WATERTOWN, Mass. – Bentley University and Air Force played to a 2-2 tie Saturday night to close out the first half of the season. Junior Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) tallied his 100th career point with one goal and one assist, and sophomore goalie Blake Dougherty (East Amherst, N.Y./Bay State Breakers) made 28 saves in his first career start.
With Bentley trailing 2-1 in the later stages of the second period, a goal by junior Jared Rickord (Skokie, Ill./Springfield Jr. Blues) tied the game up at 14:01 with the teams skating 4-on-4. Gensler fed Rickord a pass on the doorstep of the goal and Rickord slammed it in. That assist was Gensler's 100th point.
That was the final goal of the game as both Dougherty and Air Force's Jason Torf played well down the stretch. Bentley outshot Air Force 11-9 in the third period and 5-1 in overtime, but Torf kept the puck out. Dougherty made 10 saves over the final 25 minutes to Torf's 16.
Bentley had a power play opportunity late in regulation when Air Force's Chad Demers was called for a tripping penalty with 24 seconds left, giving Bentley's dangerous power play a chance to find the winning goal either in regulation or overtime, but Air Force's penalty kill prevented a goal.
The visitors grabbed an early 1-0 lead 5:08 into the first period on senior Stephen Carew's third goal of the series. Carew took a shot on Dougherty's near post that he got his body on, but the puck squirted through after he made the initial stop to give Air Force the early advantage.
But just 45 seconds later Bentley tied it up on Gensler's team-leading 10th goal of the season. The puck came free to Bentley's Matt Maher (Avon, Conn./Westside Warriors) in the neutral zone, and he fed Gensler a pass down the right wing to spring him loose for a breakaway. Gensler wound up in the right face-off circle and blasted a slap shot past Torf for the goal.
Air Force took a 2-1 lead at 9:02 of the second period on a goal by senior defenseman Mike Walsh. Demers won a face-off in Air Force's offensive zone and played the puck back to Demers on the blue line, who beat Dougherty with a long-range shot.
Bentley finishes the first half of the season with a record of 6-8-1 overall and 5-5-1 in Atlantic Hockey. Air Force finishes its first half at 5-7-4 overall and 4-4-2 in the conference.
Bentley is now off for more than three weeks. They return to action on Dec. 30 when they face UMass-Lowell of Hockey East at Tsongas Arena. Game time for that matchup is scheduled for 4:00 pm.