OMAHA, Neb. – It wasn't decided until the final seconds, but Nebraska-Omaha came away with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the Bentley hockey team in the series finale Saturday night at the CenturyLink Center.
The Falcons trailed 3-2 after two periods, but could not crack UNO freshman goalie Kirk Thompson for the tying goal in the third period. Bentley senior goalie Branden Komm (Williamsville, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon) did his part throughout the night with 16 third period saves, and 35 on the night.
Bentley's efforts to score the tying goal in the third were hampered by spending almost five straight minutes in the middle part of the period on the penalty kill, but they were able to keep UNO off the scoreboard during that time.
The Mavericks finally sealed the win on an empty-net goal by junior Josh Archibald with 31 seconds remaining.
As was the case in Friday's 6-4 win Bentley scored first on this night, with junior Alex Grieve (Calgary, Alberta/Westside Warriors) scoring his second goal of the series at 12:50 of the first, set up by defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon Vipers), who had two assists on the night. After a UNO turnover in the neutral zone Weinstein advanced down the left wing, made a move around a Mavericks defender and hit Grieve who was cutting across the crease for the goal.
UNO though tied the game at one just before the first period buzzer sounded, with senior forward Brock Montpetit getting the goal off a rebound.
The Mavericks took their first lead of the series at 2-1 just 1:36 into the second period on a goal by junior Dominic Zombo. But following Zombo's goal, UNO was quickly called for two penalties, giving the Falcons a lengthy two-man power play opportunity. And the Falcons did not let that opportunity go to waste as sophomore Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo Clippers) scored his first of the year at 4:28.
Senior forward Brett Gensler (St. Charles, Mo./Youngstown Phantoms) found Gladiuk with a cross-ice pass on the left face-off dot, and Gladiuk beat Thompson to the glove side with a wrist shot that went in under the crossbar.
However the Mavericks took the lead back at 3-2 on freshman Jake Guentzel's goal at 6:55 as he beat Komm with a wrist shot, while using a Bentley defenseman as a screen.
That was the last goal of the game until Archibald's empty-net goal.
Bentley drops to 1-1 on the season. They have a quick turnaround with their next game Wednesday night at Sacred Heart for the Atlantic Hockey opener.