The University of Connecticut since their first year in the ECRHA’s premier division, has been steadily on the climb to the top of the standings year after year; however the journey the program has taken has by no means been a simple one. Having to spend a year as an ECRHA affiliate to save them from going under in 07-08 Huskies have since righted the ship in a rather emphatic manner. The Huskies in 09-10 garnished a record of 7-9-2 on the coattails of Tyler DaSilva, Cody Gabor and Nick Tomczyk excellent play throughout the season. The trio led their team out of a mediocre regional showing where they were ousted by Stony Brook, and into nationals with a hardened resolve winning four straight games, including an overtime thriller versus Cal Poly, before ultimately being overcome by the number 4 seed Michigan State. Although UConn did not manage to come home with any significant rewards last season they now have honed their reserve to take a potential run at ECRHA leaders URI and SUNY Buffalo.
When I say the good I actually mean the really good. His name, Tyler DaSilva and he may be one of the best players in the ECRHA not named Tyler Walser or Brendan Nelson. His deceptive and shifty style of play was good enough to break the top 5 in the ECRHA’s Division 1 in scoring with 48 points and 29 goals; however no player is alone and DaSilva is helped by his two high scoring teammates Cody Gabor and Nick Tomczyk who combined contributed 64 points to the cause. The tremendous upside to this trio is that they are all only in their second years of play in the ECRHA which is great news to the fellow Huskies and awful news to those standing in the opposite crease.
This team as young and talented as their core is they will have to learn from their inconsistencies last year, the huskies by far were one of the streakiest teams in the nation let alone the eastern region, the Huskies splits look like this during the season (excluding preseason/including postseason & interregional)
First 10 games
2-7-1 (2 straight losses 3 seperate times)
7-3-0 (7 straight wins followed by 3 straight losses)
1-1-3 (3 straight ties)
4-1-0 (4 straight wins)
UConn’s inability to keep themselves from losing form and being the same team that rattled off 7 straight wins ultimately may have cost them much needed confidence as they stumbled into regionals. Hopefully the Huskies of mid-season conditioning will show up from early October of next year all the way through into early April.
Zach Back seemed to have a target on his equipment all season long rather than the navy and white of UConn, of the 12 goaltenders in the ECRHA he faced the 3rd highest amount of shots in only his freshman year. With that said all goaltenders with more than 310 shots faces all had goals against averages north of 4.27 and save percentages south of .843 save for SUNY Buffalo Standout Alexx Christie. You cannot expect your goaltender to make that many saves versus some of the best talent in the nation located in the ECRHA.
With the Huskies big three having 2 years of significant play under their belts with production, a young starting goalie and hopefully lessons learned from last year, The Huskies should look to move up to finish around the same area Towson and Rutgers did last season if not higher.