DURHAM, N.H. - Steve Saviano (Reading, Mass.) scored two goals and assisted on the game-winning tally to propel the third-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Saturday night's 4-3 non-conference victory against Rensselaer at the Whittemore Center. UNH is now 9-3-1 and RPI is 7-4-2.
The Wildcats entered the third period trailing 3-2, but Saviano's second goal of the night and 12th of the season on a shot from the right circle into the upper-right corner of the net tied the score, 3-3, at 3:41. New Hampshire, which held leads of 1-0 and 2-1, went back in front 3:04 later when Justin Aikins (South Surrey, B.C.), standing in the low slot, redirected Sean Collins' (Reading, Mass.) centering pass from the right circle.
Rensselaer goaltender Nathan Marsters was pulled in favor of an extra skater with 58 seconds remaining. RPI, followed by UNH, called time out with 22.6 seconds to play. The Engineers maintained possession in the offensive zone, but the Wildcats withstood the late flurry that included two blocked shots and Scott Basiuk's shot from the top of the slot that sailed through traffic and wide left.
UNH goalie Jeff Pietrasiak (Shrewsbury, Mass.) finished with 16 saves while RPI's Marsters stopped 23 shots.
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead with an extra-skater goal at 7:19 of the first period. With RPI's Blake Pickett already in the penalty box for obstruction tripping, UNH' Pietrasiak was pulled on a delayed penalty call against the Engineers. Preston Callander (Regina, Sask.), with the assistance of Brett Hemingway (Surrey, B.C.) and Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ont.), scored from the right doorstep.
Rensselaer tied the game, 1-1, on a power-play goal at 17:55 when Scott Romfo's shot from the top of the left circle trickled across the goal line.
The Wildcats regained the lead, 2-1, at 5:22 of the second period when a shot from the slot by Saviano sailed into the upper-right corner of the net. The Engineers rallied to take a 3-2 lead through two periods. Nick Economakos scored a power-play goal on a shot from the right circle at 9:04. Conrad Barnes gave the visitors its first lead of the night, 3-2, with 19 seconds remaining in the middle stanza when his low shot from the left circle went through a screen and into the net.
UNH returns to action Dec. 5 (7 p.m.) at Clarkson University. The next Wildcat home game is Dec. 13 vs. Merrimack College. Game time at the Whittemore Center is 7 p.m.