|Quinnipiac at UConn in the 2017-2018 season|
UConn Head Coach: Mike Cavanaugh (6th season) 67-89-25
2018-2019 UConn record: 1-0
All-time vs. Vermont: Quinnipiac leads series 18-11-2
University of Connecticut Key Players: Alexander Payusov (F), Benjamin Freeman (F), Jachym Kondelik (F), Kale Howarth (F), Ruslan Iskhakov (F), Miles Gendron (D), Philip Nyberg (D), Adam Huska (G)
The Connecticut Huskies opened their season with a 5-2 win over the United States Military Academy this past Friday. Mike Cavanaugh's team is very young with 11 new freshman into the fold and 17 underclassmen on the roster. While they may be young and have inexperience they do have some talent on the roster in the form of 7 NHL draft picks including four of them who are freshman. The Huskies were picked 8th in the preseason Hockey East coaches poll.
UConn lost its top two scorers from a season ago when Max Letunov signed professionally and Spencer Naas graduated. That is 52 points of offense they will have to replace. Juniors Benjamin Freeman and Alexander Payusov are the top two returning scorers for the Huskies who had 21 and 20 points respectively as season ago. Seniors Karl El-Mir and Max Kalter need to provide more offense as well. Three impact freshman NHL draft picks arrive on campus in Jachym Kondelik, Kale Howarth and Ruslan Iskhakov. Kondelik and Iskhakov have four points already on the young season. One other freshman to watch for is Jonny Evans (1 assist) who had 190 points in 194 games in the BCHL.
The Huskies have a very tall defense led by captain Miles Gendron and Philip Nyberg the two lone draft picks on the blue line. Five of the seven defenseman stand 6'2 or taller but of the seven defenseman four of them are underclassmen so there is some youth and inexperience back there. This might be an area where UConn is vulnerable and where Quinnipiac could take advantage.
Junior goaltender Adam Huska a New York Rangers draft pick has played the majority of the games the past two season got the start against Army and was strong giving up two goals and finishing the game with a .941 save percentage. Last season Huska finished with a 2.59 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. The Huskies also have a talented freshman in Tomas Vomacka a 5th round draft pick of the Nashville Predators who will push Huska this season to be better in net.
Fresh off a thrilling 3-2 come from behind win over Vermont, Quinnipiac now plays it home opener with instate rival UConn. Its another good chance for the Quinnipiac freshman to continue to improve and contribute and for the Bobcats, a chance to pick up another win against a Hockey East program and to build confidence going into Friday nights premiere match-up at home against Boston College.
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