Senior Dain Prewitt scored his 100th career point on a game-winning goal as the Bentley Falcons edged the Canisius Golden Griffs 4-3 Saturday night at the Amherst Pepsi Center.
Special teams play was once again a game changer, as five of the game’s seven goals, including Prewitt’s game-winner, were scored with the man-advantage.
“It came down to one power play,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “It could have went the other way. Our guys played very well. It was a really good college hockey game.”
The Falcons struck twice at even strength in the first and jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the opening minute of the second period. However, Canisius roared back with three power-play goals of their own in a span of 5:37 in the closing minutes of the second period.
Erik Peterson forced a mishandling of the puck by a Canisius defender on a line change and it enabled Peterson to pick up the loose puck at the blue line, skate in alone and deke to beat goaltender Andrew Loewen for the opening goal of the game.
The Falcons capitalized again at 16:26. Prewitt skated up the right wing with a step on the Canisius defenders. With Loewenâ€™s focus on him, he slipped the puck cross-ice to
Peterson, who tapped it into an open net at the far post for his second of the period.
“I was real excited the way we came out and played in the first period being that we won pretty big last night,” Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist said. “I was a little concerned that we were gonna come out flat, but we didn’t.”
Bentley also found the back of the net early in the second at :49 on a carryover power play. Marc Menzione sent a quick pass from the far corner boards to Jeff Gumaer at the right post. Gumaer’s quick shot found the back of the net for his seventh of the season. Prewitt also received an assist on the play.
Canisius’ Cory Conacher, along the boards on the left wing, found Vincent Scarsella between the circles on a power play at 13:38. Scarsella’s quick shot hit the left side of the net to give the Griffins some life.
Canisius converted again on a power play at 16:58 when Spencer Churchill skated behind the net and came out the other side, sent a pass to Jason Weeks and he tapped it into the net.
Dave Kostuch scored his team-leading twelfth goal of the season with 45 seconds remaining in the second. Scarsella found Kostuch in the slot and he was able to connect with the puck from his knees and it slipped past Falcons’ goaltender Kyle Rank to even the score.
“We unraveled in the second period and took seven penalties and Canisius capitalized with three goals,” Soderquist said. “We were a little disappointed there but our leadership on the road pulled together in the locker room after the second and came out ready for the third.”
The Falcons regained the lead with their second power-play goal of the night. Prewitt got past the Canisius defense and went one-on-one with the goaltender and scored. Gumaer and Menzione received assists on the game-winner.
“It felt good,” Prewitt said. “It’s a nice milestone but more important was the game-winning goal. It’s nice that we got the win tonight. I’m happier with that.”
Rank ended the game with 25 saves for Bentley and Loewen recorded 38 in the game. He was pulled in the final minute for the extra attacker as Canisus tried to even the score and force overtime. The Falcons out-shot the Griffins in the third period 21-9.
The Falcons improve to 8-10-1 overall and 7-6-1 in Atlantic Hockey play. They will continue on the road and face off against UConn on January 14. The loss drops Canisius to 7-9-4 overall and 5-7-2 in conference play. The Griffins travel to Air Force for a two-game series on January 16 and 17.