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UConn Men’s Hockey Welcomes Seven New Faces

Six freshmen and one graduate student will join the Huskies this season.

hockey Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On Thursday, UConn men’s hockey announced their newcomers for the coming season, including a graduate transfer who played at Maine last season. The class has some international flavor, with players hailing from both Slovakia and Canada. The five American players come from four different states.

Two are from Minnesota, which has become a pipeline for the Huskies. Rising juniors Spencer Naas and Johnny Austin are both from Minnesota and now the state has produced the second-most Huskies currently on the roster, trailing only Massachusetts (6).

Benjamin Freeman hails from Falmouth, Maine but played his junior hockey in Connecticut for the Jr. Rangers in the USPHL after he attended Northfield Mount Hermon. He played in 43 games for the Jr. Rangers last season, putting up 38 points (20-18—38) as a forward. Freeman is a member of the 100-point club at Northfield Mount Herman.

Justin Howell comes to the Huskies after playing forward for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL. He is from Saint Paul, Minnesota and scored 24 points (13-11—24) in 55 games for the Buccaneers, finishing eighth on the team in points. In three years at the high school level, he finished with 75 points for St. Paul Johnson High School.

Adam Huska is a goaltender from Zvolen, Slovakia. He is a seventh round pick of the New York Rangers, in 2015 who spent the last two seasons for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL and last season earned USHL Goaltender of the Year and took a spot on the All-USHL first team. His goals against average and save percentage both led the league, at 1.82 and .931, respectively. He had a record of 26-9-2 and had four shutouts. Huska has also competed for Slovakia the last three years at the junior level. He is expected to compete with incumbent Rob Nichols for playing time.

Brian Morgan, a forward of Windham, New Hampshire, is immediately eligible as a graduate transfer after playing three seasons for Maine. He played in 103 games for the Black Bears, scoring 32 points (17-15—32). In each of his seasons at Maine, he was a Hockey East All-Academic Team selection.

Bryan Nelson, from Upton, Massachusetts joins the class as one of two defensemen. He spent last year on the Connecticut Jr. Rangers alongside Freeman. He also spent time in the BCHL, playing for the West Kelowna Warriors. He spent the bulk of his time with the Warriors, netting five points (1-4—5).

Wyatt Newpower is the other defenseman in the class and is the other Minnesotan, hailing from Hugo. He did not play junior hockey and comes right from the high school ranks, having spent four years at White Bear Lake Area High School where he scored 72 points (18-54—72). He registered 20 points (8-12—20) in 25 games as a senior to lead his team.

Alexandre Payusov, who is from Montreal, Quebec, played forward last season for the Madison Capitols of the USHL. He appeared in 57 games and registered 31 points (17-14—31). In 2014-2015 he also played in the USHL but for the Sioux City Musketeers. In 47 games he had 10 points (3-7—10).