BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Bentley and Sacred Heart combined for four goals over the final 3:18 of the 3rd period, but it was the Pioneers that emerged with a 3-2 victory over the Falcons to gain a series split.
The action started with Sacred Heart clinging to a 1-0 lead late in the 3rd period, and Bentley had just killed off a 5-on-3 Sacred Heart power play that lasted for 1:11.
Just as the penalty was expiring, Bentley created its best scoring chance of the night to that point on the other end of the ice. A breakout by defenseman Mike Berry (Edmonton, Alberta/Sherwood) saw him rip a slap shot on goalie Brett Magnus that was saved, and a follow-up attempt by Andrew McDonald (New Brighton, Minn./Fargo) was also denied.
Quickly back down the ice, Sacred Heart wound up scoring through left wing Evan Jasper with 3:18 remaining to take a 2-0 lead.
That seemed to put the Pioneers in control, but just 33 seconds later, defenseman Alexey Solovyev (Moscow, Russia/Lone Star) kept Bentley alive with a goal. Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) had the puck on the left wing, and fed a pass to Solovyev as he entered the offensive zone. Solovyev walked in and ripped a wrist shot past Magnus to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 2:45 to go.
After Solovyev's goal, Bentley goalie Aidan Pelino (Oakville, Ontario/Chilliwack), who had another solid game with 31 saves, was pulled for an extra-attacker. Sacred Heart was then called for an interference penalty with 1:41 left, which gave Bentley a 6-on-4 advantage to try to score the tying goal.
Bentley had the puck deep in its offensive zone, but Sacred Heart's Mitch Nylen gained control of it behind the net. His attempted clear banked off the boards and slid all the way into Bentley's empty net to give SHU a 3-1 lead with 1:13 left.
The Falcons weren't done yet though. Still with the 6-on-4 advantage, sophomore Drew Callin (Middleton, Wisc./Janesville) scored with 50 seconds left to make it a 3-2 game.
That however, was the final twist as SHU was able to hang on the rest of the way to split the series.
The defeat drops Bentley's Atlantic Hockey record to 10-11-5 for 25 points. They'll enter the final series of the regular season against Holy Cross just one point out of a first round bye.