We told you back in November that we’d do this, and as a new decade for UAH Charger hockey dawns, here’s UAHHockey.com’s 2001-10 UAH Hockey All-Decade Team:
LW Karlis Zirnis (46G, 73A, 119Pts)
C Jared Ross (72-86–158)
RW Craig Bushey (45-67–112)
Was there any doubt that Ross would center this first line? Zirnis-Ross-Bushey was a successful line down during Karlis’s senior season, and this combination was certainly the most prolific in the past decade of UAH hockey.
Steve Charlebois (46-33–79)
Jason Hawes (22-64–86)
Joel Bresciani (36-29–65)
This is another line that played together for quite some time. You’d have a hard time slowing these guys down when they wanted to go to the net, and they also played spirited defense and finished their checks.
Bruce Mulherin (49-52–101)
Grant Selinger (33-37–70)
Cody Campbell (15-28–43)
It’s almost criminal to put Bruce on a third line. This is something that I struggled with for a while, but it came to this: Charlie was the scorer on his line, where Bruce was a happy to score and dish. In doing the research on this, I was surprised that Selinger had 70 points in his career. As for Campbell, I feel like he’s the most complete offensive player on the current Charger roster, even if he’s still sidelined with NCAA eligibility issues relating to taking one semester of classes five years ago.
Mike Funk (34-40–74)
Matt Sweazey (28-30–58)
David Nimmo (25-38–64)
Funk (6’4″, 220), Sweazey (6’1′, 195), and Nimmo (6’2″, 220) would score and bang with the best of them. Having these guys together means that none of them has to shoulder the physical burden alone, allowing each of them to let their scoring ability shine.
Andrew Coburn (21–33–54)
Keenan Desmet (11-18–29 through 12/31)
Coburn gives you the flexibility to play a wing or the center, and as for Desmet, how can you deny the man who ended the final CHA tournament and put the 2009-10 Chargers into the NCAA tournament?
Tyler Butler (21-60–81)
Ryan Leasa (12-41–53)
As with our top two lines, the top pair is a historical fact. If you watched these two guys play together, you don’t have any doubt that they should be on the ice together. It’s just a shame that their career in Blue and White ended on a turnover. The 2002-03 team seemed destined to get the CHA’s first automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but it would be four more years before the Chargers attained that accomplishment.
Jeremy Schreiber (21-65–86)
Scott Kalinchuk (11-34-45)
I don’t know about you, but I would not want to skate into a zone with Jumbo and Chuk. These guys would complement each other, as Schreiber would be able to jump up the ice as needed to support the offense knowing that Kalinchuk is there to anchor things. While the two were on the roster at the same time during 2005-06, they were never paired by Doug Ross; Schreiber played every game with Jeff Winchester, and Kalinchuk played every game as the third-pair left defenseman. Both men captained the Chargers as well.
Shaun Arvai (7-47–54)
Brandon Roshko (6-50–56)
Arvai and Roshko would be a good pairing in my book. They can each play the offensive and defensive game, and they’d move the puck well.
Jeff Winchester (4-41–45)
You’ve got Winchester around for three reasons: a big shot, a big body, and the ability to pummel the crap out of another player. You don’t fight in college hockey, but if you needed to take care of someone on the second night of a weekend, you could send Winch out there and know that he’d take care of business.
Scott Munroe (49-36-8, 2.76GAA, .918SV%)
Cameron Talbot (15-44-6, 3.03, .909SV%)
Mark Byrne (42-41-5, 3.01, .900%)
It is easy to look at the unbelievable play of Talbot down the stretch of 2009-10 and want him to be the #1 goalie. If we’re going for peak, it would be hard to argue against him; if you had just the one game to win, I’m not going to argue against you if you take Cam.
In my world, though, you have to go with Scott Munroe. Yes, he was surrounded with arguably better talent. Yes, he played on teams that won more. But Muny came in as a freshman in 2002-03 and wrested the starting job from senior Mark Byrne, who was certainly no slouch in the net himself. Munroe played 31:48 in the team’s second game at Wisconsin, stopping 15 of 16 shots, and then relieved Byrne in the 12-2 rout by Minnesota two weekends later, giving up five goals on 22 shots. Then came his first start: 52 of 56 against the reigning national champions. At that point, you knew that the Chargers had something special.
Byrne certainly shouldn’t be overlooked, as he was quite dependable for the Chargers. When Mark Byrne is your third goalie, you’re doing very well.
If you had to pick a fourth, practice goalie, it would have to be Marc Narduzzi. Why? Easy: the 2OT loss to Notre Dame. Wearing a new helmet, Blake MacNicol gave up two goals on three shots in the first 4:26 of the game. Ross switched goalies—having done this routine each of the three games in the 2007 CHA tournament, which the Chargers entered as the lowest seed—and Narduzzi played the game of his life, stopping 49 shots in the next 90:52. The only way the Irish solved Narduzzi was to get a power play opportunity, their first since the first few minutes of the second period. I can’t think of a singular goaltending feat that topped what Duzzi put together that night in Grand Rapids, in a game so amazing that ESPN2 aired the last hour or so of the game live, taking the feed from ESPNU.
#1 Power Play
Funk – Ross – Bushey | Butler – Leasa
This combination worked in 2002-03, with Funk able to use his presence in the slot to free Ross to slash around while Bushey dug pucks out in the corner. You could make an argument for Zirnis or Mulherin on Ross’s left wing, as Bushey would be able to provide the grit regardless.
#2 Power Play
Zirnis – Mulherin – Bresciani | Schreiber – Roshko
Picture it: Zirnis and Mulherin cycling around or working behind the net. Bresciani planted in the slot and taking all the abuse in stride. Roshko on the point to move the puck where it needs to be. Jumbo with the big slapshot. I think that might score a goal or two.
#1 Penalty Kill
Hawes – Charlebois | Schreiber – Kalinchuk
One of my favorite things to watch while I was in school and right after I graduated was Zeus killing penalties. He was so tenacious. Charlebois was certainly no slouch, and he’d give you a chance to put in a shorthanded goal or two. Schreiber and Kalinchuk would do the smart, patient work down low, and either could move someone off of the front porch.
#2 Penalty Kill
Ross – Mulherin | Arvai – Roshko
It’s almost a shame to put two of your great scorers out there to kill penalties, but Ross was indefatigable and Mulherin had the speed and hands to disrupt things and put fear in the opposing goalie if a turnover happened. Arvai and Roshko aren’t going to make many mistakes.