The season finale went very much like the season itself. Plenty of effort. Plenty of competitiveness. But still short.
UAH lost to Northern Michigan 5-2 on Saturday. The Chargers finish the season at 2-35-1, setting an NCAA record for losses in a season. The 1999-2000 Michigan Tech team held the old record of 34.
It’s not the way the Chargers’ four seniors – Alex Allan, Brice Geoffrion, C.J. Groh, and Mat Hagen — envisioned their final games in the blue and white. Still, the boys showed the heart they’ve displayed all season, especially after a rough first period that saw them down 3-0 quickly.
Needing a win or tie to nail down a playoff spot, the Wildcats wasted no time showing they mean business.
NMU scored the first goal at the 3:24 mark. Wade Epp lofted the puck from the left point, and it squeezed between C.J. Groh’s glove and the post for a 1-0 lead.
The other two goals were by Darren Nowick. The first came from the slot on a nice sliding pass from Gerard Hanson for a 2-0 advantage just 5:25 into the game. Nowick’s second was on a scuffle in front of Groh as the puck squirted into the net at the 8:59 mark.
During the second period, the Wildcats earned their WCHA playoff spot when Lake Superior State lost at Ferris State. But the period itself belonged to the Chargers as they turned a potential blowout into a one-goal game.
UAH cut NMU’s lead to 3-1 after Jack Prince’s shot from the right point on the power play following a too many men on the ice penalty. Prince’s seventh goal of the season was assisted by Cody Marooney and Ben Reinhardt.
Prince tallied his eighth goal of the season and second of the game with 13:06 left in the second. After a flurry of shots on NMU goalie Mathias Dahlstrom resulted in a number of rebounds, Prince scored from behind the goal line to make it 3-2 NMU. The assists went to Steven Koshey and Regan Soquila.
UAH weathered over five minutes of power play to start the third period thanks to consecutive penalties. Groh, making his first start of the season, came up with big saves to keep it a one-goal game. The much-maligned penalty kill shone in this game, killing all six Wildcat advantages.
The Chargers then turned up the energy on offense, but could not find away to beat Dahlstrom again. NMU then made it a 4-2 lead after Nowick drove in to beat Groh and earn a hat trick with 6:06 to go.
Wade Epp then sealed the win for the Wildcats with an empty-netter with 39 seconds remaining.
We would like to thank all our supporters for their time and effort this season. It was difficult, but the foundation is being laid for this program by Coach Corbett and his staff. Stay tuned throughout the summer for news and updates about how you can help support the program in 2014-15.