This is the year to see what UConn men’s hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh is made of. The first class that played all four seasons in Hockey East graduated and all nine players contributed to a program-best fifth-place Hockey East finish in 2017-18.
Cavanaugh’s newest class of 12 freshmen to replace them was formally announced on Tuesday. The class is ranked No. 2 in Division I according to Neutral Zone and after five forwards departed, the class features eight forwards.
Committing on June 18, Ruslan Iskhakov, of Moscow, headlines this freshman class, as he was a second-round pick of the New York Islanders at No. 43 overall in June’s NHL Entry Draft. He is one of four draft picks coming to Storrs and played forward for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva in the Russian U-20 league last year, scoring 30 points (6-24—30) in 33 games as a 17-year-old.
Jáchym Kondelík followed him in the 2018 draft, at No. 111 overall to the Nashville Predators in the fourth round. The 18-year-old forward from the Czech Republic played in the USHL for 43 games, scoring 34 points (16-18—34) as a member of the Muskegon Lumberjacks. At 6-foot-6, Kondelík brings lots of size to the table for Cavanaugh.
The Predators also drafted fellow Czech freshman Tomas Vomacka in the fifth round of the 2017 draft (No. 154 overall). Vomacka was on the USHL’s Lincoln Stars last year and played in the second-most games out of all goaltenders in the league with 44 appearances and owned a 2.79 goals against average to go along with a .903 save percentage.
Drafted just eight picks ahead of Vomacka, Kale Howarth is property of the Columbus Blue Jackets and will also bring size at 6-foot-5. A forward, he was on the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL in 2017-18 and he scored 62 points (24-38—62) in just 44 games, good for 11th in the league. Howarth turned 21 in June.
Jordan Timmons was teammates with Kondelík for 19 games in 2016-17 on Muskegon as a fellow forward and after spending last season in Cedar Rapids. He had a scoring touch, grabbing 24 goals in 50 games.
Jonny Evans, smaller at 5-foot-9, is one of two Powell River Kings in the class and scored almost a point per game in his career with the squad, with 190 points (82-108—190) in 194 games as a forward.
His teammate in Powell River, fellow forward Carter Turnbull, stands at 5-foot-8 and was also at nearly a point per game (78-75—153) in 155 career games, scoring 30 goals in 51 contests in 2017-18.
Corson Green is one of three defensemen and three New Yorkers joining the Huskies after playing with both the Sioux Falls Stampede and Central Illinois Flying Aces of the USHL. He grabbed nine points (2-7—9) and won the Clark Cup Championship with current UConn sophomore Adam Karashik in 2016-17.
Marc Gatcomb, a 6-foot-2 forward from Woburn, Massachusetts, is the only incoming freshman with a Connecticut connection, as he played the last two seasons at The Gunnery Prep School in Washington, Connecticut. He had 27 goals and 26 assists in 63 games across his two seasons.
Roman Kinal is a 6-foot-2 defenseman who comes to the Huskies from Dubuque of the USHL. He had eight points (1-7—8) in 51 games for the Fighting Saints.
Ryan Wheeler had 25 assists as a blue-liner for the New Jersey Junior Titans in the NAHL last season and in 2016-17, earned the league’s community service award.
John Wojciechowski was a member of Langley in the BCHL and was third on the team with 33 points (14-19—33).