in the third on a power-play goal by junior Gabe Valenzuela, his seventh of the season.

Andriano made 22 saves in the loss, while Pelino stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced, including an acrobatic save on RIT’s Erik Brown in the third period.

“(Pelino’s) one of the guys who has been battling sickness,” said Desbiens. “He flew in yesterday to back up (Jayson Argue). A lot of credit (goes) to him, rallying to get himself ready to go.”

The Falcons are counting the days until they move into their new on-campus rink. They’ll host Air Force next weekend for their final games at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena before hosting Army West Point at the new rink on Feb. 16-17.

Although, playing more games at the Polisseni Center probably wouldn’t hurt. It’s not just Desbiens that plays well there —- Bentley improved to 6-0 at RIT since the Tigers moved into their new building four years ago.

“We’ve been fortunate in this arena,” said Soderquist. “It’s a long commute, though.”

But there’s no place like home, especially a new home.

“We’ve been waiting on the new rink since Christmas,” said Desbiens. “It’s going to be super nice.”