TROY, NY (NEWS10) — Kyle Hallbauer and John Evans scored and Jack Watson made 23 saves as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team defeated Union College 2-1 in front of a sold out crowd of 4,700 at the Houston Field House. The game was the first of the ECAC Hockey slate for both teams and the first of a home-and-home series. RPI, which is now 5-1-0 overall, plays at 2-6-1 Union on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Hallbauer, a senior defenseman, put the Engineers in front at 11:29 of the first period when he found himself open near the offensive blue line, skated to his left toward the center of the ice, and fired off a shot that beat Union netminder Connor Murphy through traffic. The period ended that way with RPI holding a 9-7 edge in shots on goal.

The home team, which wore one-time-only black jerseys on Blackout!, which commemorates the start of the conference season, doubled its lead 4:23 into the second when freshman forward John Evans collected the puck in the right face off circle, curled toward the net, and fired into the goal for his second of the season. Classmate Sutter Muzzatti, who is 6-6, used his reach to knock the puck to Evans, earned the primary assist with Brendan Budy tallying the secondary.

Union pulled to within one when at 11:28 of the third period when Ben Tupker fought off a defenseman and deflected a Mason Snell pass over Watson from close range. Liam Robertson also had an assist on the play.

Watson and Murphy both did their parts to keep it a one-goal game as the teams combined for 27 shots in the third frame. RPI’s netminder had 10 in that period, while Murphy stopped 16 on the other end, finishing with 30 in the game. Seven of his saves came on two Engineers power plays.