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UConn men’s hockey lands two transfer forwards

The Huskies are aiming to reload after coming up one goal short of winning the Hockey East championship.

Maine v Massachusetts-Lowell Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

UConn men’s hockey’s dive into the transfer portal is underway. According to a source, the Huskies added two transfer forwards on Saturday: Yale’s Justin Pearson and Maine’s Adam Dawe.

Both players are coming off down years (six goals, five assists, 11 points for Dawe; three goals, eight assists, 11 points for Pearson) but they each played on teams that ranked in the bottom 10 nationally in Pairwise. The two have proven themselves to be productive earlier in their career — Dawe led Maine in points (five goals, nine assists, 11 points); Pearson was Yale’s second-leading scorer and points-getter in 2019-20 (14 goals, 10 assists, 24 points) — and the Huskies are banking on them regaining that form.

Dawe is described as a passer who would thrive on a line with scorers. He’s also “feisty,” the source said, and is out to prove this past season was an anomaly. As for Pearson, he played with former UConn forward Kevin O’Neil during the 2019-20 season with Yale and put up better numbers than him.

The Bulldogs did not play during the COVID-marred 2020-21 campaign and much of the roster departed. Like Dawe, the Huskies expect Pearson’s numbers to bounce back with a stronger surrounding cast.

As of now, UConn is set to lose at least nine forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender due to graduation, the pros and the transfer portal. While the Huskies will bring in goaltender Arsenii Sergeev to compete with rising sophomore Logan Terness for the starting job between the pipes next season, most of their other high-profile additions will come through the transfer portal.

In addition to Dawe and Pearson, UConn is also closing in on one of the top offensive defensemen in the portal and also plans to add two more impact forwards from the transfer market as well. The Huskies will also bring in one of their top prospects a year earlier than expected, along with five or six additional freshmen forwards.

Up until last season, UConn had rarely added transfers, instead preferring to bring in freshmen and develop them over four seasons. But with the NCAA loosening transfer rules, the influx of fifth-year seniors using their bonus COVID season and the Huskies’ heavy losses, their philosophy is shifting — at least for this offseason.