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Men's Hockey Earns Comeback Win Over No. 16 Quinnipiac, 5-3

Liljegren hat trick helps Engineers snap 14-game winless streak against Bobcats

TROY, N.Y. – Senior Viktor Liljegren registered his first collegiate hat trick to lead the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men's hockey team to a come-from-behind 5-3 victory over No. 16 Quinnipiac University, on Friday night at the Houston Field House. With the win, the Engineers improve to 2-4-3 overall (1-3-1 ECAC Hockey), while the Bobcats drop to 3-4-1 (0-3-0 ECAC Hockey).

Trailing 3-1 after the first period, the Engineers scored twice in the second to tie it, before netting a pair of late third period goals to secure their first conference win of the season.

Sophomore Jacob Hayhurst brought RPI to within 3-2 at 7:24 of the second period, jamming home his fourth goal of the year from close range. Classmate Patrick Polino found him at the edge of the crease, where he was able to win a puck battle for the puck, sticking it past Bobcats freshman netminder Keith Petruzzelli (Wilbraham, MA/Muskegon Lumberjacks).

Liljegren (Stockholm, Sweden/Fairbanks Ice Dogs) tied the game at 3-3 exactly two minutes later, when his shot from the right circle deflected off the skate of a Quinnipiac defender and inside the right post for the first of his three on the night. Freshman Troy York (Plano, TX/Lone Star) earned the assist on the equalizing goal.

A tightly checked third period began to open up as it went along and the Engineers finally took advantage with 1:32 to play in regulation. Senior defenseman Jared Wilson (Calgary, AB/Vernon Vipers) sparked a 2-on-1 break for Liljegren and junior Brady Wiffen (St. Mary's, ON/Trenton Golden Hawks) up the right wing boards. Liljegren drove to the right side of the net, before firing just inside the left post to give RPI a 4-3 lead.

Quinnipiac lifted sophomore goalie Andrew Shortridge (Anchorage, AK/Vernon Vipers) with 1:18 to play, but a break the other way saw Liljegren finish off the hat trick, taking a cross-ice feed from Polino in the neutral zone and burying RPI's fifth goal from close range.

Senior Landon Smith (Greenwood Village, CO/Salmon Arm Silverbacks) and junior captain Chase Priskie (Pembroke Pines, FL/Salmon Arm Silverbacks) gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, 3:23 into the first period. Smith deked past RPI junior goaltender Chase Perry (Andover, MN/Wenatchee Wild) for his second goal of the season, while Priskie's third of the campaign came on the power play.

RPI sophomore Will Reilly (Toronto, ON/Nanaimo Clippers) pulled one back (2-1) at 12:34 of the first, ripping a shot past Petruzzelli from the bottom of the left circle, after Polino found him alone.

Bobcats junior Craig Martin (Trail, BC/Trail Smoke Eaters) answered at 18:38 of the frame, however, making it a two goal game once again (3-1).

Rensselaer snapped a 14-game winless streak (0-9-5) against the Bobcats, which dated back to 2010. The hat trick for Liljegren was RPI's first since Riley Bourbonnais '17 had three on October 31, 2014 in a 6-1 win over Union College at the Houston Field House and the program's first ever against Quinnipiac.

Perry (1-4-2) finished with 36 saves, including all 13 shots he faced on the third period. Shortridge (2-3-1) took the loss in a relief effort that spanned the final 29:04. He made six saves, while Petruzzelli made eight over the opening 29:06. The Bobcats finished 2 for 5 on the power play, while Rensselaer was 0 for 6.

Polino finished with three assists, while Hayhurst had a goal and an assist. York chipped in with a pair of helpers. Quinnipiac was paced by a goal and an assist each from Priskie and Martin, while freshman Odeen Tufto (Chaska, Minnesota/Sioux City Musketeers) had two assists.

The Engineers are back in action tomorrow night, when they host Princeton University at the Houston Field House (7pm). Quinnipiac visits the Dutchmen (7pm).