Men's Hockey: UConn returns to action against in-state rival Yale

UConn's Derek Pratt takes a shot in the Huskies' 2-1 loss to Boston University on Nov. 18, 2016 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

UConn's Derek Pratt takes a shot in the Huskies' 2-1 loss to Boston University on Nov. 18, 2016 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

Fresh off of winning the Desert Hockey Classic, the UConn men’s hockey team returns home to take on in-state rivals Yale.

In the tournament held in Arizona, the Huskies (8-6-6) defeated No.18 St. Cloud State 4-3 and Brown4-1. With the wins, the Huskies move to five games undefeated, including four wins.

The Huskies have never defeated the Bulldogs (5-6-2) in the 11 meetings between the two that date back to 1971.

Heading into this weekend's matchup Yale is coming off a 5-4 win over Northeastern earlier in the week. After taking on UConn, Yale will face its third straight Hockey East rival in Providence on Tuesday night.

Two players the Huskies will have to watch out for are senior John Hayden and sophomore Joe Snively. Both players have 17 points individually this season. Hayden’s 17 points include 11 goals, eight of them coming on the power play, the best in the country. Senior Patrick Spano, who boasts 2.86 goals against average with a .891 save percentage this season, will likely be in goal for the Bulldogs.

Sophomore forward Tage Thompson and freshman goaltender Adam Huska will be returning for the Huskies after representing their countries in the IIHF World Junior Championships in Canada. Thompson will be bringing a gold medal back to Storrs as he and team USA won the tournament, and both players will be available for the Huskies against Yale. Thompson is the team's leading scorer, so it will be interesting to see how head coach Mike Cavanaugh handles his minutes. Before heading to Canada, Huska had started the Huskies last two games, after splitting time earlier in the season with senior Rob Nichols.

UConn and Yale will meet again in 2018 in Northern Ireland in the Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four. The Friendship Four is an annual hockey tournament that began in 2015 and is held in Belfast. The Huskies and Bulldogs were announced as part of the 2018 field Friday along with Boston University and Union College in a press conference at Frozen Fenway.

"The UConn hockey program is excited to be playing in this event.  The Friendship Four has grown into a premier event for college hockey and will be a tremendous experience for our student-athletes,” Cavanaugh said.


Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at antonio.salazar@uconn.edu.