It’s been about a month since the UConn men’s hockey team season has come to a close. Since the Ice Bus was eliminated from the Hockey East playoffs with their loss to UMass Lowell on March 11 all the way to now, there have been many updates. Without further ado, let’s break it all down.
On Tuesday, the team announced the following 2022-23 season awards:
Most Valuable Player: Hudson Schandor
Rookie of the Year: Matthew Wood
Seventh Player Award: Justin Pearson and Ty Amonte
Silver Bowl Award: Roman Kinal
Coaches Award: Ryan Keane
Four days after the Huskies season ended on March 15, Ryan Tverberg announced his signing of a three-year entry level deal with the National Hockey League club, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas made the announcement that Tverberg will start his contract for the 2023-24 season. For the remainder of the 2022-23 season and the Calder Cup playoffs, Tverberg will report to the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League on a professional tryout. Tverberg was recently named to Hockey East Second Team All-Star after playing 35 games for the Huskies where he scored 15 goals with 15 assists for a total of 30 points. During the season, he had three game-winning goals and four power play goals. Over his three-year career in Storrs, Tverberg has skated in 85 games, scoring 33 goals with 36 assists for 69 total points. He was a two-time Hobey Baker Award nominee and was previously selected as a Hockey East First Team All-Star and named a Second Team All-American during his junior season with the Huskies.
Also on March 15, general manager Joe Will of the San Jose Barracuda announced that they have signed Roman Kinal to an ATO tryout. In his five-year career, Kinal has appeared in 121 games, scoring seven goals with 20 assists for a total of 27 points with 91 blocked shots. Kinal has also had five multi-point games for the Huskies. In his senior season, Kinal played in all 35 games, scoring two goals with five assists and seven points with 21 blocked shots.
Additionally, on March 16, the Cleveland Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ farm team, announced their signing of Justin Pearson to a two-year contract. In 25 games played for the Huskies, Pearson scored 12 goals with nine assists for a total of 21 points. Before coming to UConn, Pearson played four years at Yale and was named to the 2019-20 All-Ivy League Honorable Mention Team.
In addition to the NHL signings, UConn also lost sophomore goaltender Logan Terness to the transfer portal. The Huskies are also losing forward Amonte and goaltender Keane to graduation. As much as UConn is losing various pieces from last year’s squad, head coach Mike Cavanaugh and the rest of the staff have been busy building the roster for next season and there is a lot to look forward to.
For starters, on April 6, the team announced on Instagram that defensemen Harrison Rees and Jake Flynn are returning for a fifth year next season for the Ice Bus. Using their last year of eligibility from the COVID-19 season, the defensemen duo has proven their crucial impact on the Huskies defense since arriving to Storrs as part of the 2019 recruiting class. Over the past two seasons, Rees has led the team with 101 blocked shots while playing in 126 of 128 possible games for the Huskies. Consistency and being available to be on the ice can go a long way for a team, and that’s just one of the components that ‘The Reeser’ brings for UConn. On the other hand, Flynn was arguably the most productive defensemen for the Huskies last season with four goals and 10 assists while leading the team with a +18 on-ice goal differential (+4 higher than the next best player). His leadership is also huge for the Huskies as he is one of the most persistent players on the ice. In his time with the Huskies, Flynn has progressed into one of the best two-way defenseman in the Hockey East conference.
In place of defenseman Roman Kinal, the Huskies will most likely fill that spot with ‘03 prospect Owen Simpson who currently plays in the BCHL with the Penticton Vees. Along with the potential of securing Simpson, rising sophomores Jack Pascucci and Aiden Metcalfe will compete for the final spot on the defensive pairings. Rising seniors Andre Lucas, John Spetz and rising sophomore Tom Messineo are also in the mix for the next season’s defensive line with the return of Flynn and Rees.
Now to talk about the Huskies prospects: Some of them we will have to wait another season or two for their arrival, but so much potential lies at the feet of the Huskies. The most recent prospect that Connecticut announced is ‘05 forward Samuel Boisvert. A native from Quebec, Canada, Boisvert is listed at 6-foot-4, 181 pounds, with a left-handed shot. He recorded 31 goals and 54 assists with Mount Academy Saints U18 Varsity last year. Next season, he will play in the BCHL with the Nanaimo Clippers. Born on October 26, 2005, Boisvert is younger than UConn’s other ‘05 prospects, which makes him ineligible for the NHL Draft until 2024. He is not expected to make his debut in Storrs for at least two years, but he was recruited by top ECAC programs and other Hockey East schools and his ultimate decision was to play for the Huskies. Some other names of UConn’s ‘05 prospects which they announced a few months ago include defenseman Brady Smith, forward Ethan Gardula and forward Kaden Shahan. Additionally, UConn landed ‘04 prospect Joe Odyniec which was announced a few months ago.
Another addition to the Ice Bus, announced on April 3, is RPI transfer forward Ryan Mahshie. After the announcement of Terness entering the transfer portal, the Huskies landed their first transfer in Mahshie. He is listed at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds with a left-handed shot. Mahshie had the most goals of any current player in the portal with 15 last season and he led the RPI Engineers with 22 points. In his career, he has 24 goals and 21 assists in 85 games. RPI chose not to participate during the 2020-21 COVID-impact campaign which leaves Mahshie with two years of eligibility remaining as he just wrapped up his third season of college hockey. UConn is starting to fill the gaps quickly and there will only be more to come as the off-season progresses.
Whether the prospects are arriving in Storrs next year or in 2024 and beyond, the time will come for UConn men’s hockey. On Thursday, April 20, the UConn men’s hockey team took to Instagram to announce the 2023-24 captains: Harrison Rees, Jake Flynn and Hudson Schandor. With returning players and potential new Huskies, the Ice Bus is setting themselves up for success for many seasons to come.