WEST POINT – Army West Point hockey (2-7-1, 1-3-0 AHA) collected its first conference victory with a 2-0 shutout over Bentley (3-9-0, 1-4-0 AHA) on Friday night at Tate Rink.
Justin Evenson made 33 saves in a shutout effort against the Falcons in his first start of the season. Anthony Firriolo scored the game-winning goal for Army early in the second period before Ricky Lyle put home an empty-netter to secure the victory.
The Black Knights came out with a fresh look after the off week, with senior Noah Wilson moving up to forward on a line with Patrick Smyth and Kendrick Frost. The first period saw end-to-end action, with Bentley leading in shots 12-10 through 20 minutes. The teams were scoreless through one, as Army headed to the second period with 1:32 remaining on its third power play of the contest.
The Black Knights would head to a 5-on-3 opportunity early in the second period after the Falcons took their fourth penalty in the opening 21 minutes. With the pressure on, Army came close with Joey Baez hitting pipe off a feed from Max Itagaki. With Itagaki collecting the puck immediately after, he fed Brett Abdelnour behind the net, who would hit Anthony Firriolo at the point. Firriolo then fired in a wrist shot to give Army the lead, his second score of the season.
Taking the lead into the third period, Bentley had its best spell in the middle of the period. Evenson stood tall throughout the final frame, making 14 of his 33 saves in the final 20 minutes. Army took two penalties within the first four minutes of the period but were able to kill them both off and play even strength for 14+ minutes until Bentley pulled its goalie with 1:18 remaining.
Off a faceoff win from John Keranen, Firriolo fired the puck across the full-length of the ice, just missing the empty net. However, Ricky Lyle was first on the scene to collect the rebound and put home the empty-netter to give Army the two-goal cushion with less than a minute remaining. The win gave Army its first shutout of the season and first victory in Atlantic Hockey play.