ERIE, Pa. – The Bentley hockey team claimed a 3-2 road victory over Mercyhurst Friday night in the series opener between the two teams after holding off a late rally from the Lakers. Three different Falcons scored, and freshman goalie Jayson Argue (Swan River, Manitoba/Nanaimo) stopped 24 shots.
The Falcons, who improve to 10-7-3 in Atlantic Hockey play, received goals from defenseman Steve Weinstein (Los Angeles, Calif./Vernon), junior Michael Reardon (Norwood, Mass./South Shore Kings) and freshman Ryan McMurphy (Broken Arrow, Okla./Tri-City). Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo) and Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) each had two assists.
The first period ended scoreless with the Falcons holding a 9-6 advantage in shots. Bentley helped the cause by killing off two Mercyhurst power plays in the first in the first five-plus minutes.
The action picked up in the second period after the Lakers took a cross checking penalty just 27 seconds in. Bentley got on the board with a power play goal a little over a minute into the penalty from Weinstein, his third goal of the season from Gladiuk and French.
Bentley then made it 2-0 a little under two minutes later at 3:11 on a goal by Reardon. Reardon took an initial shot on net that went wide of goalie Brandon Wildung and off the glass. Only the puck bounced right back to Reardon, who followed his shot and beat Wildung to the spot to put the Falcons up 2-0.
The Falcons killed off another Mercyhurst power play, helped by Argue making a great save on his back.
McMurphy pushed the lead to 3-0 with his fourth goal of the season at 11:51 of the second frame. After taking a pass from French, Gladiuk found McMurphy in front of the net, who backhanded a shot past Wildung for the goal.
Bentley took that lead into the third period and held on to it past the halfway point, but Mercyhurst was given a 5-on-3 power play opportunity after two penalties were called on the Falcons 48 seconds apart, starting at the 12:12 mark. The Falcons, who had killed off the first three Lakers power plays of the night, couldn't stop this one as sophomore Kyle Dutra scored 40 seconds into the two-man advantage to make the score 3-1.
The Falcons appeared to be in position to salt the game away after going on the power play themselves with 2:17 remaining. But Mercyhurst pulled its goalie Wildung to make it 5-on-5, and they received a goal from senior Zac Frischmon with 1:30 left to make it a one goal game at 3-2.
With time still left on the power play, Bentley was able to keep control of the puck in its offensive zone to take time off the clock. Though Mercyhurst had possession of the puck for the final 20 seconds in its offensive zone, Bentley kept the puck out to hold on for the victory.
The Falcons will go for the series sweep in the second game of this series tomorrow night. Face off is 7:05 pm.