Men’s Hockey Notebook: Evans-Iskhakov chemistry on display once again

Jonny Evans (#7) celebrates following a goal. (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

Jonny Evans (#7) celebrates following a goal. (Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

The Huskies cruised past Vermont on Friday, winning 5-1 and putting on a show for all those in attendance.

Not only that, but once again the crowd got to witness the chemistry between freshmen Ruslan Iskhakov, who had three assists, and Jonny Evans, who had two goals. In fact, Iskhakov had a part in both of Evans’ goals, as he often started the attack before passing the baton to Evans to finish the job.

“They play off each other really well,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “They’re strong sticks, they win a lot of puck battles, and they’re just, they have some magic together the two of them.”

This is nothing new, as in recent weeks the Iskhakov-Evans connection has been instrumental to the team’s success.

Evans, who missed over a month of the season due to injury, has been crushing it since the start of February, scoring five goals and five assists over that span.

“Jonny gives us so much depth because of his skill and the way that he and Ruslan work together, the chemistry they’ve found,” Huskies captain Miles Gendron, said. “It sucks we didn’t have him the whole year, but you gotta play with the cards you’re dealt.”

Iskhakov has five goals and 15 assists on the season, with three of the goals and nine of the assists coming since the start of February. He broke out of a 10-game slump where he failed to record a single point on Feb. 1, which also happened to be Evans’ first game back on the ice after missing over two months.

“He’s 18 years old and he’s coming from Russia. It’s not an easy adjustment,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s not used to the style of play that’s played over here in North America, I think that was an adjustment. Academically it’s a whole new curriculum for him, that’s an adjustment. Now I think you’re starting to see the player that we saw when we recruited him. I think he has potential to be a real special player.”

The two of them have a combined eight goals since Feb. 1, and on all but three occasions they each had a hand in the goal.

“He’s [Evans] a great player. He had three goals in the first fifteen games as a freshman,” Cavanaugh said following the Huskies’ 5-0 routing of Merrimack. “He’s a very talented player. He and Ruslan have found some magic together.”

Both Evans and Iskhakov are well aware of the chemistry they have formed and are just enjoying the ride.

“In the beginning of the year we had mock power play, and we just were on there together helping our PK out and we just kind of built chemistry,” Evans said. “Now we’re playing on the line together and it’s really, really fun.”


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