Huskies enter pivotal season with new head coach
Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08
When you think of UConn, it sometimes can be easy to forget about other sports besides UConn basketball, due to the school’s dominance in the sport. One sport that people should be keeping an eye out for, however, is the UConn men’s hockey team.
UConn had a very unusual season last year. The team got off to a very tough start, with an 0-5-1 record before Head Coach Bruce Marshall took a leave of absence in November and ultimately his retirement in January. The team did not give up; instead, they became rejuvenated, ending their season with a 19-4-4 record, securing a first round bye along the way. They even gave NCAA finalist Quinipiac a game for the ages in a 2-1 defeat, and after New Years, they had one of the nation’s five best records.
The team is entering its final year in Atlantic Hockey before they knock on the door of college hockey royalty, Hockey East. The powerhouse of college ice hockey awaits the Huskies in the 2014-15 season. Fans do not have to wait until 2014 to witness exciting puck action, however, due to the fact that some of college hockey’s finest will be sizing up the Huskies on the ice this season.
The Huskies will once again host the UConn Classic in December, a tournament that will feature Quinnipiac. In October, UConn will play 2012 Frozen Four participant Union. The Huskies will face two Hockey East opponents in November, travelling to both Providence (Nov. 9) and Boston University (Nov. 17). It will be thrilling to watch UConn play some of the best teams college hockey has to offer.
Believe it or not, two former Frozen Four opponents and two future conference foes aren’t the only exciting thing that awaits fans this season. UConn has nine talented incoming freshman set to join the team in the fall, headlined by Ryan Segalla of Hanover Mass. Segalla is an exceptional two-way defensemen who was wooed by many elite hockey programs, but was first recruited by UConn. Segalla decided to choose Storrs as his home ice due to feeling a sense of loyalty to the school that offered him their first full scholarship early in the recruiting process. Segalla was of course hesitant about the team having a new coach, but later said, “He wanted to be loyal to the school.” On June 30, Segalla made headlines a second time when he became the first Husky selected in the NHL Entry Draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins selected the young blood in the 4th round of the draft. A lot of expectations lies on the shoulders of a player with that much talent but new coach Mike Cavanaugh is sure Segalla will fulfill all expectations.
Cavanaugh also plans on living up to high expectations set for him as he prepares for his head coaching position. Cavanaugh, a native of North Andover Mass., was officially introduced as the fourth head coach in the program’s history over the summer. Cavanaugh seems to be the perfect man for the job due to 18 years of coaching experience at Boston College. As BC’s assistant head coach, Cavanaugh was a part of four National Championships and 10 Frozen Fours. As you can imagine, he knows hockey talent when he sees it. Cavanaugh has a lot of work in front of him, trying to match the talent level at Storrs to his old job at Boston College. He seems to be already on the right path due to being able to reel in Segalla, who not only adds talent, but more importantly leadership to a squad who will be facing the top teams in the country for years to come.