WEST POINT, N.Y. - Five different Huskies found the back of the net as UConn traveled up to Army West Point Friday night and came away with a 5-2 season opening win. Nine freshmen made their collegiate debuts for UConn with rookie Ruslan Iskhakov (Moscow, Russia) scoring his first career goal while adding an assist in the win.
Special teams played a role for both teams on Friday with the Huskies scoring a power play and shorthanded goal while the Black Knights scoring both of their goals with the extra skater. After a 1-1 first period, the Huskies put three on the board in the second off the sticks of junior Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine), sophomore Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.) and Iskhakov to take control of the game.
Army's Alex Wilkinson scored both Black Knight goals, the second coming early in the third period to cut the UConn lead down to 4-2. UConn junior Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) put the icing on the cake just four minutes later to produce the final 5-2 score.
The Huskies were outshot on the night, 34-31, with junior goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) turning in 32 saves to earn the win.
The Army Black Knights struck for the game's first goal, converting their first power play chance of the night at 8:13. Wilkerson took a feed from Dalton MacAfee off the face-off at the top of the right circle and buried a one-timer past Huska for a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies wasted little time in answering, needing just 1:06 to knot the game at 1-1. Junior Wyatt Newpower (White Bear Lake, Minn.) put the puck on net with the rebound finding freshman Jachym Kondelik (Budejovice, Czech Republic) who tipped it to El-mir in the slot. The senior lifted a shot past Dempsey top-shelf at 9:19.
The Huskies put three on the board in the second stanza starting with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 2:10. Iskhakov put the puck on net from the right wing and Freeman was camped out in front of the net to bury the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
The Huskies made it 3-1 with a shorthanded tally at 8:41 thanks to a great effort from Kondelik. The freshman forward forced a turnover in the neutral zone then drove the net for a wrap-around chance. Army's Dempsey got a piece but Rigali was there to clean up the rebound.
Ishkakov made his night memorable with a highlight reel goal at 12:50. The freshman took a feed from Payusov in the UConn zone and bolted up ice, stopping on a dime in front of Dempsey and ripping a wrister past the netminder for a 4-1 lead.
Army's Wilkerson made it 4-2 at 4:23 of the third, finishing off a one-timer from Zach Evancho on the power play. The Huskies put the game away at 8:25 as Payusov took a pass from Evan Wisocky (Hoboken, N.J.) and shot up the right wing, placing a shot top-shelf to the short side for a 5-2 advantage.