Men’s Hockey: Huskies dominate Warriors

Forward Jonny Evans (#7) gathers for a shot on net in UConn’s win over Merrimack. (Kevin Lindstrom/The Daily Campus)

Forward Jonny Evans (#7) gathers for a shot on net in UConn’s win over Merrimack. (Kevin Lindstrom/The Daily Campus)

When Ruslan Iskhakov put the Huskies on the board less than two minutes into their 5-0 win over Merrimack, little did they know that would be all they needed.

However, the Huskies didn’t stop there, putting four more pucks in the net over the next 58 minutes for their largest margin of victory this season.

“I think that was maybe the most complete game I think our team has played all year long,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “With the exception of a six-minute stretch to start the second period, I thought we played very consistent. I thought we played diligent, smart and played the right way.”

The Huskies were in control from the moment they stepped on the ice, and despite only scoring the one goal in the first period, they had 18 shots on goal while only allowing Merrimack seven.

Then about halfway through the second quarter, the scoring barrage started for the Huskies.

Zac Robbins started things off, flicking a pass from Benjamin Freeman into the top-right corner of the net for his first goal of the season and second of his career.

Freeman didn’t want to settle for an assist, as about thirty seconds later he immediately took advantage of a Merrimack penalty by putting a pass from Iskhakov past the goaltender to take a 3-0 lead on a play that was eerily similar to the one immediately preceding it.

Then came Jonny Evans, who after assisting two of the previous three goals decided he wanted to get in on the scoring, too. After faking out seemingly half of the Merrimack team with some fancy stick skills, Evans flicked the puck just over the goaltender’s right shoulder to make it 4-0 with a little over five minutes left in the second period.

However, that wasn’t enough for Evans, who perfectly executed a give and go with Iskhakov and gave the Huskies a 5-0 lead, which it would stay at for the remainder of the game.

Multiple Huskies recorded at least two or more tonight, giving a good show for the largest home crowd ever for a UConn men’s hockey game.

Evans led the way with his two goals and two assists with fellow freshman Iskhakov. Freeman contributed a goal and an assist, and Max Kalter assisted on both of Evans’ scores.

“He’s a very talented player [Evans], he and Ruslan have found some magic together, and Max really kind of is the engine on their line, and those two have been very dynamic offensively,” Cavanaugh said. “They also did a great job on power play. We haven’t had many of those power plays where we come out and win the draw, move it, and score a goal right away like that, so that also gave our team a great confidence boost.”

Currently on a two-game winning streak, the Huskies seem to have shaken out of the scoring slump that plagued them for the previous six games. In fact, they have scored just two less goals these past two games than they did in all of the previous six when they went 0-5-1.

UConn has a matchup against the Boston University Terriers Friday to conclude a five-game homestand, where they will look to continue their recent hot streak.


Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu.