U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Brett Switzer scored two goals, including the game-winner in the third, as Bentley beat Air Force, 4-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Friday, Nov. 29, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force’s six-game home unbeaten streak ended as the Falcons fall to 7-5-1 overall and 4-2-0 in the AHA. Bentley improved to 5-7-0 overall and 4-2-0 in the league. Bentley, Mercyhurst and Air Force are now tied for first place in the league with eight points.
Senior forward Tony Thomas put Air Force on the board at the 9:21 mark of the first period with the help of his linemates George Michalke III and Ben Carey. After battling for the puck in the corner, Michalke III came out with the puck and fed Thomas in front for his fourth of the season (watch it here). Twenty-nine seconds later, Bentley’s Andrew Gladiuk redirected a point shot from Steve Weinstein to tie the game at 1-1 at 9:50.
Air Force regained the lead on a short-handed goal by Chad Demers midway through the second period. Jacob Musselman chipped the puck to Ryan Timar in the left circle and Timar found Demers all alone at the far blue line. Demers skated in uncontested and slid a back-hander through the five hole for his sixth of the season (watch it here). The goal was the first shortie of Demers’ career. Bentley came back to tie the game at the 13:53 mark. Alex Grieve won a faceoff and Brett Gensler took a shot that was saved. Switzer put back the rebound to tie the game.
After a series of spectacular saves by both Jason Torf and Branden Komm, it was Bentley that broke the tie. Late in the third period, Weinstein made a long outlet pass to Switzer in the neutral zone. His shot from just inside the blue line deflected off of an Air Force defenseman’s stick and snuck under the arm of Jason Torf for a 3-2 lead at 16:16. Air Force pulled its goalie with 1:43 left and Justin Breton scored an empty-netter with 34 seconds remaining.
Bentley out-shot Air Force, 34-32, in the game. Each team was 0-for-3 on the power play. Komm made 30 saves for Bentley while Torf made 30 for Air Force.
“To win, you have to deserve to win,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “The best team won tonight. Jason Torf was magnificent for us tonight. It’s too bad that one at the end went in. They had so many chances, especially early in the third period, and he made some great saves. We didn’t get a lot of penetration tonight and we had some major breakdowns. Even with all of our breakdowns, we had a chance to win the game in the third and the only reason is Torf was terrific. I like their team. I was impressed with their game and I was not impressed with ours.”
Air Force and Bentley conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 7:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena.