West Point, N.Y. – Bentley goaltender Aidan Pelino (Oakville, Ontario) made 33 saves, and Brendan Hamblet (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Will Garin (Mound, Minn.) scored goals in the 3rd period for a 2-1 road win over Army West Point on Friday night. The win clinches home-ice advantage for the Falcons in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals.
Bentley came into the game having already clinched a bye to the quarterfinals, and needed either one win or tie this weekend to ensure home-ice, and they locked that up tonight. With 33 points, they can finish as co-regular season champions with AIC, with a win tomorrow and an AIC loss to Sacred Heart.
The game was scoreless after two periods as Pelino and Army's Matt Penta were on top of their games, as both came up with several big saves throughout the first 40 minutes.
But Bentley finally got the breakthrough 4:20 into the 3rd period on Hamblet's 9th goal of the season, which was assisted by Drew Callin (Middleton, Wisc.) and defenseman Ethan Roswell (Paradise Valley, Ariz.).
Just over three minutes later an elbowing penalty on Army gave Bentley a power play, and they cashed in as Garin scored at the 8:28 mark for a 2-0 lead. Callin had the primary assist again, this time firing a cross-ice pass to Garin in the left face-off circle, who then one-timed the pass top shelf past Penta for his 6th goal of the season.
Army made it a one goal game in the latter stages of the 3rd period with a goal by right winger Mason Krueger at 16:58. Penta was pulled for an extra-attacker with 1:30 left and Bentley kept the pressure on until the dying seconds, until Pelino was called on to make one last save on Brendan Soucie as time expired.
The Falcons improved to 16-13-4 overall, and 15-9-3 in Atlantic Hockey with the win. These two teams will close out the regular season tomorrow night, with the same 7:05 pm start time.