WATERTOWN, Mass. – Staring down a 5-1 deficit early in the third period, Bentley University scored five unanswered goals in a span of less than 10 minutes to take a 6-5 lead, only to eventually settle for a 6-6 tie with Sacred Heart in a pulsating encounter at Ryan Skating Arena Friday night.
The upstart Pioneers, who just earned their first win of the season on Tuesday, took a 5-1 lead 2:26 into the third period on a goal by Ben Ketchum. But in less than 10 minutes Bentley stunningly took the lead by scoring five straight times, and went ahead 6-5 when Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) put the puck in the back of the net at 13:16.
Only Sacred Heart tied the game up at 17:02 on a goal by Jared Eng to eventually send the game into overtime. In the extra session, Bentley by far had the best scoring chance as a shot by Dan Koudys (Grimsby, Ontario/Burlington Cougars) beat Sacred Heart goalie Andrew Bodnarchuk, but the puck hit the cross bar and somehow stayed out of the net as the referee was right there to rule no goal.
After Ketchum's goal gave Sacred Heart a seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead, the rally started on a goal by Jared Rickord (Skokie, Ill./Springfield Jr. Blues) at 3:37. Sophomore Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) scored at 5:24 to make it 5-3 and the comeback was on.
Soon after Switzer's goal Bentley was given a face-off in the offensive zone. Junior Alex Kubiak (Tinley Park, Ill./Chicago Steel) won the draw and played the puck back to defenseman Michael Reardon (Norwood, Mass./South Shore Kings). Reardon took a quick shot that got past Bodnarchuk and Bentley trailed just 5-4 only 23 seconds after Switzer's goal.
The tying goal by junior Justin Breton (Fitchburg, Mass./Boston Jr. Bruins) came shorthanded at 8:30. Breton knocked the puck down in the neutral zone and corralled it for a breakaway on Bodnarchuk. Breton deked to his right and lifted a backhander past the goalie to tie things up at five. That was their fourth goal in less than five minutes.
But Bentley wasn't done. The go-ahead goal came off a shot by Switzer that was denied by Bodnarchuk, but Gensler was there on the doorstep to knock it in and give the Falcons an improbable 6-5 lead at 13:16 and their fifth goal of the period.
Bentley though held the lead for less than four minutes as Eng denied them a miraculous comeback with his goal. Neither team scored during the final three minutes of regulation and the game went into overtime.
The Falcons go to 12-15-3 on the season and 10-11-3 in Atlantic Hockey, while the Pioneers go to 1-26-3 and 1-19-3 in conference play. The second game of this series is Saturday night at Sacred Heart's Milford Ice Pavilion. Face-off is 7:05 pm.