WATERTOWN, Mass. – Mercyhurst erased a 2-0 deficit over the final 7:48, and scored the winner with 5.5 seconds left to stun Bentley and advance to the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals with a 3-2 win in game three of the Quarterfinals Sunday night at the JAR.
The Falcons appeared to be in control leading 2-0 after a first period goal by defenseman Matt Blomquist (Blaine, Minn./Coulee Region) and a third period goal by Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo) at 3:23.
Bentley held that lead for just under nine minutes, until the Lakers turned the tide with two goals in just 14 seconds. Mercyhurst captain Matthew Zay got the first one at 12:12, and off a face-off win, senior Chris Bodo found the back of the net at 12:26 to tie it 2-2.
With the game appeared headed to overtime, Mercyhurst pulled the stunner as senior Nardo Nagtzaam scored with just 5.5 seconds left with a shot from the near post.
Gladiuk appeared to have given Bentley an insurance goal as he buried his 20th goal of the season from the left wing, after senior Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove) feathered over a cross-ice pass after a break down the ice.
Bentley took a 1-0 lead at 5:25 of the first period on Blomquist's goal, assisted by Gladiuk and Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon). Blomquist took the first shot on net that was saved by Mercyhurst goalie Brandon Wildung, but the rebound bounced right back to him. After gathering the puck, Blomquist fired again and lasered the puck under Wildung's arm for the goal.
Bentley outshot Mercyhurst 16-9 in the first period, but could not add to their advantage the rest of the period. Both teams had their chances on the power play, but both teams went 0-4.
Bentley started the second period on a 30 second 5-on-3 advantage but came up empty. They had the best chance of the period as Gladiuk saucered a pass to Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) on a break down the ice, only for French to be denied by Wildung as he slid across the crease.
Six more penalties were called in the second period, resulting in Bentley going 0-3 on the power play and the Lakers 0-1.
Wildung made 35 saves for the win, while his counterpart Jayson Argue (Swan River, Manitoba/Nanaimo) stopped 32 Mercyhurst shots.
The Lakers advance to next weekend's Atlantic Hockey Semifinals, while Bentley's season comes to an end at 17-15-5.