Slow start leads to 5-1 loss to Bentley
US AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Bentley scored three goals in the first five minutes in a 5-1 win over Ari Force in an Atlantic hockey game Friday, Nov. 11 at Cadet Ice Academy Arena.
Bentley (3-7, 1-2-0 AHA) ended the Air Force‘s three-game winning streak by taking control early. A penalty on Air Force in the first minute of the match led to a quick goal from Bentley. In a rush, Arlo Merritt put Dylan Pitera on the backdoor for a 1-0 lead after just 42 seconds. Less than two minutes later, Bentley took a 2-0 lead when Seth Bernard- Docker was stopped but Ethan Harrison pushed out the rebound at 2:14. Nick Bochen gave Bentley a 3-0 lead with a wrist from the left circle at 4:44. Bentley capitalized on an Air Force turnover behind his own net as Nicholas Niemo put Joe Winkelmann in the slot at 9:22. After the goal, Falcon starter Guy Blessing was replaced in goal by junior Maiszon Balboa.
Air Force (5-5-1, 1-2-0 AHA) came out in the second period and outscored Bentley, 11-2, through the first eight minutes. The Falcons also hit two pipes in the first 10 minutes of the period. However, turnovers and penalties plagued the Falcons. Late in the period, the Air Force was on the power play, but a major penalty on the Falcons nullified the man advantage. Then, with 30 seconds remaining, Bochen fired a slap shot from center spot for a 5-0 lead for Bentley.
Air Force started the third period by killing the rest of the Major. Midway through the period, the Falcons got on the board as Bennet Norlin won a batting battle on the board and sent the puck into the slot. Jacob Martin redirected the puck past goaltender Nicholas Grabko for his third of the season at 8:37.
The Air Force defeated Bentley, 32-27, in the game. AF was 0 for 6 on the power play while Bentley was 2 for 4. Blessing made seven saves in nine minutes of action. Balboa, playing his second game of the season, stopped 15 of 16 he faced in the final 51 minutes. Grabko made 31 saves for Bentley.
“We certainly didn’t see that coming to start the game,” the associate head coach said Joe Doyle said. “We haven’t been this slow for a long time. It felt like we were in quicksand with our legs and our brains tonight. in our locker room. I know we will come out with a better effort tomorrow.
The Air Force and Bentley wrap up the two-game series on Saturday, November 12 at 8:07 p.m. MT at Cadet Ice Arena.