STORRS, Conn. - UConn head men's hockey coach Mike Cavanaugh announced that seven student-athletes will make up the incoming class for the 2016-17 season. Freshmen Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine), Justin Howell (Saint Paul, Minn.), Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia), Bryan Nelson (Upton, Mass), Alexandre Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) and graduate student Brian Morgan (Windham, N.H.) are set to join the Huskies this fall as the program enters its second season in Hockey East.
Here is a closer look at the newest Huskies:
Benjamin Freeman – Fr., Forward, Falmouth, Maine / Connecticut Jr. Rangers (USPHL)
Freeman spent last season skating with the Connecticut Junior Rangers of the USPHL. The 6-4 forward put up 38 points in 43 games last season, scoring 20 goals with 18 assists. He finished the season third on the team in point and his 20 goals was second on the club. Freeman tallied four goals in four playoff games, tops on the team. He attended Northfield Mount Hermon School where he earned three varsity letters under head coach Tom Pratt. Freeman served as the team’s captain and piled up 100 points, scoring 42 goals in three seasons.
Justin Howell – Fr., Forward, Saint Paul, Minn. / Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Howell played last season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL after a standout high school career at St. Paul Johnson High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Howell appeared in 55 games for the Buccaneers last season, scoring 24 points on 13 goals and 11 assists. He was eighth on the team in scoring and fifth in goals. In his three varsity seasons at Johnson Senior High, Howell increased his point totals each season and finished with 75 points in his career. As a senior, he captained the team and scored 13 goals with 11 assists for 33 points, leading the team in all three categories.
Adam Huska – Fr., Goaltender, Zvolen, Slovakia / Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Huska spent the last two seasons in net for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. A 2015 seventh round draft pick of the New York Rangers, Huska has also represented his native Slovakia in the World Junior Championships the last three years. In 2015-16, Huska was named the USHL Goaltender of the Year and earned a spot on the All-USHL first team after leading the league with a 1.82 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He appeared in 37 games and finished with a 26-9-2 record, leading Green Bay to the second seed in the USHL Eastern Conference. His 26 wins was third among league leaders and included four shutouts. Huska played for Slovakia at the 2014 and 2015 U18 World Junior Championships and also earned a spot on the 2016 U20 team. He appeared in five games and was named a top-three player on his team at the IIHF World U20 Championship this past winter in Finland
Brian Morgan - Grad Student, Forward, Windham, N.H. / Maine (HEA)
Morgan comes to UConn for his post graduate year after three seasons at the University of Maine. In his three years with the Black Bears, Morgan appeared in 103 games, scoring 17 goals with 15 assists for 32 points. He was a three-time Hockey East All-Academic Team selection. Prior to enrolling at Maine, Morgan played the 2012-13 season for the Indian Ice and Muskegon Lumberjack of the USHL. He tallied 20 goals and added 11 assists for 31 points in 59 games between the two teams. Prior to that, he played for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, where he won a pair of Eastern Junior Hockey League Championships.
Bryan Nelson - Fr., Defenseman, Upton, Mass. / Connecticut Jr. Rangers (USPHL)
Nelson played with both the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL and the Connecticut Junior Rangers of the USPHL. The 6-3 defenseman played in 34 games with West Kelowna, scoring a goal with four assists, and appeared in 11 games with the Connecticut Junior Rangers, teaming with incoming classmate Ben Freeman. Nelson had a goal and four assists in his 11 game stint. He played his high school hockey at St. John’s High School under head coach Michael Mead. The two-time captain scored 19 goals with 28 assists in his high school career and was named to the ESPN Boston High School All-State team. Nelson also played with the Walpole Express of the EHL and in 2014-15 posted 24 points in 39 games.
Wyatt Newpower - Fr., Defenseman, Hugo, Minn. / White Bear Lake Area (H.S.)
Newpower comes to Storrs after a four-year standout high school career at White Bear Lake High in Minnesota. The 6-3 defenseman was the captain of his team and named Team MVP under head coach Tim Sager. He was twice named the SEC Defensman of the Year and was an All-East Metro Team selection. He led his team in points as a senior, finishing with 20 points on eight goals and 12 assists in 25 games. During his junior season, had 28 points on six goals and 22 assists, leading his team to a 20-5-0 record. Over his four years at White Bear Lake Area, Newpower finished with 18 goals and 54 assists.
Alexandre Payusov - Fr., Forward, Montreal, Quebec / Madison Capitols (USHL)
Payusov spent the last two seasons skating in the USHL, last year with the Madison Capitols. He appeared in 57 games and was fourth on the team in scoring with 31 points. He scored 17 goals, third on the club, and added 14 assists. In 2014-15, Payusov played in 47 games with the Sioux City Musketeers. He finished the year with three goals and seven assists for 10 points.