SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Freshman Jeremie Payant scored two goals and recorded two assists to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team to their first victory of the season in an 8-6 win over Union on Friday night. With the win, RPI goes to 1-4-0 overall with a 1-0-0 mark in ECAC Hockey, while Union falls to 2-4-0 and 0-1-0 in league play.
The 14 combined goals was the most combined goals in a game between the two programs since 1992.
RPI got the ball rolling in the opening minute of the game, as Jake Gagnon scoffed 48 seconds in to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead, with Payant and Altti Nykanen on the assists. The latter duo teamed up for the next two goals as well, with Payant scoring on an assist from Nykanen and Jack Agnew before Nykanen scored at the 15:53 mark from Payant and Nick Ardanaz. Ethan Benz scored for Union before Nykanen’s goal, ending the first half 3-1 in favor of the Engineers.
Six goals were scored in the second period, with Jakob Lee earning the first one at the 6:38 mark to give RPI their largest lead of the day at three goals with a 4-1 lead. Union then fought back with a pair, as Liam Robertson scored on the power play at 9:35 before Benz scored his second of the night at 11:10 to pull back within a goal, 4-3.
From that point, Payant and Lee each tacked on another goal to their totals, pushing RPI’s lead back out to three with a 6-3 lead. However, a late Engineers penalty put Union on the power play, resulting in a goal before the end of the second, and a goal to begin the third. Just 38 seconds into the final frame, the game was once again a one-goal game, 6-5 in favor of RPI.
However, RPI’s youth stepped up late as Tyler Hotson scored on an odd-man rush with Sutter Muzzatti to give the Engineers a 7-5 lead before Union crawled back with a goal three minutes later courtesy of Josh Nixon at the 11:29 mark. As time ticked down, Union pulled the goalie, resulting in an empty-net goal from the sophomore Muzzatti to clinch the 8-6 win.
11 different Engineers collected points on the night, with seven collecting at least two points apiece. Payant, CJ Regula, and Gagnon all finished +4 in the plus-minus column on the night to lead the team in that department.
Jack Watson totaled up 30 saves in net for the Engineers, while Kyle Chauvette made 15 saves for Union.
RPI returns to action Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. when they face off with Union once again, this time from Houston Field House in ECAC Hockey action. The game is also RPI’s first home game of the 2023 season.