WATERTOWN, Mass. – Sacred Heart scored four goals in less than five minutes in the third period, turning a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead as the Pioneers eliminated Bentley University from the Atlantic Hockey Tournament with a 6-3 victory Saturday night at Ryan Skating Arena.
Bentley led 3-1 after two periods on the strength of two goals by Dustin Cloutier (Berkley, Mich./Mahoning Valley Phantoms).
However, with a little more than 12 minutes remaining in the game the wheels began to fall off, starting with Evan Mladenoff's second goal of the night at 7:54 that cut Bentley's lead to 3-2.
The turning point of the game came less than three minutes later when Matt Gingera scored the first of his three third period goals at 10:41 to tie the contest up.
Perhaps still stunned at allowing the tying goal, Bentley allowed another one just nine seconds later off the ensuing face-off, as a Ben Ketchum shot off the shoulder of goalie Joe Calvi (New Lenox, Ill./New England Jr. Huskies) gave the Pioneers the lead for good at 4-3.
Gingera added to Sacred Heart's lead with his second at 12:24, and he completed the natural hat trick with an empty- net goal with 23 seconds remaining, completing a stunning five-goal period.
The first period ended in a 1-1 tie on goals by Cloutier and Mladenoff, but Bentley dominated the second period. They outshot Sacred Heart 19-5 and took a 3-1 lead on goals by Cloutier and Jamie Nudy (West Chester, Pa./Choate Rosemary Hall). Pioneers goalie Olivier St. Onge did well to limit the damage though, making 17 saves in the period and keeping it a two-goal deficit.
Bentley's power play, which began to turn the corner over the final month of the season after a rough start, came back to haunt them in this game by going 0-7, including 0-5 over the last two periods.
The Falcons finish the season at 10-18-6, while Sacred Heart improves to 6-23-6 and will play Air Force in the quarterfinals.
At Watertown, Mass
Atlantic Hockey Tournament First Round
Sacred Heart (6-23-6) 1 0 5 -- 6
Bentley (10-18-6) 1 2 0 -- 3
3rd Period: SH, Mladenoff (Mitchell Stretch, Olivier St. Onge) 7:54;SH, Matt Gingera (Eric Delong, Torin Snydeman) 10:41; SH, Ben Ketchum (David Berube, Chad Filteau) 10:50; SH, Gingera (Snydeman, Delong) 12:24; SH, EN Gingera (St. Onge, Chris Brown)
Shots: B, 45; SH, 28
Saves: B, Joe Calvi 22; SH, Olivier St. Onge 42
Penalties: B, 4-8; SH, 7-14
Power Plays: B, 0-7; SH, 1-4