Air Force defeates Bentley, 4-2, as LaRocque earns first career win

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U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. Sophomore Zach LaRocque made 15 saves in his first career start and Evan Feno scored a pair of goals as Air Force defeated Bentley, 4-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Nov. 9, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force has won four straight games and improved to 5-4 overall, 5-2 in the conference.

Air Force took advantage of an early 5-on-3 opportunity to take the early lead as Feno scored at 5:47. Kyle Haak took a pass from Zach Mirageas on the goal line and set up Feno in the right circle. Later in the period, senior Evan Giesler scored his second of the season. Kieran Durgan and Alex Mehnert assisted as Giesler took the puck down the right side, cut to the net and scored from the top of the crease.

Early in the second period, Bentley (2-5-1, 2-3-1 AHC) got on the board as Luke Santerno scored from Tanner Jago at 3:54. Air Force answered on the rush. Jake Levin’s long outlet pass was right on the tape of Walker Sommer at the far blue line. Sommer skated down the left side and his shot hit the post, but it caromed off the goalie and into the net at 6:32. Bentley cut the Air Force lead to 3-2 at 10:38 on the power play. Drew Callin’s shot from the goal line went off of an Air Force skate and into the net. Jakov Novak and Luke Santerno assisted on the goal.

Late in the third period, Bentley pulled its goalie in favor of the extra attacker. Matt Koch blocked a pair of shots in the final minute, his second leading to an empty-net goal. Zach Mirageas collected a puck on the wall and chipped it to Feno, who scored the empty-netter from the circle in his own end.

Air Force outshot Bentley, 28-17, in the game. Air Force was 1-for-6 on the power play while Bentley was 1-for-4.

“I liked our effort all night,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We had good jump from the beginning. We played a really good first period, maybe our best all year. We had some turnovers that hurt us in the second period, but we came back strong in the third and found a way to win. It was great to get the win for Zach in his first start. If we can replicate that again tomorrow night, I’ll take that in a heartbeat.”

The same two teams conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:35 pm MT at the Cadet Ice Arena.