TROY, N.Y. - After two periods of scoreless hockey the UConn Huskies put three on the board in third on the way to 3-1 win at Rensselaer Saturday night at Houston Field House. Junior Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) scored twice while senior Max Kalter (Highland Park, Ill.) provided the game-winner as the UConn evens its record at 2-2-0 on the year.
Husky freshman Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic) made his first collegiate start in goal and made 23 saves to earn his first career victory. The Huskies finished with a 32-24 edge on shots but were 0-3 on the power play.
After 40 minutes of scoreless play, UConn jumped up 1-0 just 37 seconds into the third on Payusov's first of the night. RPI tied the game up at 1-1 on a rebound goal from Will Reilly at 4:32.
The Huskies grabbed the lead for good at the 9:26 mark as Kalter put home a sweet feed from junior Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine), his first of the year. Payusov put the icing on the cake with 1:16 left, getting an empty netter for the 3-1 final.
RPI goaltender Linden Marshall made 29 saves in taking the loss.
The two teams played a tight first period with the Huskies holding a 10-4 edge on the shot chart. RPI killed off both UConn power play chances but came up empty on their only chance with the extra skater.
The second period played out much like the first as each team came up empty on a power play chance. Shots were even at 11-11 in the period with the Huskies nearly putting the game's first goal on the board with 7:30 left. Junior Philip Nyberg (Linkoping, Sweden) took a feed into the RPI zone and rifled one past Marshall but rang his shot off the far post.
After 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, both teams traded goals in the first four and half minutes of the final period. The Huskies needed just 37 seconds to take a 1-0 lead as Payusov put his third of the year in the net. Coming off a face-off in the RPI zone, Payusov took the puck from Corson Green (Potsdam, N.Y.) and fired from above the left circle, weaving one through traffic past Marshall.
The Engineers answered back at 4:32 as Reilly collected a bouncing puck in front of a pile up in front of Vomacka and buried it at the left post, his first of the season, knotting the game up at 1-1.
Kalter provided the game winner at the 9:26 mark with his first of the season. Sophomore Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.) chipped the puck up to Freeman who made a wonderful pass from below the red line to a Kalter on the left dot, who buried it for a 2-1 lead.
Payusov put the game away in the closing minutes as they Huskies broke out of the zone and he took a feed from Rigali to beat the defense up ice for the empty net goal, his second of the night and fourth of the season.
After four-straight to open the season the Huskies will return home next weekend to host the Maine Black Bears in a two-game Hockey East series at XL Center. Face-off on Friday night is 7:05 pm and on Saturday, the puck drops at 3:05 pm.