Well, that was a rude homecoming.
Back at the VBC for the first time in 48 days, the Chargers lost 6-2 to the USA Under-18 National Development Team on Friday night.
It was nip and tuck early as both teams were feeling each other out to begin the game. Even with the first two power-plays, the Chargers could not mount much of an offense, and were outshot 3-2 halfway through the period.
And it was the U-18 team that would get on the board first with a goal by Hudson Fasching at 15:32.
The Chargers poured on the shots to finish the frame, including a six-shot power play. But U-18 goalie Thatcher Demko would not be beaten.
The U-18 team come out strong for the second period, dominating possession and posting the first 10 shots on goal. They would score twice before the Chargers could stop the momentum: Tyler Kelleher at 4:16 and Fasching’s second of the night at 11:14.
Once UAH steadied the onslaught, the Chargers were able to get back into the game. Jamie Kendra took a Graeme Strukoff pass in the right circle, and wrested the puck past Demko’s stick side to cut the U-18 lead to 3-1 at 14:11 of the period.
The U-18 team poured it on again to start the third, but this time it wore the Chargers down. Goals by Connor Clifton, Will Butcher, and JT Compher scored goals to put the game away at 6-1 before the halfway point of the period.
Craig Pierce scored UAH’s second goal with 3:58 to go for the final tally.
John Griggs made 24 saves on 30 shots. He was pulled at 8:32 of the third for CJ Groh, who stopped all seven shots he faced. The U-18 team outshot UAH 37-19.
The two teams square off again Saturday at 7 p.m. as Military Appreciation Weekend continues. Note there’s no live video for tomorrow’s game, so head out to the VBC as UAH tries to even the series.