WATERTOWN, Mass. – Senior Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) helped ensure there will be at least one more game this season for Bentley University. His hat trick, with two of the goals in the 3rd period, lifted the Falcons to a 5-2 win over Sacred Heart in game two of the Atlantic Hockey first round Saturday night and to force a decisive game three on Sunday night.
Bentley led 2-1 after two periods, but a Sacred Heart goal by left wing Jeff Carroll just 1:12 into the 3rd period knotted the game 2-2. However, the Falcons scored three unanswered to secure a 5-2 victory. It will be the second straight year Bentley and Sacred Heart will play a deciding third game in the first round of the postseason.
Junior Kyle Schmidt (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Sioux City) scored what would be the game-winner at the 11:28 mark. The goal was setup with a shot from close range by center Ryan McMurphy (Broken Arrow, Okla./Tri-City) that SHU goalie Brett Magnus turned away. Schmidt though pounced on the loose rebound and poked it past Magnus for a 3-2 lead.
Bentley held on to the lead for the next seven-plus minutes, with goalie Jayson Argue (Swan River, Manitoba/Nanaimo) coming up with several big saves among his 30 total on the night.
Under the two minute mark, French rifled in his 2nd of the night to put the Falcons up 4-2. Freshman Ryner Gorowsky (Lino Lakes, Minn./Fairbanks) got the play started with a pass from behind the net to Schmidt in the slot. Schmidt then fed a short centering pass to French, who ripped a shot past Magnus top shelf.
Magnus was then pulled with 1:20 left as SHU tried to cut into the lead. However, French won a defensive zone face-off, and slid the puck the length of the ice into the empty net with 31 seconds left to provide the final 5-2 margin, and for his 3rd goal of the night.
In the early going, SHU led 1-0 after the first period on a goal by right wing Vito Bavaro. But Bentley scored twice in the 2nd period. French scored his first of the night at 6:39. Less than a minute later, defenseman Chris Buchanan (San Jose, Calif./Fargo) scored with a shot from the blue line, after French won an offensive zone face-off.
Game three tomorrow night will get started at 7:05 pm.