UConn men’s hockey has made an in-season acquisition, bringing in goaltender Matt Pasquale from the Northeast Generals of the NAHL, according to Jeff Cox of New England Hockey Journal. He is the fourth net-minder on the Huskies’ roster, joining starter Tomas Vomacka and backups Ryan Keane and Bradley Stone.
Despite having three goaltenders, UConn still felt it needed to add depth. Injuries and illness have ravaged every position at the roster, goaltender included. Stone missed time with mononucleosis in the first half and an unspecified illness in the second half. Vomacka missed the first game of the Ledyard Classic with an illness as well while Keane dealt with an arm injury early in the second half.
In at least two games this season — St. Lawrence and the most recent meeting with Merrimack — the Huskies only had one truly available, healthy goaltender. In both those cases, Keane was listed as a backup and dressed to not tip the opposition off, but the freshman wouldn’t have been capable of playing.
If the starter in either game got hurt, UConn would’ve been forced to play with six skaters for however much time remained, similar to pulling the goalie when trailing in the final minutes. That level of risk (and stress) was too much for the coaching staff to bear.
Pasquale will be the fifth New England native on the roster, hailing from North Reading, Massachusetts. His most recent stop is with the Northeast Generals of the NAHL, though he only started three games with them. Pasquale spent the two years prior with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, where he stopped .917 shots and allowed just 2.74 goals per game in 2018-19 before improving with a .924 save percentage with 2.60 goals per game this year before moving to Northeast.
At 6-foot-2, Pasquale has good size for a goaltender but also brings a calming demeanor to the back end. He sees the play well and has good lateral movement to get from post-to-post.
While it’s unlikely he’ll challenge Vomacka for the starting job, Pasquale will add some competition and also allow the team to manage Vomacka’s workload in practice better down the stretch.
While Pasquale isn’t a typical recruiting commitment, here’s a complete look at UConn’s commits:
2022: Forward Oliver Flynn
Unclassified: Forwards Ignat Belov, Mark D’Agostino, Sean Donaldson and Arseni Smekhnov; defenseman Malik Alishlalov