RPI comes back from behind to upset Union

RPI comes back from behind to upset Union

TROY, N.Y. – Juniors Patrick Polino and Jacob Hayhurst combined for five points to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's hockey team to a 5-3 victory over 11th-ranked Union College, in front of 3,045 at the Houston Field House on Friday night. With the win, the Engineers improve to 1-3-0 overall (1-0-0 ECAC Hockey), while the Dutchmen drop to 4-1-1 (0-1-0 ECAC Hockey).

Trailing 2-0 entering the second period, Polino (Buffalo, NY/Lincoln Stars) jumpstarted the RPI offense, when he scored on a shorthanded breakaway, just 37 seconds in. Senior captain Tommy Grant (Sparta, NJ/Bay State Breakers) chipped the puck up the right wing glass and it fell to Polino, who beat Union sophomore netminder Darion Hanson (East Bethel, MN), five hole, for his first of two on the night.

The Engineers pulled even (2-2) at 11:39 of the frame, when senior blueliner Meirs Moore (Duluth, MN/Victoria Grizzlies) took a cross-ice feed from sophomore Donovan Ott (Lebanon, PA/Johnstown Tomahawks) and snapped a shot inside the left post from the top of the right circle. Senior Brady Wiffen (St. Mary's, ON/Trenton Golden Hawks) earned the secondary assist on the play.

Polino then gave RPI its first lead (3-2) of the game at 5:14 of the third, tip-toing across the blue line, before ripping home a shot from the right circle for his second tally of the game. Sophomore Mat Harris (Sudbury, MA/Boston Jr. Bruins) collected the only assist, keeping the play alive at the left point.

Freshman Ottoville Leppanen (Espoo, Finland, Espoo Blues U20) doubled the RPI advantage to 4-2 at 6:57, finishing off a 2-on-1 break. Hayhurst (Mississauga, ON/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) sent a pass across the goal mouth for Leppanen, who kicked the puck to his stick and backhanding home his first collegiate marker.

Union answered less than two minutes later on sophomore Jack Adams' (Boxford, MA) third goal of the year. A failed clearance at the RPI blue line, allowed Adams to walk in and fire a shot past sophomore goaltender Linden Marshall (Victoria, BC/Trail Smoke Eaters), with classmate Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB) providing a screen.

Freshman Ture Linden (Great Falls, VA/Lone Star Brahmas) sealed the win with an empty-netter at 19:15 of the third, lifting a shot into the middle of the Union cage from his own blue line. Linden's first collegiate goal drew assists from juniors Hayhurst and Willy Reilly (Toronto, ON/Nanaimo Clippers).

The Dutchmen struck for a power play goal at 5:25 of the first period to take a 1-0 lead. Sam Morton (Benicia, CA) potted his first goal for Union after taking a close range dish from senior captain Cole Maier (Pequanock, NJ) and sticking it past Marshall.

Sophomore Sean Harrison (Anchorage, AK) made it a 2-0 lead at 11:16, firing home a shot right off the faceoff for his first on the season. Senior Brendan Taylor (Nanaimo, BC) won the offensive zone draw for the lone assist on the shorthanded marker.

Marshall (1-3-0) finished with 32 saves, including 14 in the third period alone. Hanson (2-1-0) recorded 10 stops, with eight coming in the second. Union was 1 for 9 on the power play, while the Engineers went 0 for 4.

Both teams are back in action tomorrow night, when they square off for game two of the weekend series, at Messa Rink in Schenectady. Puck drop is set for 7pm.