Last year’s freshmen class was special for UConn hockey. Maxim Letunov and Tage Thompson led the team in points in their freshman campaigns with 40 and 32 points, respectively.
When addressing the press on media day, head coach Mike Cavanaugh said he is hoping for more of the same in regards to point production from his incoming class this year.
“I think it’s a good class,” Cavanaugh said. “I’m not looking for one of them to make a big imprint. What I’d like is collectively as a group for all of them to have an impact on our season. In the most successful programs, you don’t rely on your freshmen to carry the load early on.”
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) September 29, 2016
The Huskies are bringing in one goalie, two defensemen and four forwards this year. One of the forwards includes University of Maine transfer Brian Morgan. The senior, from Windham, New Hampshire, is hoping to bring experience to this UConn team.
“I’ve played three years in Hockey East so I have that comfort level. I know what to expect. I know the teams we’re playing against, so I think I can step in and help the team,” Morgan said. “I’m coming in expecting to help the team in every way I can to win. I’m hoping to add a level of leadership, being a senior. I want to help in any way I can, on and off the ice.”
With incoming freshman goaltender Adam Huska, the Huskies have four goalies on the roster including Tanner Creel, Steve Thulin and expected starter Rob Nichols. When asked about the competition at goaltender, Nichols had only good things to say.
“I think it only makes us better,” Nichols said. “Everyday we have to be our best otherwise we’re not going to stand out. We’re really just trying to feed off of each other.”
The captain for the Huskies this year will be junior defenseman Derek Pratt. Pratt, a Massachusetts native, wore a letter last year before getting the promotion to captain this season.
“Everywhere I’ve been I’ve tried to lead by example,” Pratt said. “I’m honored by the opportunity.”
Both Pratt and Cavanaugh said they have not made any decisions yet about who will wear a letter this season, but they both have a few prospects in mind.
“Everyone in the locker room’s been great. We have handful of guy that could wear a letter,” said Pratt. “We obviously haven’t decided yet, but we have a room full of leaders. It’s good to see.”
— Hockey East (@hockey_east) September 27, 2016
Also in attendance on Media Day was sophomore forward Max Letunov, who was feeling the excitement from around the team.
“It’s a great group of guys,” said Letunov. “I’m really excited from what I saw so far in practices, and I’m especially excited to see them in a game on Saturday.”
Last year, Letunov finished as the team leader in goals, assists, and points. Following a campaign like that, there is not much one would want to change in their approach.
“I don’t think I want to change too much, I just want to play hard,” said Letunov. “We want to make a national tournament and go as far as we can. And I just want to help the team to succeed and reach that goal. I’ll do anything that it takes.”