UConn men’s hockey dominated the Vermont Catamounts 5-1 at the XL Center in their penultimate game of the season. The Huskies got goals from Miles Gendron, Jonny Evans (2), Kale Howarth and Alexander Payusov.
Here’s how it went down:
Freshmen Trio Shines
After senior Miles Gendron opened the scoring for the Huskies, a trio of freshmen stole the show for UConn’s second goal of the night.
Ruslan Iskhakov stole the puck just inside the Huskies’ offensive zone and made a no-look, through-the-legs pass to Jonny Evans. Evans passed it to Jachym Kondelik, who gave it right back on the give-and-go. The puck slipped past multiple Vermont defenders sprawled out on the ice and Evans buried it into the wide-open net.
In the waning minutes of the game, Iskhakov launched a wild shot that found Evans’ stick in front of the net, who tipped it in for the UConn’s fifth goal of the night.
Evans’ eight goals this season is good for third on the team, Kondelik’s 22 assists lead the team while Iskhakov’s 15 assists ranks second.
There’s more to a team than three players, but Evans, Iskhakov and Kondelik (Not to mention Kale Howarth, who scored a wrap-around goal) are a heck of a core for UConn to build around in the coming years.
Vomacka Continues to Impress
While the Huskies’ freshmen forwards played well, so did their freshman goaltender Tomas Vomacka. He made 34 saves on the night and continued to come up with big saves. In the second half, Vomacka hasn’t allowed more than two goals in an outing. Most importantly, he isn’t allowing the soft goals that Huska has recently.
Since Vomacka took over the starting role from Adam Huska against Northeastern on Feb. 7, UConn has a 4-3 and has scored 16 goals while only allowing 10 goals when the freshman starts. It’s no coincidence that the Huskies’ late season renaissance began when Vomacka came in.
Vomacka still has plenty to work on — namely limiting rebound opportunities — but he has shown more than enough to prove he can be UConn’s starting goaltender for the next few seasons.
The Captain gives the #IceBus the early lead pic.twitter.com/p05KUpzIS6— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) March 2, 2019
Not too shabby from a trio of #IceBus rookies! OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH JONNY! pic.twitter.com/ysciIcZmaR— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) March 2, 2019
Here it is, Kale's 5th on the season to give the #IceBus a 3-0 lead in the 2nd. pic.twitter.com/3VKxdYQ6Db— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) March 2, 2019
Sasha Payusov's team-leading 16th goal of the season put the Huskies up 4-0! That was Newpower to Gendron to Payusov....tic-tac-toe#IceBus pic.twitter.com/pNl1jqGB6u— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) March 2, 2019
Jonny oh Jonny with his 2nd of the night! #IceBus with a 5-1 lead pic.twitter.com/Ho32aQm2BV— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) March 2, 2019
- Iskhakov was named Hockey East’s Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Month after notching three goals and six assists in February.
- UConn takes the season series over UVM, 2-1.
- Iskhakov’s three assists tied his career high, which he initially set on Nov. 30 against UMass.
- The Huskies improve to 6-6-2 at home this season.
UConn will close out their season next Friday against No. 2 UMass at the XL Center. The Minutemen already locked up the Hockey East regular season championship while the Huskies are eliminated from postseason contention. If UConn can keep playing the way they have over the past month and catch UMass looking ahead to the tournament, the Huskies are more than capable of pulling off the upset and heading into the offseason on a high note.