NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Bentley nearly rallied from 4-1 down in the 3rd period at Niagara, but the Purple Eagles held on for a 6-4 victory over the visiting Falcons Friday night in the opener of an Atlantic Hockey series.
Junior Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) fired in two straight goals at 3:47 and 8:27 of the 3rd to get Bentley back in it, down just 4-3. The goals were his 8th and 9th of the season in just 10 games.
Niagara's Sam Rennaker though scored the key goal less than two minutes after French's 2nd goal to give the Purple Eagles some breathing room with a 5-3 lead.
Bentley made it a one goal game again on a strike by sophomore Kyle Schmidt (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Sioux City) at 14:34. Taking a pass from French, he skated in to the slot and shot around a Niagara defender top shelf past goalie Joe O'Brien.
That's as close as Bentley could get though. With the team's net empty, Niagara iced it with an empty-net goal by T.J.Sarcona with 48 seconds left.
Niagara led 2-0 after the 1st period on goals by sophomore Derian Plouffe just 1:26 apart towards the end of the period. The second of which came on the power play with just three seconds remaining in the period.
Senior Derek Bacon (Calgary, Alberta/Okotoks) scored his 2nd goal of the season for Bentley in the 2nd period, as they trailed 3-1 heading into the final period.
Bentley's Atlantic Hockey record drops to 4-3-1 with the defeat. They'll look to split the series tomorrow night at 7:05.