PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Junior Max French (West Kelowna, B.C./West Kelowna) scored the go-ahead goal with 5:11 left in the 3rd period as Bentley defeated Robert Morris 4-3 Friday night to take game one in the best of three Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals.
French's goal, his 2nd of the night, came just 38 seconds after RMU had tied the game 3-3 after Bentley led most of the 3rd period.
Bentley had to hang on for the final 1:32 in a 6 on-4 situation for the Colonials after French was whistled for a hooking penalty, and RMU pulled goalie Terry Shafer in favor of the extra-attacker. The Falcon PK though stood tall to claim the 4-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead.
Senior goalie Gabe Antoni (Lansdale, Pa./Springfield) was strong all night and made 45 saves, 21 in the 2nd period, to earn the win.
Bentley was leading 3-2 throughout the 3rd period, until RMU tied it up on a goal by Matt Cope at the 14:11 mark off a broken play. After a scramble for the puck in front of the net, the puck found its way to Cope on the point, whose initial shot was blocked. The rebound though came right back to him, and he was able to score with a wrist shot to tie the game up.
The game stayed 3-3 for all of 38 seconds as French netted what went down as the winning goal. Line mate Andrew Gladiuk (White Rock, B.C./Nanaimo) dug the puck out of a corner and fired a cross-ice pass to French just inside the blue line, who blasted a shot past Shafer for his 23rd goal of the season.
Gladiuk and Kyle Schmidt (Menomonee Falls, Wisc./Sioux City) combined for a goal late in the 2nd period to give Bentley a 3-2 lead, with Gladiuk scoring this one. Schmidt had the puck behind the net and fed Gladiuk on the short side, who beat Shafer in front of the net for his 17th tally of the season. That was the score heading into the 2nd intermission.
The teams traded goals in the early going of the 1st period. A Bentley power play on a RMU hooking penalty turned into a shorthanded goal for the Colonials from right wing Zac Lynch, coming 1:05 into the penalty. That gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 6:16.
The lead for RMU lasted less than two minutes though as Bentley defenseman Matt Blomquist (Blaine, Minn./Coulee Region) blasted in a shot at the 8:05 mark to level the score 1-1.
Bentley's next power play chance towards the end of the period went better as they cashed in for a 2-1 lead off the stick of French. Taking a pass in the slot, he ripped a wrist shot over the glove of Shafer, with the assists coming from defenseman Tanner Jago (Brandon, Manitoba/Portage) and Schmidt.
Bentley took that 2-1 lead into the 2nd period.
The score stayed that way past the halfway point of the 2nd period until the Colonials found the tying goal from forward Timmy Moore at the 11:23 mark. Antoni first made a blocker save off a shot by Brady Ferguson, but the rebound came to Moore, who scored to the near post to make it a 2-2 game.
Bentley will look to close out the series in game two tomorrow night at 7:05.