WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore Jake Kauppila (Gurnee, Ill.) scored the eventual game-winning goal 4:26 into the third period on a breakaway to snap a 2-2 tie, and the Bentley hockey team went on to defeat Army West Point 4-2 to claim its first win at Bentley Arena on Saturday night.
Senior Andrew McDonald (New Brighton, Minn.) added a late empty net goal, and Tanner Jago (Brandon, Manitoba) and Luke Santerno (Smithers, B.C.) scored power goals in the first period. Sophomore goalie Aidan Pelino (Oakville, Ontario) came up with several big stops, and made 28 saves on the night to earn the win.
With the game tied 2-2, a feed from Matt Sieckhaus (St. Louis, Mo.) in the neutral zone saw Kauppila sprung for a breakaway, who deked around goalie Cole Bruns for the go-ahead goal.
Pelino and the Bentley defense, led by senior Chris Buchanan (San Jose, Calif.), kept the puck out the rest of the way, and McDonald iced it with the empty netter with nine seconds to go.
In the early going, Bentley's power play did damage in the first period as the unit accounted for both of the team's goals. Jago lit the lamp first at 8:57 of the period with a shot from the high slot that beat Bruns high and to the glove side. Senior Kyle Schmidt (Menomonee Falls, Wisc.) had the primary assist on the goal. The goal came on a 4-on-3 situation with two Army players in the box for slashing and charging.
But less than a minute later when the teams were back to full strength, the Black Knights tied it at the 9:43 mark with a goal from right wing Conor Andrle. The goal came after Pelino saved an initial shot by Blake Box, but Andrle jammed at the rebound in front of the net for the goal.
Bentley though took the lead back less than two minutes later when Santerno netted his 11th goal of the season. On the power play, Bentley took advantage again as two quick passes from Schmidt, to Jonathan Desbiens (Montreal, Quebec), then a centering pass to Santerno that he redirected past Bruns gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead.
Bentley stayed in front for most of the second period as they killed off a power play that carried over from the first period, and two other minor penalties, but Army scored on its fourth power play chance of the period with 2:00 minutes remaining. A shot from the point by defenseman Alex Wilkinson was tipped down by Dominic Franco and the deflected puck found its way into the back of the net to tie the score.
Bentley nearly went back in front just seconds later when a shot by Jago from the blue line got through traffic. Bruns never saw it, but managed to make a pad save as the puck barely did not get over the line.
In the third period, the Falcons outshot Army 11-6, and had the goals from Kauppila and McDonald see them to the finish line.
Bentley's is now off until next Saturday, when they play the final game of the regular season at home against AIC.