Nov 232015
Wednesday Nov. 25, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free UAH Hockey trading cards
Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free turkey stress balls
Kids 12-under get free gen. admission to both games
Team statistics: UAH | Bemidji State

The Chargers look to snap their losing streak against rival Bemidji State in a rare Wednesday-Friday series around the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Wednesday night at 7, the first 500 fans will receive a free set of UAH hockey trading cards, courtesy of Wells Fargo. On Friday night at 7, the first 500 fans will receive a free UAH hockey turkey stress ball, courtesy of SportsMed. All kids 12 and under get free general admission, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

Fans are encouraged to donate toys and clothes at both games of the series as part of the University Place Elementary holiday drive. Interested donors will be able to drop their item off in the VBC lobby.

Matchup history: The UAH-Bemidji State rivalry goes back to 1994, during the programs’ Division II days. The Chargers and Beavers have met 76 times, the most of any UAH opponent. Bemidji State leads the series 43-29-4, buffered with a 30-4-3 mark over the last 37 games since 2006. UAH still holds a 19-15-3 advantage in Huntsville, but Bemidji State is 11-2-3 in the last 16 meetings at the VBC.

Brandon Parker

Brandon Parker scored a more conventional goal Saturday at Bowling Green. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger recap: UAH (3-6-1 overall, 2-5-1 WCHA) was swept at Bowling Green over the weekend, extending its losing streak to four games and falling to eighth place in the WCHA. Both were one-goal affairs, with the Falcons winning 3-2 in overtime on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday.

On Friday, Chad Brears and Jetlan Houcher scored third-period goals, each tying the game for the Chargers. However, UAH lost in overtime as Brandon Hawkins scored with 2:08 remaining. All five goals in the game were on the power play.

Saturday’s game was more physical, with more cross-checking, boarding, and hitting from behind penalties called. Brandon Carlson scored to tie the game at 1-1 in the first, and Brandon Parker and Brent Fletcher scored in the final two minutes to keep UAH in it, but it was not enough.

Brennan Saulnier is still the Chargers’ leading scorer this season with six goals and 10 points, but has only registered one assist in his last four games. Max McHugh also has 10 points after getting his sixth and seventh assists in the Bowling Green series. Brears, who was a late scratch from Saturday’s game, and Cody Marooney each have three goals.

UAH split goaltending duties for the third straight series at Bowling Green. Matt Larose had 36 saves in Friday’s loss, and has a .929 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average in three starts. Carmine Guerriero had 24 saves on Saturday, and has a .893 save percentage and 2.98 goals against in seven starts.

The special teams went in opposite directions last weekend. The Chargers scored three power play goals against Bowling Green — the most of any series this season. However, penalty-killing was only 5-for-10.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
Bemidji State
2-5-1 WCHA
Record 2-6-3
1-5-2 WCHA (10th)
3.00 (2nd) Goals/game 2.36 (8th)
3.00 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.82 (6th)
15.7 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 10.3 (8th)
14.9% (8th) Power play 26.4% (1st)
76.7% (9th) Penalty kill 87.5% (1st)

About the Beavers: Bemidji State (2-6-3 overall, 1-5-2 WCHA) has had a slow start to the season, currently sitting in last place in the WCHA. Last weekend, the lost and tied at home to Lake Superior State.

Goal-scoring has been tough to come by for the Beavers, who are eighth in the WCHA with 2.36 goals per game. It hasn’t been for a lack of shots — BSU had 83 shots on goal against the Lakers, but had only three goals to show for it.

Sophomore Gerry Fitzgerald is BSU’s top scorer with seven goals and 10 points. Their second-leading scorer is a defenseman, senior Greame McCormack, with four goals — all on the power play — and nine points. Brendan Harms, an all-WCHA third-team selection last season, is 2-6–8.

Michael Bitzer, the league’s all-rookie goaltender last season, has an .882 save percentage and 2.78 goals against average in nine starts of his sophomore year.

One aspect the Beavers have been strong on this season has been special teams. Bemidji State is tops in the WCHA in both power play (26.4 percent, 5th in Division I) and penalty kill (87.5 percent). The power play has been the majority of their offense: 14 of the their 26 goals this season have come with a man advantage.

Wednesday fact: This will be only UAH’s fifth game to fall on a Wednesday, and the first one at home. The last time UAH played on Wednesday was at Merrimack in 2011, which also was the day before Thanksgiving. UAH is 1-3 all-time on Wednesdays.

This week in the WCHA:

All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on

Wednesday, Nov.  25
Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 27
Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #15 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#19 Michigan Tech at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 28
Northern Michigan at #15 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#19 Michigan Tech at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Nov 212015

A flurry of hits, then a flurry of goals. But the result is the same: The Chargers lost to Bowling Green.

The 15th-ranked Falcons finished a two-game sweep of UAH with a 4-3 win in Ohio on Saturday night. UAH has lost eight straight and 15 of 16 to BGSU.


This despite outshooting the Falcons 36-28. But UAH could not capitalize where Bowling Green could in a jagged game which saw several boarding, cross-checking, and hitting from behind penalties.

Brandon Carlson, Brandon Parker, and Brent Fletcher scored the goals for the Chargers (3-6-1 overall, 2-5-1 WCHA), who have lost four straight games heading into their holiday series with rival Bemidji State.

Bowling Green (7-3-3 overall, 4-2-2 WCHA) extended its home unbeaten streak to nine games.

Each team had its share of offensive zone time in the first period, but no goals to show for it. The Chargers had a 12-8 shots on goal advantage for the period thanks to two power plays.

UAH lost the services of its leading scorer, Brennan Saulnier, for late in the first and early in the second because of a 10-minute misconduct penalty, earned after slapping the puck in frustration after the whistle on an offsides call.

Speaking of frustration, the hitting level started to rise in the second period. Richard Buri was penalized for boarding Bowling Green leading scorer Kevin Dufour. Then Dufour was cross-checked by Cam Knight, and the Falcons took advantage of that power play as Matt Pohlkamp beat UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero on a rising shot at 10:04 for a 1-0 BG lead.

Then it was the Chargers’ turn on the power play after Fletcher was creamed into the boards by Jakob Reichert. It didn’t take long for UAH to level the game as Carlson deflected a Max McHugh shot, trickling the puck past BG goalie Chris Nell at 11:32. It was Carlson’s second goal of the year, assisted by McHugh and Jetlan Houcher.

The minor penalties did not deter the hitting, and Bowling Green’s Mark Cooper finally was the first to be served a major as he crunched Parker from behind in the corner of the UAH zone. Cooper was also given a game misconduct with 5:28 left in the second.

On the ensuing major power play, the Chargers were able to pass the puck well, but Nell, who led the WCHA with a 1.28 goals against average coming into the game, was able to weather the storm with some big saves and covers. The second period ended with the Chargers holding a 29-17 shots on goal advantage, but with the teams tied at 1-1.

Bowling Green took control of the game in the third period with the first even-strength goal by either side in the series. Pohlkamp netted is second goal of the game on a nice centering pass from Pierre-Luc Mercier to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead at 3:26.

At 7:26 of the third, UAH’s Madison Dunn received a major checking-from-behind penalty and a game misconduct, which had to be called after Cooper’s penalties in the second period. The Falcons made them pay, with Brent Tate scoring to make it 3-1 at 8:41.

The Chargers weathered the rest of the major penalty — and another penalty for too many men on the ice. By then, UAH had yet to register a shot on goal, while Bowling Green had 10.

UAH then got its chances to stay in the game. However, the Chargers could not capitalize on a Tate roughing penalty (that occurred during a scuffle between UAH’s Buri and BG’s Pohlkamp) with 6:56 to go and Mitch McLain’s intereference penalty with 4:45 to go.

A total of 15 penalties were called in the game, eight on the Chargers for 27 minutes, and seven on the Falcons for 33 mnutes.

But then came the barrage in the final two minutes. Carlson’s second goal of the year came from the left circle with 1:24 remaining to cut the Falcons’ lead to 3-2. He was assisted by Matt Salhany.

UAH pulled Guerriero, who finished with 24 saves, for the extra attacker in the final minute, but Pierre-Luc Mercier won the draw and later took the puck to the house for an empty netter and a 4-2 Falcon lead with 26 seconds left.

UAH was still not done. Fletcher found the net after a scramble in front to make it 4-3 Bowling Green with 10.2 seconds left.

A desperation shot by UAH from its own zone in the final seconds turned into an icing call, and Bowling Green was able to secure the win.

UAH hosts Bemidji State at the Von Braun Center on Wednesday and Friday. Puck drop is 7:07 both nights.

Notes: The Chargers had two scratches. Jack Prince, who has hurt in Friday’s game, was substituted with Tyler Poulsen at right wing, which moved Cody Marooney to left. Chad Brears was a late scratch, replaced with Hans Gorowsky.

Nov 202015

Special teams give UAH a chance, but special teams gave this game away.

Brandon Hawkins’ goal with 2:08 left in overtime lifted 15th-ranked Bowling Green (6-3-3 overall, 3-2-2 WCHA) to a 3-2 victory over the Chargers (3-5-1 overall, 2-4-1 WCHA) on Friday night.


All five goals in the game were power play goals, but none more costly than the third PPG allowed by UAH after Josh Kestner was called for boarding in the extra session.

The Chargers did hang tough with the Falcons, who have typically dominated the series having won 13 of the last 14 meetings. Bowling Green is now 8-1-1 all-time against the Chargers at BGSU Ice Arena.

Bowling Green outshot the Chargers 28-18.

Most of the first period saw a lot of back and forth, with not many scoring chances.

Both teams ranked at the bottom of the WCHA in power play efficiency coming in, but with the offensive potential of the Falcons, Charger penalties would tempt fate.

So it happened on UAH’s second penalty — a cross-checking call by Brandon Parker — that Bowling Green would break through with the first goal. Kevin Dufour was on the spot with the rebound putback past UAH goaltender Matt Larose gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead at 10:04. It was Dufour’s seventh goal of the season.

No goals in the second period, but both teams had few more chances, as well as a few more hits.

Bowling Green had a great chance short handed as Sean Walker had a breakaway, but Larose made a huge glove save to keep it a one-goal game.

For the Chargers, there was a three-minute span where they rolled lines twice while keeping the puck on the Falcon end. UAH could not find the net as Falcon goaltender Chris Nell was able to save five shots.

UAH would make its move in early in the third period, when on a two-man advantage, Chad Brears tied the game at 1-1 at the 1:34 mark. His third goal of the season was assisted by Max McHugh and Kurt Gosselin.

Bowling Green retook the lead after a Cody Champagne cross-checking penalty, one of three cross checks called against the Chargers. Brett D’Andrea’s blast beat Larose with 13:08 left.

Keeping the power play trend, UAH tied it up after Dajon Mingo was sent to the box for kneeing. Jetland Houcher, all alone in the right circle, rifled the puck past Nell to tie the match at 2-2 with 10:34 to go. Kestner and Madison Dunn got the assists.

Larose kept the game tied with big saves throughout the rest of regulation, and Nell was also up to the task after stopping Houcher on a 2-on-1 break.

In overtime, UAH never got a shot on net. Bowling Green had three chances during the delayed boarding call, followed by Hawkins’s goal to give the Falcons the win.

Larose finished with 25 saves as he started the Friday night game for the second consecutive series. Chris Nell made 16 saves.

Game two of the series is at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.


Nov 192015
Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 – 6:07 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 – 6:07 p.m.
Team statistics: UAH | Bowling Green

After an off week, the Chargers are back in WCHA action with a trip to their nearest conference foe, Bowling Green. Puck drop Friday and Saturday nights in Ohio are at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.

Matchup history: Bowling Green has a commanding 14-3-1 record over UAH since their first meeting in 2000, and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. The Falcons are 7-1-1 against the Chargers on their home ice. Since both clubs joined the WCHA in 2013, Bowling Green is 7-1-0. Last season, the Falcons won both games in Huntsville and both games in Bowling Green.

Carmine Guerriero made 28 saves against Michigan Tech on Nov. 7. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Carmine Guerriero made 28 saves against Michigan Tech on Nov. 7. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger recap: UAH (3-4-1 overall, 2-3-1 WCHA) was off last week. Two weeks ago, the Chargers were swept at home by Michigan Tech by scores of 4-2 and 2-1. UAH currently is seventh in the WCHA standings.

In the first game, Josh Kestner scored just 1:21 in to give UAH a 1-0 lead, but the Huskies responded with three straight goals. Brandon Parker scored from his own zone, but that would be as close as the Chargers got. UAH goaltender Matt Larose made 36 saves.

In the second game, Michigan Tech scored both goals in the first period. Cam Knight got his first collegiate goal in the third period for UAH’s only score. Carmine Guerriero had his best outing of the season in net, stopping 28 of 30 shots.

Brennan Saulnier got an assist in the series, giving him 10 points on the season. His 0.86 goals per game average (six goals in seven games played) leads the WCHA and is third-best in NCAA Division I. Max McHugh is secon on the team with eight points, and he and Cody Marooney each have three goals.

UAH has the eighth-highest penalty minute per game average at 14.2.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
Bowling Green
2-3-1 WCHA
Record 5-3-3
2-2-2 WCHA (6th)
3.12 (2nd) Goals/game 2.18 (8th)
2.88 (6th) Goals allowed/game 1.91 (1st)
14.2 (3rd) Pen. minutes/game 8.5 (9th)
11.1% (9th) Power play 10.3% (10th)
84.8% (2nd) Penalty kill 82.5% (5th)

About the Falcons: Bowling Green (5-3-3 overall, 2-2-2 WCHA) comes into the series ranked 15th in the latest poll. They stand in sixth place in the WCHA standings, one point ahead of the Chargers.

Last week, the Falcons split a pair at Michigan Tech in the battle between the WCHA’s two ranked teams. Bowling Green was shut out 2-0 on Friday before winning 3-2 on Saturday.

Bowling Green’s top scorer is Kevin Dufour, a junior who has six goals — tied with Saulnier and four others for the league lead — and eight points. Senior Mark Cooper has five goals this season, three of which are game-winners, including the one over Michigan Tech on Saturday.

Sophomore goaltender Chris Nell has been stellar this season. In eight games (seven starts), he has a 1.20 goals against average and a .958 save percentage, both tops in the WCHA and third in the nation. Nell has been a big reason the Falcons are ninth nationally in goals allowed per game.

This week in the WCHA:

All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on

Friday, Nov. 20
UAH at #15 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Minnesota State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.
Penn State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21
UAH at #15 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Minnesota State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
#19 Michigan Tech at Michigan State, 6:05 p.m.
Penn State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 22
#19 Michigan Tech at Michigan State, 3:05 p.m.

Nov 062015

HUNTSVILLE — Four Michigan Tech Huskies (4-3-0, 4-3-0 WCHA) scored goals on Friday night, relying on a speed advantage that kept the homestanding Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (3-3-1, 2-2-1 WCHA) scrambling to keep up at times.  The visiting Huskies maintained their tie atop the WCHA standings with a 4-2 win over UAH.


If you’re a UAH fan, you loved the first ten minutes of the game.  Sophomore forward Josh Kestner (Huntsville) led off scoring his second goal of the season just 1:21 into the game, feeding off of the energy of a back-in-the lineup Brent Fletcher (New Westminster, B.C.) and the freedom of moving freshman forward Hans Gorowsky (Lino Lakes, Minn.) over to left wing.  Tech looked off-guard from the event.

Sophomore forward Joel L’Esperance (Brighton, Mich.) knotted the game at 1-1 just 3:14 later, taking a smart pass from sophomore Alex Gillies (Vernon, B.C.) and flashing some speed and hands to move the puck past UAH junior goaltender Matt Larose (Nanaimo, B.C.), who had little help on the play.

The struggles for UAH began after junior forward Cody Marooney (Eden Prairie, Minn.) took a slashing penalty at 10:40.  The infraction, one of five called on the night, gave Tech the chance to take the lead, and they did so.  Junior assistant captain and defenseman Shane Hanna (Salmon Arm, B.C.) rifled a shot towards Larose (36sv) that was tipped by senior captain and forward Alex Petan (Delta, B.C.).  Junior forward Tyler Heinonen (Delano, Minn.) got the secondary assist for finding Hanna at the point.

Special teams continued to be the bane of UAH’s existence on the night.  UAH would go scoreless on all five tries on the night, never getting much sustained pressure with the advantage.  Worse yet, the Chargers gave up a short-handed goal at 15:14, falling behind 3-1 when junior forward Brent Baltus (Nanaimo, B.C.) broke free and pushed the puck past Larose (1-1-0).

From there, the Chargers never really recovered.

Sophomore defenseman Brandon Parker (Faribault, Minn.) finally netted his first collegiate goal.  Parker appeared to just be making a long dump toward Husky senior goaltender Jamie Phillips (Caledonia, Ont.), but Phillips did not properly track the puck, which ended up in his net after 120 feet of travel.  But Parker’s puckish pasty was the lone bright spot.

Negatives from the final two frames:

  • Anemic work from the power play, including making Larose stop more than one shorthanded attempt.
  • Ending their own man advantage on a bench minor for too many men.  I think that this one was silly, because both teams had too many bodies on the ice for the brief second where it looked that Larose was going to leak the puck to a teammate for a press up the ice on the left-wing boards (opposite the benches).  But it just goes to a core weakness for UAH over the last few years, and that’s picking up this bench minor time and again.
  • Fletcher’s checking-from-behind major penalty that saw him removed from the game and freshman defenseman Cam Knight (North Reading, Mass.) given a holding minor on the same infraction.  I was very surprised that Messrs. Langseth and Elam took two UAH players yet no Tech player from that fracas.  UAH is to be commended for a strong kill of the penalty.
  • Getting outshot 14-3 in the third when they needed to be giving the pressure, not receiving it.  The major penalty does not completely explain the disparity.

Phillips (4-3-0, 16sv) got an assist on the final goal of the game, as sophomore forward Mason Blacklock (White Rock, B.C.) netted his second of the year at 13:59 of the 3rd.  Senior forward Malcolm Gould (North Vancouver, B.C.) got the primary assist.

The questions for UAH on Saturday are these:

  1. How poorly will the game be attended opposite BAMA-LSU?
  2. Who starts for UAH?  Larose had some strong stretches, and he did stop 36/40, but the fact of the matter is that he gave up four or more goals in all but two of his starts last year (at Air Force on November 8th and at Bowling Green on March 7th).  Saturday’s shutout against Lake Superior was fun to see, and it was an exemplar of the goalie that he can be.  But which is the real Larose: tonight or last weekend?  One figures that a non-dominant performance from the big man opens the door for junior goaltender Carmine Guerriero (Montréal, Qué.) to get a start.
  3. It’s hard to know, though, what’s in the minds of either of those two men or, for that matter, the coaches’ minds.  It’s still too early to call this a goalie controversy — maybe it would’ve been one if Larose had been dominant tonight.  That I’m even writing about this surprises me, because 1) peak Carmine is a sight to behold 2) I always thought that it was going to be Larose to pull away, not Carmine 3) c’mon, really, this felt settled.  But it’s here.
  4. Who shuffles in and out of the lineup?  Will Mike Corbett try to slow the pace down or simply tighten his system up?  It feels to me that he had the right 21 guys dressed tonight.

Here’s a final note: what is with goaltending in the WCHA this year?  It’s early, small sample sizes, etc., but:

  • WCHA had five goalies in the top 20 in the nation by GAA in 2014-15: MSU’s Stephon Williams (#2, 1.65), MTU’s Phillips (3, 1.74), BSU’s Michael Bitzer (4, 1.80), UAF’s Sean Cahill (8, 1.98), and CJ Motte (18, 2.07).
  • Through tonight (with NMU-UAF ongoing and UAF up 3-1): Chris Nell at BGSU is 3rd at 1.09, and Atte Tolvanen came into tonight at 1.99, a total that will rise.  Past that it’s freshman Darren Smith at Ferris State at 2.40 (even after giving up four goals tonight).
  • You have to get to Bitzer at 2.55 and Phillips at 2.56 to get to guys that are full-time starters.  That’s a big, big drop.  Could it be better scoring in the WCHA?  Phillips’s mark actually came down tonight.

All of this occurred to me when I saw a 7-4 box score come out of Big Rapids.  The Bulldogs scored just four goals against Mankato last year, dropping 2-1, 3-1, 5-1, and 5-1 results in the span of fifteen days in January.

It’s something to watch.  Back at you tomorrow night.