The no. 7 University of Rhode Island men’s hockey team escaped Saturday night with a 4-3 win over no. 14 University of Delaware at Bradford R. Boss Ice Arena after losing 4-1 on Friday.

Rhode Island remains in first place in the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League by one point over second-place Stony Brook University after the series split.

The match Friday night was less about what Delaware did than about what Rhode Island could not do.  The Rams put up 43 shots compared to just 19 for Delaware, but that resulted in just one goal for the Rams as the Blue Hens were active and ultimately made it easy for goaltender Dylan Troiano to come up with the stops.

Saturday night was a different story for the Rhode Island offense.  The high shot total was still there, but this time the Rams were able to capitalize on their shots. Rhode Island started off slow, though, only being able to muster 12 shots-on-goal to Delaware’s eight during the first period.

The second period however was not as clean as the first, which only saw one infraction, with the Blue Hens committing six penalties and the Rams committing three. Despite committing double the penalties in the period alone, the Blue Hens would go on the board first with a goal from center Cole Zucker to give Delaware a 1-0 lead 11 minutes into the period.

“They definitely have some skilled players” Rhode Island head coach Joe Augustine said. “It was a tough match. They have a good team. We were able to keep them on the outside and block some shots which really helped us hang on at the end.”

The lead however would be short-lived, as just 39 seconds later the Rams would go on the board with a power-play goal from freshman Matthew Armenti, with assists from junior Robbie Buehrer and sophomore Billy D’Amore, knotting the score at 1-1. The offensive explosion continued for the Rams as sophomore James Blute would score just 43 seconds later off a feed from sophomore Steven Donahue, putting the Rams up 2-1.

Rhode Island was not done scoring as just more than a minute later junior Mark Luciano put the puck in the back of the net, giving the Rams a 3-1 edge just more than two minutes after Delaware netted its first score.

“We [Cameron Schneck, Matthew DaSilva and I] definitely do not have the most talented line, but we forecheck hard and that leads to chances” Luciano said. “We just play hard and bang bodies.”

Holding a 3-1 edge going into the third period, the Rams looked to ice their victory, but Delaware’s Vincent Zingarelli scored only 21 seconds after the intermission, cutting the lead to 3-2.

The Rams would not fold as they scored their own goal just a minute later after Luciano found the back of the net again, while being assisted by senior Schneck and junior DaSilva for a second time.  The 4-2 lead would hold up until the Rams took a penalty and Zingarelli, again, capitalized closing the score to 4-3 with 10 minutes remaining for the final goal of the contest.

Rhode Island sophomore goaltender Caleb Neal made 25 saves on 28 shots-on-goal to collect his second win of the season.

The Rams will face last-place West Chester University Friday night looking to build on their most recent win. West Chester (3-10) is coming off an 8-1 loss to Towson University.