RPI builds early lead, beats Union to complete weekend sweep

RPI builds early lead, beats Union to complete weekend sweep

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Sophomore Donovan Ott scored a pair of goals, including the eventual game-winner, to help the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's hockey team to a 4-2 victory over No. 11 Union College, on Saturday night at Messa Rink. With the win, the Engineers improve to 2-3-0 overall (2-0-0 ECAC Hockey), while the Dutchmen drop to 4-2-1 (0-2-0 ECAC Hockey).

Ott (Lebanon, PA/Johnstown Tomahawks) opened the scoring at 12:46 of the first period, slamming home a back door feed from junior Jacob Hayhurst (Mississauga, ON/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) at the right side of the Union crease. Freshman Ottoville Leppanen (Espoo, Finland/Espoo U20) earned the secondary assist on the play.

The Engineers doubled their lead at 13:56 of the frame, when Hayhurst found classmate Todd Burgess (Phoenix, AZ/Fairbanks Ice Dogs) with an identical pass to the opening tally and it produced the same result, as Burgess tucked home his first goal of the year into an open net.

RPI took its 2-0 lead to the first intermission, with Union owning a 10-9 edge in shots.

In the second period, Ott added to the visitors' advantage, claiming a rebound in front of Union senior netminder Jake Kupsky (Waukesha, WI) and lifting it over his right shoulder for a 3-0 lead. Helpers on Ott's second goal, which came at 9:53, went to senior Brady WIffen (St. Mary's, ON/Trenton Golden Hawks) and freshman Brady Ferner (Dakota Dunes, SD/Sioux City Musketeers).

Wiffen then gave RPI a 4-0 lead at 14:46 of the second, tipping a shot from the blue line by freshman Jake Johnson (Bloomington, MN/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) past Kupsky for a power play tally – the only such goal of the game for either team. Hayhurst also had an assist on the play, giving him six on the weekend.

Union got on the board at 2:43 of the third period, when senior Ryan Walker (Spotswood, NJ) threw the puck in off an RPI defender, who was standing at the top of the crease. RPI sophomore goaltender Linden Marshall (Victoria, BC/Trail Smoke Eaters) did not see the deflection until it was past him and into the net.

After RPI killed off a five-minute major penalty, the Dutchman did tack on a second goal, as junior Vas Kolias (Schaumburg, IL) found a lane and scored through a crowd, cutting the deficit to 4-2. The tally, which came with an extra attacker at 15:27, drew assists from sophomores Joseph Campolieto (Eynon, PA) and Parker Foo (Edmonton, AB).

Marshall (2-3-0) finished with 36 saves, including 15 in the third period. Kupsky (2-1-1) had 17 stops on the night. RPI wound up 1 for 3 on the power play, while Union went 0 for 5.

Hayhurst's three helpers give him ninth on the season, for an average of 1.80 per game – the highest of any player in the country with more than two games played. His nine points rank second among ECAC Hockey skaters.

The Engineers are back in action next weekend, when they host Clarkson and St. Lawrence on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Union welcomes the Saints to Schenectady on Friday and the Golden Knights on Saturday.