Air Force battles back for 4-2 win over Bentley

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WATERTOWN, Mass. Air Force scored four unanswered goals, coming from behind for a 4-2 win over Bentley in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Saturday, Feb. 10, at the John A. Ryan Arena in Watertown, Mass. The two teams split the two-game series in Bentley’s final games at the JAR.

Bentley (11-14-6 overall and 8-12-5 AHC) opened the scoring at the 7:51 mark of the first period on the rush. Ryner Gorowsky’s shot from the left side was saved, but he collected his own rebound and scored his fifth of the season. Six minutes later, Bentley took a 2-0 lead. Jake Kauppila gained the zone down the right side, made a move in front of Billy Christopoulos and netted his sixth of the season.

Air Force (15-12-4 overall, 10-10-3 AHC) cut the Bentley lead in half midway through the second period on the power play. Erik Baskin sent the puck to Matt Koch at the right point and his shot was saved. Matt Serratore was in front for the rebound, netting his 11th of the season at 12:03. Just after the goal, a five-minute major was called on Erich Jaeger, but the Falcons killed the power play while allowing just one shot. On the Bentley power play, Air Force had two quality short-handed chances by Brady Tomlak and Serratore.

Midway through the third period, the Falcons scored two goals in a span of three minutes to take their first lead of the series. On the power play, Tomlak took the puck off the back wall and then slid it through the crease to a slashing Evan Giesler. Giesler tied the game with his ninth of the season at 8:09. Three minutes later, the Falcons took their first lead of the series. Dan Bailey pulled the puck out of a scrum on the wall and set up Alex Mehnert at the left point. Mehnert’s shot through traffic found the top corner as the Falcons took a 3-2 lead at 11:22 of the third. With just under a minute left in the game, Bentley pulled its goalie and the Falcons took advantage. Tomlak found the open net from the neutral zone with 12 seconds left to seal the win. It was the first time Air Force has won a game this season when trailing after two periods.

Air Force outshot Bentley, 25-16, in the game. Air Force was 2-for-10 on the power play while Bentley was 0-for-4. Billy Christopoulos made 14 saves for the Falcons while Jayson Argue made 21 for the home team.

“We got down by two goals and had to overcome some adversity early,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “Then we had to kill a major as well. This was a tough, hard fought game. There was nothing easy about it. We played hard and our special teams responded. We didn’t give them much in this game. We needed a win like this. This team responds when its back are against the wall and they did again tonight.”

Air Force concludes the three-game road trip with a conference game against Sacred Heart, Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 12:05 pm ET, at the TD Sports Center on the campus of Quinnipiac University. This game was scheduled from Jan. 20 due to the government shutdown.