WATERTOWN, Mass. – Two 3rd period goals by right wing Kyle Schmidt (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Sioux City) helped Bentley defeat Sacred Heart 4-1 in Sunday night's decisive game three to advance to next weekend's Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals.
The Falcons bounced back with a strong performance after dropping Saturday's game two 2-1 in a lengthy overtime affair to eliminate the Pioneers. They will take on top seed Robert Morris next weekend in Pittsburg in the best of three quarterfinals.
In addition to scoring twice, Schmidt assisted on Bentley's first two goals for a four point night. Senior captain Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo) assisted on all four goals for a four point night as well. Bentley's other two goals came from line mate Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) in the 1st period and defenseman Tanner Jago (Brandon, Manitoba/Portage) on the power play in the 2nd period.
With Bentley holding on to a 2-1 lead late in the 3rd period, Gladiuk won the puck along the boards and fed Schmidt a pass which led to a breakaway. Schmidt didn't miss and beat SHU goalie Brett Magnus to the glove side with a wrist shot for a 3-1 lead with just 1:26 remaining.
SHU then pulled Magnus in favor of an extra-attacker, but Schmidt potted his 2nd goal to put the game away by flinging the puck on net from the neutral zone to provide the final 4-1 margin.
Sacred Heart had the game's first chance early in the 1st period, but Bentley goalie Gabe Antoni (Lansdale, Pa./Springfield) came up with a big early save, denying Justin Danforth on a breakaway. Danforth broke into the offensive after Bentley couldn't keep the puck in its own zone giving him an open run on net, but Antoni wasn't fooled by his deke move and made a blocker save.
Bentley then jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 5:27 of the opening period as French and Gladiuk teamed up for an impressive goal. Gladiuk skated across the zone and lifted a pass to French as he cut on net, and French beat Magnus for his 21st goal of the season and 100th career point.
The scored stayed that way into the 2nd period, but a big moment occurred when Sacred Heart was whistled for a five-minute major boarding penalty at the 8:29 mark. Bentley worked for nearly three minutes, and was rewarded with a goal from Jago at 11:23 after he ripped a slap shot from the blue line, through traffic and into the upper left corner of the net to give Bentley a 2-0 lead.
Sacred Heart though cut into that lead with a power play goal by right wing Jordan Minello at 17:07 of the 2nd, coming just 25 seconds into a Bentley penalty.
The score stayed 2-1 well into the 3rd period as Antoni made seven 3rd period saves as part of making 27 on the night to earn the win.