AFA beats Bentley, 3-1, advances to Final Five
March 8, 2008
U.S.A.F. ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force advanced to the AHA Final Five with a 3-1 win over Bentley in game two of the best of three Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinal series, Saturday, March 8, at the Cadet Ice Arena. Air Force swept the two-game series, after winning 9-2 on Friday.
Air Force, 19-11-6 overall, extended its unbeaten streak to seven games and advanced to the Final Five for the second consecutive season. Air Force is the No. 3 seed and will face second-seeded RIT, Saturday, March 15, at 7:35 p.m. EST at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. Bentley's season is over with a 9-21-6 record.
Army, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, swept AIC in the quarterfinal series and advanced to the Final Five. RIT advanced after sweeping Holy Cross in the quarterfinals. The other team to qualify tonight was No. 5 seed Mercyhurst who swept Canisius. UConn, the No. 7 seed, will face fourth-seeded Sacred Heart in the third game of the quarterfinal series on Sunday, March 9. The winner is the fifth team to advance to the Final Five.
Mercyhurst will play the winner of the UConn-Sacred Heart game on Friday, March 14, at 7:05 p.m. in the first game of the Final Five in Rochester. The winner of that game will face top-seeded Army on Saturday, March 15, at 4:05 game. That game will be followed by Air Force and RIT in the other semifinal contest at 7:35 p.m. The winners meet in the championship game, Sunday, March 16, at 7:05 p.m. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.
Air Force scored two goals in a span of 36 seconds in the first period. After consecutive penalties on Bentley's Jeff Gumaer and Marc Menzione, Air Force capitalized with two quick markers. Brent Olson scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal at the 9:27 mark. Greg Flynn passed down low to Matt Fairchild who dished to Olson in the slot for his team-leading 15th of the season. Just 36 seconds later, Flynn scored a 5-on-4 power-play goal for a 2-0 lead. Fairchild gave the puck to Jeff Hajner on the left side. Hajner sent a cross-ice pass to Flynn in the right circle who one-timed the puck past BC goalie Joe Calvi.
Hajner gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead in the second period with a power-play goal from Derrick Burnett and Matt Charbonneau. Burnett fed Hajner in the left circle and his wrister beat Calvi on the short side. Calvi was screened on the play by Matt Fairchild.
Air Force held the 3-0 lead until late in the third period when Bentley made the game interesting. After unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called on Hajner and Bentley's Jaye Judd, Bentley scored on a four-on-four situation. Anthony Canzoneri fed Dain Prewitt on a two-on-one rush and Prewitt netted his 15th of the season. With 1:22 left in the period, AFA's Josh Schaffer was called for checking from behind, giving Bentley a power-play. Air Force kept the puck deep in the Bentley end to kill off some valuable time. With 32 seconds left, Bentley pulled its goaltender for a two-man advantage. With 17 seconds remaining, Bentley's Canzoneri won a faceoff in the offensive end and Gumaer blasted a slap shot from the slot that was saved by Andrew Volkening to seal the win.
Air Force outshot Bentley, 46-22, in the game. AFA was 3-for-9 on the power play while Bentley was 0-for-7. There were a combined 34 penalties for 103 minutes in the game Bentley took 18 for 52 while AFA took 16 for 51. Calvi made 43 saves for Bentley while Volkening made 21 for AFA.