Brett Gensler scored a pair of goals to lead the Falcons, while goaltender Brendan Komm was sensational in net, stopping 46 shots. Brett Switzer and Joe Campanelli added empty-net goals in the final 1:13 with Trent Bonnett assisting on both tallies. Gensler broke the Bentley single-season record for goals with 23.
Mike Colavecchia (Maple, Ontario) scored RIT's lone goal midway through the first period. Burt's assist broke the previous RIT record for points in a career of 132, held by Simon Lambert (Ste.-Therese, Quebec/Cumberland Grads), who played at the university from 2004-08. Lambert scored his 133 points in 104 games. Burt now has 42 goals and 91 assists in 143 career games.
RIT goaltender Shane Madolora (Salinas, CA) stopped 23 shots in defeat, including a handful of big saves in the third period, allowing RIT to stay within a goal until he was pulled for the extra attacker with 1:26 left.
The Tigers were 0-for-4 on the power-play, while Bentley was 1-for-2.
The loss was the first at home this season against AHA foes for the Tigers, who came in riding a 16-game unbeaten streak since March, 2011. Since the start of the 2009-10 season, RIT is 33-3-10 at home against AHA foes. Bentley has handed RIT two of the three losses.
RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson was not happy with his team's effort this evening.
"Frankly, we got what we deserved tonight," said Wilson. "I thought Bentley had much better second and third efforts, as we were outworked. We were very lackadaisical and did not play with any urgency tonight."
Both teams scored once in a quickly played first period, with RIT out-shooting Bentley, 10-8.
The Falcons got on the board 4:47 into the contest, on the power-play, as Gensler slipped home a loose puck after the original shot was stopped by Madolora. Bentley won the draw and for the puck back to Steve Weinstein, who fired a shot that was deflected by Campanelli, then Switzer and stopped by Madolora. The rebound bounced around in front, through the crease, and came to Genzler who put the puck into open net for his 22nd tally of the year.
Just under six minutes later, Colavecchia took a perfect feed from Burt as he was getting hit on a 2-on-2 rush and had his original shot go off Komm and off the post, but he was able to collect his own rebound and scored his 14th goal of the season. That assist gave Burt the all-time Division I scoring record at RIT.
RIT clearly out-played Bentley in the second period, holding an 18-11 edge in shots, but falling behind 2-1 after 40 minutes of play.
Gensler tallied his second goal of the game and 23rd of the season 4:45 into the period, as a dump in attempt by Micah Williams bounced off the back boards and over a RIT defenseman's stick right to Bentley's leading scorer, who lifted a puck in close over Madolora for the goal.
From there, RIT dominated play in the period, getting several great chances, but Komm was up to the task each time. Jeff Smith (Spokane, WA) was absolutely robbed on a 2-on-1, as Komm stuck out the left glove. The Bentley goaltender also made a nifty glove save on a blast by Chris Haltigin (Oakville, Ontario).
Late in the period, RIT had a great chance on the power-play, as Adam Hartley (West Vancouver, British Columbia) came out from behind the net and found himself alone in front. He tried to use his long reach to sweep the puck around Komm, but put the shot just wide.
Madolora's best save came on a rush by Brett Hartung, who went around a Tiger defenseman and tried to sneak a shot to the far side, but the RIT goaltender turned it aside.
Bentley nearly made it 3-1 midway through the third period, as Madolora had to make a big glove save on Hartung, as he came out from behind the net.
RIT fired 19 shots in the period, but several were from long range and Komm was able to see mostly everything. He did allow one rebound that looked to be swatted in, but Aaron Stonacek made a great defensive play to poke the puck out of harms' way.
With Madolora pulled from the extra attacker, Bonnett was able to grab a loose puck in the Bentley zone and find a streaking Switzer, who fired the shot into the open net. Thirty-nine seconds later, with Madolora once again on the bench, Bonnett did the same thing, as Campanelli put a shot into the open goal.
RIT had won eight of nine AHA quarterfinal contests before tonight, all at home, since becoming eligible for the league's postseason in 2007-08. The one previous loss came in game one to Holy Cross in 2009. RIT came back to win the series in three games.
RIT won two earlier meetings against Bentley this season, winning 2-0 on Jan. 20 and 2-1 on Jan. 21, both on the road. Madolora made 26 saves in the shutout win on Jan. 20, while Scott Knowles (Riverside, Ontario) broke the 1-1 tie with a shorthanded goal the following night.
The Tigers are 13-5-2 all-time against the Falcons, including 11-4-2 at the Division I level. This is the first time the two teams have met in the postseason.
The two teams will meet again for game two on Saturday, once again at 7:05 p.m. If necessary, game three will be Sunday at 7:05 p.m.
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