McReynolds, who had just two goals in the first 35 games of the season, exploded for a pair of goals in a span of 5:28 to give RIT a three-goal cushion. Adam Mitchell (Crofton, MD) scored RIT's first goal, 5:35 into the first period.
McReynolds made it 2-0 at the 4:38 mark, jamming in a loose puck in front after Trevor Eckenswiller (Lions Head, Ontario) had three attempts in close that Bentley goaltender Branden Komm stopped. Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/St. John's Collegiate) won the draw back to Eckenswiller, who circled the net and had three chances before McReynolds jammed in the rebound.
At the 10:06 mark, McReynolds stripped a Bentley player of the puck in the slot, took one step and fired a hard wrist shot over the shoulder of Komm to make it 3-0.
From there, RIT kept the Falcons at bay, allowing Madolora to record his seventh shutout of the season and 13th of his career. Former RIT standout goaltenders Dave Burkholder and Tyler Euverman held the previous record with 12.
RIT's penalty-killing unit was tremendous all evening, killing off all six Bentley power-play attempts. The Tigers were 0-for-5 with the man-advantage.
RIT out-shot Bentley, 33-24, including 16-7 in the third period. Bentley was playing its sixth game in the last 10 nights. Komm made 30 saves in the loss for the Falcons. He made 134 saves in the three game series.
RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson was very happy with his team's effort tonight.
"What a grind," said Wilson, who is now 10-2 in the AHA Quarterfinal round. "That's our league to a tee, so evenly matched this year. This was a tough, tough game and series. Bentley is going to be a really good team in the future. We were much better defensively tonight, and the penalty-killing unit was outstanding. Offensively, we created several great chances."
The Tigers came out and played a physical first period, sorting through penalty problems to lead 1-0.
Mitchell got the Tigers on the board at the 5:35 mark, as a shot by Mark Cornacchia (Unionville, Ontario) deflected off the big forward who was going to the net and got past Komm. The goal was Mitchell's second in the last two games and ninth of the season. Brad McGowan (Langley, British Columbia/Walnut Grove) took the puck in the neutral zone and fed Cornacchia, who was streaking into the Bentley zone.
Soon after, RIT ran into penalty problems and had to kill off a major penalty to McReynolds, 48 seconds off a 5-on-3 and 1:12 of a 4-3. The Tigers succeeded, limiting Bentley's chances and harassing the Bentley forwards. Garbowsky, Scott Knowles (Riverside, Ontario), Jeff Smith (Spokane, WA), and Cornacchia were outstanding on the penalty-kill. Garbowsky drew a penalty to negate the final 1:25 of the major.
Madolora made a tremendous save on Aaron Stonacek on a 2-on-1, sliding across to rob the Bentley forward on what looked to be a sure goal.
In the final seconds of the period, Komm made his best save, robbing Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario) with the glove from point blank range after a shot by Chris Haltigin (Oakville, Ontario) trickled into the slot.
Neither team scored in a second period that featured end to end action, but not many shots due to great shot blocking by both squads.
Ben Lynch (Blaine, MN) had RIT's best chance of the period, getting a pass from Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia) in the slot, then ringing the shot off the right goal post.
Haltigin fired a shot off directly off of Komm's mask on a power-play. In the final seconds of the period, McReynolds had a great chance off a blocked shot, firing shot that Komm was able to get his shoulder on.
The Tigers are 15-5-2 all-time against the Falcons, including 13-4-2 at the Division I level. This is the first time the two teams have met in the postseason. RIT finshed 4-1 against Bentley this season.
On Friday night, Brett Gensler scored two goals and Komm made 47 saves, as Bentley defeated RIT in game one, 4-1, snapping the Tigers 16-game home unbeaten streak against AHA teams. Colavecchia scored RIT's lone goal, while Cameron Burt (Detroit, MI) became the team's all-time leading scorer at the Division I level. Last night, Burt scored the game-winner 1:23 into the second overtime to lift RIT to the dramatic, 5-4 win. Bentley rallied from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime. RIT fired a Division I team record 63 shots on goal.
The Tigers will play either Niagara or Mercyhurst in the second AHA Semifinal on Friday at Blue Cross Arena, starting at 7:35 p.m. The first AHA Semifinal gets underway on Friday at 4:05 p.m. The two teams winners will meet for the AHA Championship on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The winner of the AHA Championship will earn an automatic berth in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
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