WATERTOWN, Mass. - Stephen Carew and Chad Demers each scored two goals as Air Force beat Bentley, 7-4, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday, Dec. 7 at the John A. Ryan Arena in Watertown, Mass. Air Force won for the second straight time and improved to 5-7-3 overall and 4-4-1 in the AHA. Bentley fell to 6-8 overall and 5-5 in the league.
Air Force opened the game by out-shooting Bentley, 9-2, in the first nine minutes of the game. However, an Air Force turnover in its own end led to a Bentley goal. Tyler Krause intercepted a pass behind the Air Force net and fed Dan Koudys out front. Koudys scored his fourth of the season at 9:39 of the first period. In the second half of the period, Bentley outshot Air Force, 9-4.
Air Force tied the game just over five minutes into the second period as Stephen Carew scored at the 5:28. Cole Gunner took a shot that was saved and Carew batted the puck out of the air and into the net. With 12:04 left in the second period and the score tied at 1-1, AFA defenseman Jacob Musselman was called for a major penalty for checking from behind. Short-handed on a major, Air Force took a 2-1 lead on Carew's second of the game. The short-handed goal came on a 2-on-2 rush at 8:35. Bentley tied the game at the 10:20 mark on a power-play goal from Alex Grieve. After the penalties expired, the Falcons took a 3-2 lead as Demers put back a rebound of a Tony Thomas shot at 13:39. Late in the second period, Air Force took a 4-2 lead. John Kruse skated the puck around the net and fed Demers out front for his second of the game and fifth of the season.
Bentley cut the AFA lead to 4-3 just 53 seconds into the third period as Brett Hartung redirected a shot by Steve Weinstein. The Falcons answered just over two minutes later as Cole Gunner scored on the rush as he beat a defenseman in the slot and flipped a backhander over the pad of the goaltender. His goal at 3:24 of the third period was assisted by Kyle DeLaurell and Jason Fabian. Just over three minutes later, the Falcons took a 6-3 lead. Defenseman Alex Halloran broke up an odd-man rush in the Air Force end and transitioned the puck up the ice. Demers took a shot that was saved and Tony Thomas put back the rebound at 6:29. Late in the third period, Bentley pulled its goaltender in favor of the extra skater and scored as Brett Gensler netted his ninth of the season with 33 seconds remaining. Bentley stayed with the empty-net and Air Force senior Kyle De Laurell scored his fourth of the season with 11 seconds left to make the final score 7-4.
Bentley outshot Air Force, 41-34, in the game. AFA was 0-for-1 on the power play while Bentley was 1-for-4. Jason Torf made 37 saves for Air Force. Brendan Komm started the game in goal for Bentley and made 20 saves while allowing four goals in the first two periods. Gabe Antoni played the third period for Bentley and gave up two goals while making seven saves.
"The most important thing for me is that I saw a team with a lot of energy and spirit," head coach Frank Serratore said. "We competed and played hard tonight. We beat a pretty good Bentley team and this is just what the doctor ordered for us. We had to overcome some adversity in the game. It wasn't pretty, but we did what we had to do."
Air Force and Bentley conclude the two-game league series on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET in Watertown, Mass.