RPI Tops Union in ECAC Hockey Opener

Sports

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Ryan Mahshie scored 3:04 into the third period and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team staved off 6 of 7 power plays, plus an extended extra-man attack against, to defeat Union College 4-2 in an ECAC Hockey contest in front of a sold out Messa Rink crowd of 1,738. The Engineers improve to 3-2-2 overall and 1-0-0 in the conference, while the Dutchmen are now 1-5-1 and 0-1-0. The teams play again on Saturday night in Troy.
 
With the score tied 2-2 at the start of the third period, Mahshie broke the tie when he knocked in a rebound of an Anthony Baxter shot. John Beaton started the play by skating with the puck behind the Union goal and then finding Baxter high between the circles. The defenseman sent the puck toward the goal, where Mahshie deflected it off the glass behind the goalkeeper. It caromed back to the front of the net and Mahshie, a junior forward, sent it across the goal line for his third of the year.
 
The Engineers held Union off the board during the final frame despite being forced to kill a 59-second 5-on-3 against and the Dutchmen playing the final two minutes with their goalie pulled. RPI netminder Linden Marshall finished with 23 saves, including 10 in the third period.
 
Defenseman Simon Kjellberg gave the Engineers a 1-0 lead with 7:10 left in the first period when he picked up the puck in between the circles in the defensive zone, skated untouched through the neutral zone and to the top of the left faceoff circle. He fired a low shot under the goaltender’s glove and just inside the right post for his second of the season. The goal, which was unassisted, came during a 4×4 situation.
 
The Dutchmen tied the score less than three minutes later when Michael Hodge collected a loose puck that had been knocked down in front and sent it to the back of the net. Chaz Smedsrud, who had the initial shot attempt, earned the primary assist and Nathan Kelly the secondary.
 
Zach Dubinsky made it 2-1 for the visitors with a rebound goal of his own with 1:56 left in the opening frame. Justin Addamo took a shot from the right circle that was saved, but Dubinsky put it in the rebound for a power play goal. TJ Walsh, who fed the puck to Addamo, also had an assist on the goal, Dubinsky’s first of the year.
 
The first period ended with RPI holding a 14-5 edge in shots on goal.
 
Union had the only goal of the second period, tallying on the power play 5:33 into the frame. Tyler Watkins notched his second of the season when he deflected a right point shot from Cullen Ferguson behind Marshall. Collin Graf also had an assist.
 
The score remained tied until Mahshie’s goal. Jakub Lacka ended the scoring with an empty net tally on a high-arching shot from deep in the defensive zone with 31 seconds to play.
 
Rensselaer, which was 1 for 4 on the power play, outshot the Dutchmen 31-25. Connor Murphy finished with 27 saves for the Dutchmen.

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