Air Force falls at Bentley, 4-3, in overtime

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WALTHAM, Mass. Brendan Hamblet scored at 2:03 of overtime to lift Bentley to a 4-3 win over Air Force in an Atlantic Hockey Conference game Friday, Feb. 1, at Bentley Arena in Waltham, Mass. Bentley (11-11-3, 10-7-2 AHC) extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2), tied as the longest in the nation. Air Force fell to 13-10-4 overall and 11-6-3 in the league.

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for four goals in the first three minutes of the second period. Late in the first, Evan Giesler drew a penalty and the Falcons capitalized early in the second.

After winning the opening faceoff, Evan Feno’s shot from the top of the left circle was saved, but Kieran Durgan put back the rebound just 23 seconds into the second period. Durgan is tied for the team lead with 11 goals this season.

Bentley tied the game 23 seconds later on the rush as Luke Santerno’s centering pass was tapped in by Ryner Gorowsky on the weak side. Air Force won the ensuing center ice faceoff and Trevor Stone collected a loose puck and scored his eighth of the season 52 seconds into the second period. The two Air Force goals came in a span of 29 seconds.

Bentley tied the game at 2:45 of the second period on a 2-on-2 rush. Will Schlagenhauf beat a Falcon defenseman at the blue line and set up Michael Suffante for his sixth of the season.

Midway through the third period, on the power play, Giesler gave the Falcons a 3-2 lead from Kyle Haak and Durgan. Bentley tied the game with 2:18 remaining. Jonathan Desbiens scored on Drew Callin’s pass from behind the net. Late in the third period, a penalty was called on Falcon Zach Mirageas and Bentley had a power play. The Falcons killed 30 seconds of Bentley’s power play in regulation and 90 seconds early in overtime.

After returning to even strength, Gorowsky made a pass from the left circle and Hamblet scored on the back door at 2:03 of overtime for the 4-3 victory.

Bentley outshot Air Force, 27-23. Air Force was 2-for-7 on the power play while Bentley was 0-for-6. Billy Christopoulos made 23 saves for the Falcons while Aiden Pelino made 20 for Bentley.

“This is a tough one to take,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We worked so hard. We scored two power-play goals and our penalty was really good tonight. Give Bentley credit. They came from behind on us. We have to find a way to win these games. The big question for us right now is ‘Are we good enough?’ We are looking at these final series like playoff series for the rest of the season. Saturday night we face elimination. That’s our approach.”

The same two teams conclude the series Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7:05 pm ET at Bentley Arena.