The UConn men’s hockey team will be taking the rink at Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena this weekend for the Connecticut Ice 2022 College Hockey Tournament. Play for the entire tournament, which will be hosted by SportsNet New York, opens Saturday at 3:30 p.m, with UConn facing off against Yale University.
The first tournament took place in January 2020, but there was no 2021 event due to COVID-19. The weekend featured UConn, Yale, Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart, with Sacred Heart claiming victory on Sunday. Earlier this season, SNY president Steve Raab announced plans to continue with Connecticut Ice in 2022 and offered the four teams a chance to meet again.
“After a successful inaugural tournament in January 2020, we are thrilled to maintain our commitment to growing Connecticut Ice,” Raab said last fall. “With the support of the four schools and our partners at the City of Bridgeport and Webster Bank Arena, we are looking forward to another battle among the state’s four NCAA Division I hockey programs and the opportunity to provide spirited, homegrown entertainment for everybody in Connecticut.”
UConn and Yale haven’t met since the 2020 tournament, in which the Bulldogs beat the Huskies 3-2 in the second round after losing to Quinnipiac by the same score. In UConn’s history of playing against Yale, the Huskies have only won once. This was on New Year’s Eve of the 2018-19 season, when UConn traveled to Yale and beat them on home ice for the first time in program history..
Going into Saturday afternoon, UConn has an overall record of 11-10-0 as itcomes off a Tuesday night win over Merrimack College. Yale’s record is 5-10-1 following its most recent win over Union College, 3-2. Yale is a member of ECAC Hockey and is 4-7-1 in conference play. UConn’s Hockey East record is 5-4-0.
After UConn and Yale play, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac will continue the action with their game at 7 p.m. The winners of each game will play each other on Sunday, while the losing teams will play for the consolation prize. UConn could play either Sacred Heart or Quinnipiac on Sunday in either game.
The Huskiesopened the season against Sacred Heart and beat the Pioneers 6-3, but haven’t seen Quinnipiac since their 3-2 loss in 2020’s tournament. Like Yale, Quinnipiac has historically been a tough matchup, and UConn secured a win only once back in 2014.
Nonetheless, UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh feels his team is well prepared. Cavanaugh emphasized both the win over Merrimack, and the win over New Hampshire to close out last weekend.He noted the team is looking forward to playing what he believes is their best hockey as they continue through the season, with a lot to come from both veteran and rookie players.
“We have a bunch of guys that, because it’s been two years, haven’t played in the tournament but we also have a pretty senior-laden group that has,” Cavanaugh said. “These kids have grown up playing in tournaments their whole life. I think it’s going to be more excitement than nerves come this weekend.”
Tickets for Connecticut Ice 2022 are still on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. SNY will also be streaming the tournament all weekend.