Men’s Hockey Downs RIT, 6-3

TROY, N.Y. ­­– Sophomore Evan Tironese and senior captain Riley Bourbonnais combined for eight points to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team to a 6-3 win over Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on Saturday night at the Houston Field House. With the win, the Engineers improve to 1-3-1, while the Tigers drop to 1-3-1.

After senior Caleb Cameron (Sunridge, ON/Listowel Cyclones) gave the visitors an early 1-0 lead, RPI drew even on a shorthanded goal by Bourbonnais (Rochester, NY/Lincoln Stars), was found breaking up ice by Tironese (Qualicum Beach, BC/Alberni Valley Bulldogs) at 14:12 of the opening stanza.

The game was tied at 1-1 after the first, with the Engineers holding a narrow 7-5 edge in shots.

RPI came out firing to start the second, scoring two goals in quick succession. Junior Mike Prapavessis netted his first of the year at 1:08, on the power play. Just 33 seconds later, Tironese buried his third goal of season a wraparound, with assists going to seniors Jake Wood and Parker Reno.

Sophomore Gabe Valenzuela brought RIT within 3-2 at 4:01 of the period, waiting out sophomore goaltender Cam Hackett, before roofing a shot into the top of the net. Helpers on Valenzuela’s second of the year went to classmate Abbot Girduckis (Belleville, ON/Wellington Dukes) and junior captain Brady Norrish (Strongfieldd, SK/Yorkton Terriers).

The Tigers drew even at 14:05 of the second, on Erik Brown’s (Keene, ON/Kemptville 73’s) second goal of the weekend and third of the season. Junior Chase Norrish (Strongfield, SK/Yorkton Terriers) and Caledon, ON/North York Rangers) had assists.

A late power play goal from junior defenseman Jared Wilson put the hosts on top 4-3 heading into the final period.

RIT came out strong in the third, but were unable to sneak a puck past Hackett, who turned away all 13 shots in the frame.

Rensselaer created some breathing room at 15:05 of the period, when Bourbonnais and Tironese broke into the offensive zone on a 2-on-0 break. The two played catch across the face of the net, before Bourbonnais slammed home his second of the night and third of the season.

Wood added an empty-netter at 18:42 to cap the scoring. Sophomore Tommy Grant and Tironese had the assists.

Hackett (1-0) finished with 28 saves, while RIT starter Christian Short (Vaughan, ON/Surrey Eagles) had seven stops on just 10 shots in the opening 21:41. He was replaced by senior Mike Rotolo (Rochester, NY/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), who had 18 saves, but was saddled with the loss (1-3-1).

The Engineers return to action next weekend, when they open ECAC Hockey play with a home-and-home series with Union, starting on Friday at the Houston Field House (7pm). RIT visits Bentley for two next weekend.

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