Nov. 29, 2012
WATERTOWN, Mass. – Army freshman forward R.J. Burns made his first collegiate goal memorable. And the Black Knights played outstanding defense during a rare Thursday night game.
Burns scored a short-handed goal which turned out to be the game-winner and Army held the nation’s leading scoring team to two goals as the Black Knights posted a 3-2 victory over Bentley in an Atlantic Hockey Association game at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena.
Army scored once in the first period and twice in the second and improved to 4-6-1 overall and 4-2-1 in league games.
Bentley fell to 6-6-0 overall and 6-4-1 in league contests.
Burns, Andy Starczewski and Josh Richards scored goals for Army, which was idle since Nov. 17. Thane Heller, Willie Faust, Shane Hearn and Cheyne Rocha collected assists.
Army goalie Ryan Leets made 24 saves to earn this third win of the season. Bentley’s Branden Komm made 30 saves
Starczewski got the first goal during a furious first period that featured 21 shots. Heller moved the puck to Faust who found Starczewski. Starczewski fired in a wrist shot from the face-off dot in the left circle for his team-leading fifth goal of the season with 3:59 left in the stanza. It was the second assist for Faust and the fifth for Heller.
Leets made eight saves in the opening period while Army registered 13 shots on goal.
Leets kept the Army lead with a highlight-reel worthy save during a 2-on-1 Bentley opportunity.
Army had the first power play opportunity of the game but was unable to capitalize.
The Black Knights did extend their lead to 2-0 a few minutes later when Richards went over Komm’s shoulder for his third goal of the season. Rocha dug the puck out of the defensive zone to Hearn who went across ice with a nice pass for his first collegiate assist. It was Rocha’s second assist of the season.
Bentley, which leads the country in scoring with 4.27 goals per game, quickly tied the game with a pair of goals 47 seconds apart. Justin Breton netted the first goal and Brett Switzer the second to knot the game at 2 with 10:35 left in second period
The Falcons, winners of three of their last four games, went on the power play for the first time with nine minutes remaining in the session after an interference whistle.
Army was aggressive on the penalty kill and was rewarded with its first short-handed goal of the season. Burns went in on a breakaway but Komm made the initial save. Burns got the puck back and a second shot on goal and his first collegiate tally to help the Black Knights take a 3-2 lead after two periods.
The Black Knights were forced to kill a Bentley penalty five minutes into the final period and then went on the power play themselves seconds later. Neither team was able to net a goal though as Komm and Leets stood tall.
Army had another power play chance and Bentley pulled its goal late in the contest but Army held on for the 3-2 victory.
Army will return to Tate Rink on Saturday, Dec. 1 to host AIC. Former Army player and Officer Representative Tom Kennedy, who was killed in action in August, will be honored. All fans will receive “TK” stickers and on-ice ceremonies are planned. A limited number of tickets remain and can be purchased by visiting www.goARMYsports.com or calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY.
GAMES NOTES: Army wore its gold sweaters … Army’s starting lineup consisted of Brian Schultz, R.J. Burns, Zak Zaremba, Cheyne Rocha and Mac Lalor with Ryan Leets in net … It marked the 44th start of Leets’ career … Army had an early wake-up call when a fire alarm went off at the team hotel … The senior members of the team learned what branch of the military they will serve in on the bus ride home.
ARMY 3, BENTLEY 2
ARMY – Starczewski (Faust, Heller), 16:01
ARMY – Richards (Hearn, Rocha), 8:01
BEN – Breton (Grieve), 9:13
BEN – Switzer (Krause, Blomquist), 8:26
ARMY – Burns (unassisted), SH, 11:24
Shots: Army 33 (13-11-9); Bentley 26 (8-10-8)
Saves: Army 24 (Leets, 60:00, 8-8-8); Bentley 30 (Komm, 58:47, 12-9-9)
Power Plays: Army, 0-3; Bentley, 0-3
Penalties: Army, 3-6; Bentley, 3-6