TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Down 2-1 after two periods, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team scored four goals in the final 20 minutes of play to defeat the Colgate Raiders by a final score of 5-3 at the Houston Field House. With the win, RPI improves to 8-11-1 overall and 3-6 in ECAC Hockey, while Colgate falls to 9-10-2 overall and 6-3-0 in ECAC Hockey play.
Juniors Jakob Lee and Austin Heidemann each scored two goals apiece, while Max Smolinski added RPI’s other tally. Lee finished with a team-high four points adding in a pair of assists, while Heidemann also added an assist for a three-point night. Alex DiPaulo, Ethan Manderville, and Anthony Stark each scored for Colgate. Colgate opened the scoring in the first period, as DiPaolo found the back of the net. With a bouncing puck ending up behind the net of RPI goaltender Jack Watson, Matt Verboon corralled the puck and sent a pass out front of the net. DiPaolo stepped into the pass and took a wrist shot from the slot to make it 1-0 Colgate.
Smolinski evened things up in the final minutes of the first, as he collected his goal on the power play. After getting the puck into the zone in transition, Heidemann dropped the puck to the blue line for Smolinski, who walked in toward the net. With space, the freshman took a wrist shot and scored to even up the game 1-1. Senior captain Kyle Hallbauer also earned the second helper on the play. The Raiders then took the lead back early in the second period – also on the power play – at the 12:07 mark. Manderville was credited with the goal, as he poked in a shot from the blue line that was originally saved by Watson. Waiting on the doorstep, Manderville tossed it in as Alex Young and Nick Anderson earned assists.
With the score 2-1 heading into the third period, the Engineers got the ball rolling just over two minutes into the period, as Lee collected his first goal of the night. Getting the puck in the right wing corner, Lee skated toward the net, made a move, and finished on his back hand inside the far post to tie the game at 2-2. Altti Nykanen and Nick Strom had the assists on the goal. Heidemann then wasted no time, scoring from nearly the same spot just two and a half minutes apart. His first score came at the 4:22 mark on the power play, as Ryan Mahshie kept a puck alive after a scramble in front of the Colgate net and bounced out to Heidemann. He then took a wrist shot that popped the upper right corner of the net to put RPI ahead 4-2.
His second came at the 6:59 mark, as Brendan Budy fought for a puck down low, and sent it out front of the net in the slot for Heidemann who finished it off to make it 4-2 Engineers. After Colgate got one back at the 10:59 mark from Stark, the Engineers held down the fort down the stretch and capped the night off with an empty net goal courtesy of Lee.
RPI’s Jack Watson snagged 26 saves – including a game-high 12 in the third period. Colgate netminder Carter Gylander made 28 saves, with 13 coming in the first period. Lee and Heidemann, along with John Beaton led RPI with four shots apiece. The Engineers return to the ice tomorrow night, Saturday, January 7 at 7 p.m. when they play host to the No. 18 nationally-ranked Cornell Big Red at the Houston Field House.