WATERTOWN, Mass. – Bentley scored four times in the second period, and forced a decisive game three Sunday night by beating Mercyhurst 5-3 in game two of the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals Saturday night at the JAR. Freshman Kyle Schmidt (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Sioux City) had a hat trick.
Bentley trailed 1-0 after the first period, but scored three times in the first 3:57 of the second period to take command. The Falcons controlled the first period and outshot Mercyhurst 15-8, but conceded a goal to Chris Bodo just 25 seconds before intermission to put them in a 1-0 hole.
But Bentley quickly erased the deficit and gained back the momentum as captain Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside) scored just 1:16 into the second frame on a shot from outside the right face-off circle.
Bentley then went on the power play after a roughing penalty on forward Kyle Just, and the Falcons took advantage on a Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) goal at 2:17 for a 2-1 lead. Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo) had an initial shot on net that was saved by Mercyhurst goalie Brandon Wildung, but French was there in front of the net to jam home the rebound.
Bentley briefly thought they had taken a 3-1 lead after Grieve crashed the net after a shot by Schmidt, only for it overturned on a review after the officials deemed it was kicked in. But that didn't deter the Falcons, as Schmidt scored his first of the night just seconds later at 3:57 from defensemen Matt Maher (Avon, Conn./Westside) and Chris Buchanan (San Jose, Calif./Fargo) to make it 3-1.
Schmidt scored his second of the period at 11:59 to give Bentley a 4-1 lead, and that spelled the end of the night for Wildung. It was the second time this season Bentley has scored four goals in a period.
Bentley went into the third period leading 4-1, but Mercyhurst got back in it with a power play goal, as Just blasted a shot from the left face-off circle over the glove of Jayson Argue (Swan River, Manitoba/Nanaimo) and into the top-corner, which made it a 4-2 game at 6:10 of the third.
Despite being outshot in the third, Argue and the Bentley defense kept it a 4-2 game. Mercyhurst pulled goalie Spencer Bacon with 2:45 remaining for an extra-attacker, but Bentley took advantage with an empty goal by Schmidt for his hat trick. After making an interception, Schmidt fired a shot from the defensive zone into the back of the net to make it 5-2 at 18:24.
Argue made 26 saves to earn the win.
The deciding game three will be Sunday night at 7:05 from Ryan Arena.