Vladislav Firstov drives through a Yale defender at the CT Ice Tournament. Credit-SNY

UConn Blasts Yale in CT Ice Opener

Bridgeport, CT- After two years of waiting, the Connecticut Ice Tournament finally began a second edition. UConn took the occasion to demonstrate their offensive ability against the Yale Bulldogs.

Yale did get the first score of the game with a rebound putback by Michael Young for the Medford, MA, native’s first goal of the season. But from there, UConn flipped the feel and momentum and dominated the rest of the game. In 27 seconds, UConn scored two goals to take the lead. Vladislav Firstov went first, with an in-tight shot for his 6th this season. Former Bulldog Kevin O’Neil scored seconds later to give UConn the lead for the game.

The second period got out of hand for Yale. Carter Turnbull scored eleven seconds into the frame when he fired a puck towards the net and it pinged off a Yale skater and into the net. Firstov followed that up with another goal 2:57 into the frame on a slap shot in the slot. The Huskies tacked on one last score in the second with a pinballing puck that the refs originally called dead for a high stick. Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh requested a review and the officials determined it was a good goal for Jachym Kondelik.

The score didn’t move in the third, so UConn claimed a 5-1 final over Old Eli.

Yale drops to 5-11-1. Luke Pearson stopped 26 of 31 shots in the Bulldog net. Sophomores Reilly Connors and Henry Wagner notched assists on Young’s goal, the third for each of them this season.

Yale matches up with Sacred Heart tomorrow in the consolation game of the CT Ice Festival. Puck drops at 1pm ET at the Webster Bank Arena.

UConn improves to 12-10-0.

“I thought Yale came out with a great start,” commented UConn Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh. “But I was really happy with the response we had. I thought we stayed with our game plan. Vlad went to the net, Kevin made a good pass to him to get us going.”

Union College transfer Darion Hanson stopped 15 of 16 shots on net.

The line of Firstov, Kondelik, and O’Neil produced four of UConn’s goals and a combined nine points between the three skaters. Firstov posted a two goal game for the second time this season. The first time was the season opener against Sacred Heart and these were his first goals at all since November 5th against Maine.

O’Neil and Kondelik recorded a goal and two assists for three points each. O’Neil’s goals came against the Bulldogs in his first game against Yale since transferring away from New Haven. “It was weird to play those guys,” observed the Latham, NY native. “I made a lot of memories with some of the guys on that bench.”

UConn faces the Quinnipiac Bobcats for the CT Ice Tournament Championship at Webster Bank Arena tomorrow. Puck drops at 4:30 pm ET in Bridgeport