TROY, N.Y. - Trailing 4-0 early in the second period, the 13th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team scored a pair of unanswered goals and held a large shot edge over the final two periods, but dropped Saturday night's non-conference tilt, 4-2, to 12th-ranked Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) at Houston Field House.
UNH falls to 1-3-1, while Rensselaer is now 4-1-0.
Wildcat goals were scored by Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) and Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.).
The Engineers scored just 38 seconds into the game to give RPI the lead. Johnny Rogic scored on a giveaway in front the of the UNH net, roofing a wrister, with assists from Matt Tinordi and Guy Leboeuf. Rensselaer doubled its lead at 11:56 of the first as Jake Wood slipped past the UNH defender and went in alone through center-ice. He went high glove side to beat Jeff Wyer (Reading, Mass.) one-on-none at 11:56. Zach Schroeder and Luke Curadi assisted on the goal for the Engineers. RPI held a 14-5 shot advantage in the period and went 0-1 in the only power play opportunity of the period.
RPI picked up where it left off in the second with a pair of goals in the first four minutes to extend the lead to 4-0. The first goal came at 2:16 as Matt Neal scored with helpers from Milos Bubela and Mike Zalewski. Just 88 seconds later Ryan Haggerty scored on the power play with assists from Neal and Brock Higga. After the fourth goal Wyer was lifted in favor of Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.). Wyer finished with 14 saves including 12 in the first period. The Engineers were in control until the middle of the period, when the Wildcats finally broke through. Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) trapped an RPI clearing attempt and fired a slap shot from the left point that Silengo redirected into the net to cut it to 4-1 at 10:03 of the second. Just 1:39 later, UNH scored on the power play to cut it to 4-2. Willows scored on a tic-tac-toe sequence that started with Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) behind the net to Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) on the end line, who found Willows on the goal mouth for the tally at 11:42. The Wildcats kept the pressure on outshooting the Engineers 16-12 in the period, but the teams went into the break 4-2.
The Wildcats continued to control play in the third period with an 11-1 shot advantage in the frame, but could not break through the board. UNH had several chances in the third period including a point-blank Willows shot on the power play, one of three shots on the man advantage. The 'Cats also made a push in the final 1:23 when DeSmith was pulled in favor of an extra attacker.
UNH held a 32-27 shot edge, while both teams were 1-3 on the power play
Wyer allowed all four RPI goals in 23:44 of play. He falls to 1-1-1 on the season. DeSmith stopped all nine shots he faced in 54:34 of relief for the 'Cats.
UNH returns to action when it opens Hockey East play Friday, Nov. 1 (7:15 p.m.) at reigning champion UMass Lowell. New Hampshire plays host to the River Hawks on Saturday, Nov. 2 (7 p.m.) at the Whittemore Center. The game will air regionally on WBIN-TV with national coverage on FOX College Sports Atlantic. For more information on season ticket packages and individual tickets, call (603) 862-4000, extension 5, or click here. For more information on the UNH hockey program, visit www.unhwildcats.com or follow UNH athletics on Twitter (@UNHWildcats).