After having more than three weeks off, UConn men’s hockey returns for the second half of the season against the Yale Bulldogs. The Huskies have already met their in-state rivals once earlier this season, across the pond in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the Friendship Four, a game Yale won, 6-3.
UConn will be looking to snap a pair of losing streaks in the Elm City on Monday. The Huskies have never won against Yale — holding an 0-12-0 all-time record against the Bulldogs. UConn has also dropped seven-straight, with their last win coming Nov. 13 against Brown.
If the Huskies are to pull off the upset, they’ll need to do it without stud freshman and points leader Jachym Kondelik, who is away with the Czech Republic at the World Juniors Championship. Kondelik is tied for a conference-high 13 assists along with a goal for 14 points on the season.
The freshmen played a big role in the first half, collecting 11 goals and 29 assists as a class. UConn is hoping they will continue improving as the season goes on and can turn the tough losses where they’ve outplayed opponents into victories in the second half.
The Bulldogs come in at 7-3-2 on the season and are ranked No. 15 out of 60 schools in Pairwise rankings. UConn is No. 50.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are powered by senior forward Joe Snively, who leads the team in points (17), goals (eight) and assists (nine). He scored one goal in the previous matchup with the Huskies. Yale’s other top point producers are sophomore Kevin O’Neil with 11 and freshmen Justin Pearson and Jack St. Ivany, both with eight points each.
In goal, Corbin Kaczperski and Sam Tucker have split time almost exactly, with Kaczperski playing 367:33 and Tucker getting 359:03 between the pipes. Tucker has been the better goaltender, allowing just 2.01 goals against and holding a .931 save percentage to Kaczperski’s 2.29 GAA and .905 save percentage.
UConn in the First Half
The Huskies will begin the second half the same way they spent much of the first half: On the road. UConn played just five of their first 21 games at the XL Center and will be on the road for their next four games. They don’t return to their home ice until Jan. 12 against RPI.
As impressive as the freshmen have been at times, the upperclassmen have carrier scoring load. Senior Karl El-Mir and junior Alexander Payusov lead the team with nine goals each. The next closest is senior Max Kalter with five goals.
One of the biggest problems that plagued the Huskies in the first half was consistency. They really didn’t play a complete game the entire season and were prone to blowing leads late in games or letting a close game in the final period turn into a blowout. UConn isn’t short on talent like some of their early Hockey East teams, they just need to start putting together full 60-minute performances.
How to Watch
When: Jan. 31, 4:00 p.m. EST
Where: Ingalls Rink, New Haven, CT
Stream: ESPN+ (Subscription)
Radio: UConn IMG Network — 97.9 ESPN Hartford | WILI 1400 AM | 95.3 FM