Waltham, Mass. – Mercyhurst junior forward Jack Riley scored the tie breaking goal with 3:21 remaining in the 3rd period, and they held off Bentley late to take a 3-2 victory over the Falcons on Saturday night at Bentley Arena.
The Falcons fought back from an early 2-0 deficit in the first period with goals by sophomore Michael Zuffante (Bloomingdale, Ill.) late in the opening period, and senior captain Tanner Jago (Brandon, Manitoba) midway through the 2nd period.
Riley's late goal though was the difference.
Bentley held a 30-27 edge in shots on the night, forcing 28 saves out of Lakers goalie Stefano Cantali.
Mercyhurst got off to a quick 2-0 lead as senior center Derek Barach scored both goals, giving him five goals in a row going back to Friday's game. He scored just 50 seconds in, and then scored again on the power play at 3:14 to put them up 2-0.
Later in the period though, Bentley used a power play chance of its own to halve its deficit, as Zuffante scored his 5th goal of the season at 17:38. A shot from the left point by Jago went over the net and off the glass, and Zuffante was positioned in front of the net to redirect the rebound on the near post for the goal.
Bentley's special teams defined the 2nd period as they evened the score 2-2. Jago netted his 4th goal of the season on the power play at 7:36 to tie the game. After taking a pass from Jonathan Desbiens (Montreal, Quebec), Jago fired a shot from the left corner over Cantali's shoulder for the goal.
With the period winding down Bentley was called for two penalties on the same play to give the Lakers a two minute 5-on-3 power play. But excellent work on the penalty kill by Ryner Gorowsky (Lino Lakes, Minn.), Alexey Solovyevy (Moscow, Russia) and Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) and goalie Aidan Pelino (Oakville, Ontario) killed it off with a succession of blocks and saves to keep the score tied going into the 3rd period.
Most of the 3rd period was played evenly, until the Lakers got the eventual game-winner from Riley with just 3:21 remaining. Pelino made the initial save on a shot from the left wing, but the puck took a funny bounce and in on the rebound to give them the go-ahead goal.
Bentley sent the extra-attacker on for the final 58 seconds had a good look on net from Jago as time expired. A slap shot from the left point clanged off the crossbar and just barely stayed out of the net.
The Falcons will now close out the first half of the season on Tuesday at Bentley Arena, when they host the Harvard Crimson. Puck drop will be at 7:05 pm.