WATERTOWN, Mass. – Junior Brett Switzer (Calgary, Alberta/Spruce Grove Saints) scored just 40 seconds into overtime to cap a thrilling comeback as Bentley defeated Canisius 4-3 in game one of the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals Friday night at Ryan Arena.
Trailing 3-2 late in the third period Bentley was staring down a 1-0 deficit in the best-of-three series. But with the Falcon net empty and an extra-attacker on the ice, senior Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) scored a dramatic late equalizer with just 23 seconds left on the clock, snapping a wrist shot from the right dot past Canisius goalie Tony Capobianco.
It took Bentley just 40 seconds to score the winner in overtime, as Switzer finished off a break down the ice with Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors) and Gensler getting the assists.
Senior goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) made 27 saves to earn the victory, with 17 coming in the second period that Canisius dominated.
The Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead after just 8:48 of the first period on goals by Grieve on the power play, and sophomore Derek Bacon (Calgary, Alberta/Okotoks Oilers).
Grieve's goal, the first of three points on the night for him, came after he tipped in a shot from the blue line by defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers). The goal was his 23rd of the season and came at 2:46 of the opening period.
Bacon put Bentley up 2-0 after he corralled a loose puck and flipped a backhand shot past Capobianco at 8:48. Sophomore Michael Reardon (Norwood, Mass./South Shore Kings) and senior Andrew Fitzstephens (Schoolcraft, Mich./Bay State Breakers) had the assists.
But Canisius began to fight back with a goal from senior forward Patrick Sullivan at 13:46 of the first to cut Bentley's lead to 2-1.
The Griffs dominated the second period and outshot Bentley 17-9, but Komm kept the Falcons in front with some stellar goaltending and the score remained 2-1 into the third period.
However Canisius kept the pressure going in the third and finally broke through as junior Tyler Wiseman netted the tying goal at 3:39. Just two minutes later, Sullivan put Canisius ahead with his second of the night after he jammed in a loose puck in front of the net.
After taking the lead, Canisius packed it in defensively and didn't allow Bentley any quality scoring chances. But with 55 seconds left Komm was pulled for the extra-attacker, and Gensler scored the dramatic tying goal with 23 ticks on the clock.
These same two teams are back at it Saturday in game two of the series.