U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. Four different Falcons scored to lead Air Force to a 4-2 win over Bentley in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Friday, Nov. 8, at the Cadet Ice Arena.
Air Force (2-7-0, 2-3-0 AHA) scored first for the second straight game. Freshman defenseman Brandon Koch sent the puck down low and Kieran Durgan won a battle in the corner. Durgan spun behind the net and set up Matt Pulver at the bottom of the left circle. Pulver netted his team-leading fifth of the season and Koch picked up his first career assist at 3:31. With five seconds left in the period, Bentley forward Jake Kauppila was called for a major penalty for contact to the head for a hit on Falcon winger Joe Tyran, giving the Falcons a five-minute power play.
The Falcons had five shots on the five-minute power-play at the beginning of the second period but were unable to convert. However, later in the period, Jake Levin drew a boarding penalty on Jonathan Desbiens and the Falcons capitalized. Set up in the zone, the Falcons initially lost control of the puck, but Levin intercepted a clear attempt and netted his first of the season from the left circle at 13:21.
Early in the third period, Bentley scored two power-play goals to tie the game. On a 5-on-3, Bentley’s Will Garin scored from the left circle 53 seconds into the period. Just 76 seconds later, Bentley scored on the ensuing 5-on-4. Brett Orr’s shot was deflected into the air and it landed behind Air Force goalie Alex Schilling. Michael Zuffante cleaned up the rebound in the crease at 2:09. Air Force responded four minutes later with the eventual game-winner. Carter Ekberg’s shot was redirected in the slot by Marshall Bowery. Freshman Willie Reim punched the puck in for his first career goal at 6:08. With under a minute remaining, Bentley pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. Senior Brady Tomlak took a pass from Durgan and scored his fourth of the season with nine seconds left.
Air Force out-shot Bentley, 37-26, in the game. Sophomore Alex Schilling earned his second career win in his second career start by making 24 saves. Aidan Pelino made 33 for Bentley. AF was 1-for-4 on the power play while Bentley was 2-for-3.
“We played Air Force hockey in spurts tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “They have more skill, but had legs and heart. That is our game. We are fore-checking team and we have to embrace that. The penalty we killed in the third period was huge for us. You can’t teach that. You either have it or you don’t. Alex Schilling had to make some timely saves for us tonight. He was fantastic.”
Air Force and Bentley conclude the two-game league series on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 7:05 pm at the Cadet Ice Arena.