RPI Falls to UConn in Home Opener

RPI Falls to UConn in Home Opener

TROY, N.Y. –  Five different players found the back of the net for the University of Connecticut men's hockey team in defeating Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 5-2, on Friday night at the Houston Field House. With the win, the Huskies improve to 1-2-1 overall, while the Engineers drop to 1-2-0.

UConn scored the game's first four goals, including two in the second period to open up an early lead. Sophomore Marc Gatcomb (Woburn, MA/The Gunnery) got things started for visitors at 16:55 of the first, burying a one-timer at the edge of the goal mouth for his second of the season. Classmate Carter Turnbull (Nanaimo, BC/Powell) delivered the cross-ice feed on a 2-on-1 break into the zone.

Turnbull then scored to make it 2-0 at 3:01 of the second. His first of the season and third career tally drew a single helper from senior captain Benjamine Freeman (Falmouth, ME/Connecticut).

Junior Brian Rigali (Libertyville, IL/Sioux City) pushed the Huskies' lead to 3-0 at 10:07 of the middle frame, finishing off a back door feed from sophomore Jonny Evans (North Delta, BC/Powell) for his first of the year. Ruslan Iskhakov (Moskow, Russia/Krasnaya Armiya Moskva) collected the secondary assist.

UConn freshman blueliner Harrison Rees (Oakville, ON/North York) then netted his first collegiate goal at 16:51 top open up a 4-0 lead. His shot from the top of the right circle made its way just under the crossbar, with assists going to senior Alexander Payusov (Montreal, PQ/Madison) and goaltender Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic).

RPI found the scoresheet with a power play tally at 2:18 of the third to draw within 4-1. Moving the puck around the top of the zone, freshman Simon Kjellberg (Nashville, TN/Dubuque Fighting Saints) ripped a low shot that skipped through Vomacka for his second goal in as many games. Senior Chase Zieky (Avon, CT/Salmon Arm Silverbacks) and sophomore Ottoville Leppanen (Espoo, Finland/Espoo Blues U20) added the helpers.

After Iskhakov pushed the lead back to four goals (5-1), Engineers senior Patrick Polino (Buffalo, NY/Lincoln Stars) potted his second goal of the year on the rush. Moving up the right wing boards, Polino ripped a low hard shot that beat Vomacka five-hole. The man advantage marker drew assists from Leppanen and Kjellberg.

Vomacka (1-2-1) finished with 29 saves, while RPI junior Linden Marshall (Victoria, BC/Trail Smoke Eaters) had 31 at the other end of the ice. The Engineers wound up 2 for 7 on the power play, with UConn going 0 for 3.

Rensselaer is back on the ice tomorrow night, when it hosts Canisius College for the first time ever (7pm). The Huskies are off until November 1, when they visit Merrimack College (7pm).