Hoof Beats: Corbett returns to Air Force as visitor

Here are some news and notes regarding the Chargers and the WCHA ahead of UAH’s two-game series at Air Force on Friday and Saturday.

Fans in Colorado Springs this weekend will see a familiar face, as UAH head coach Mike Corbett returns to Air Force. Corbett was an assistant coach for the Falcons for 10 seasons before taking over the Charger program last year. Corbett was also the associate head coach in 2012-13.

Corbett helped lead the Falcons to five Atlantic Hockey Association tournament titles, two AHA regular-season titles and five NCAA Tournament appearances.

“It’s going to be different,” Air Force senior defenseman Dan Weissenhofer told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I expect he will have some things to say to get under our skins a bit. We’ll have to give it right back.”

Carmine Guerriero

Photo by Chris Brightwell

Guerriero among league leaders: Carmine Guerriero is now fourth in the WCHA in save percentage through the first month of the season. In four starts, he has made 161 saves (an average of 40.25 per game) on 172 shots (43 per game), which is a .936 save percentage.

Guerriero trails Mathias Dahlstrom of Northern Michigan (.964), Jamie Phillips of Michigan Tech (.952), and C.J. Motte of Ferris State (.943). Matt Larose is 10th at .909.

Talbot update: New York Rangers and former Charger goaltender Cam Talbot saw action on Monday for the first time in three weeks, getting the start at Madison Square Garden against the St. Louis Blues. Talbot stopped 31 of 34 shots as the Rangers lost to St. Louis 4-3 in a shootout.

This season, Talbot has played 148 minutes over three games with two starts, posting a 2.84 goals against average and an .899 save percentage. With the Rangers playing in a stretch of 15 games in 29 days during November, Talbot is likely to see more ice time to spell top goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Future Chargers: Here’s how some of the players who have committed to the Chargers are doing in junior hockey so far this season. Analysis comes from one of our regular posters in the UAH thread of the USCHO.com forums, who wished not to be named. He follows junior hockey much more closely than either Geof or me, and we appreciate him allowing us to share this on UAHHockey.com.

Brandon Salerno

UAH commit Brandon Salerno has been is scoring machine with Pickering of the OJHL this season.

Brandon Salerno (Pickering (OJHL), 13 GP, 11-13-24): “Absolutely tearing it up. Appears to have regained his confidence after a dismal year with Waterloo.”

Austin Beaulieu (Wichita Falls (NAHL), 12 GP, 8-5-13): “Having a great year thus far. Should come in and have an immediate impact. Great speed and vision carrying over from his TPH days.”

Cam Knight (Wichita Falls (NAHL), 12 GP, 3-9-12): “Also having an awesome year. His size and skating should have him pushing for top 4 minutes. Great to see a defenseman with these kind of numbers in the NA.”

Connor Wood (Rio Grande Valley (NAHL), 12 GP, 0-3-3): “Either dropped or traded from Amarillo. Not a good sign. He’s a feisty, competitive kid so hopefully that’ll start to show on the scoresheet. May need an extra year of juniors.”

Roberts Smits (Janesville (NAHL), 8 GP, 2-2-4): “Also dropped or traded from Amarillo. Starting to pull it together. Janesville has a bit more firepower up front so I’m betting those numbers will go up. He continues to improve and he may be on the move back to Bloomington (USHL) where he began the year.”

Joey Marooney (Sioux Falls (USHL), 8 GP, 1-1-2): “Playing in easily the most competitive league in the U.S., not bad numbers considering the jump from Minnesota high school hockey. Hope he can start lighting the lamp a bit more. May be the next Max McHugh. Promising prospect regardless.”

Ivan Bondarenko (Wenatchee (NAHL), 7 GP, 2-0-2): “Seems to have trouble cracking the lineup. He’s one of the youngest players in the league and will definitely be in juniors for another year before he comes to school, so there’s really no cause for concern. Could be a big time prospect for us this time next year.”

Teddy Rotenberger (Topeka (NAHL), 6 GP, 0-1-1): “Seems to be having a tough time cracking the lineup, which is troubling. I know he’s drawn rave reviews for his character so I doubt this will be too much of a drawback for him. But he needs to play and produce if he’s going to really contribute once he gets to UAH. An extra year of juniors may be best for him. Time will tell.”

Also, Alpharetta, Ga., forward Adam Wilcox of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL recently committed to UAH:

“Was a serious prospect a few years back, he was on Dubuque’s (USHL) affiliate list and played there a few games when Vinny Saponari (NTDP alum and Atlanta native) and Johnny Gaudreau (Hobey Baker winner and current Calgary Flame) were there. He’s got good size and can skate. I haven’t seen him play in years, but the numbers are slightly lacking. May be a Brent Fletcher, diamond-in-the-rough-type.”

Visit our commitments page for more on recruiting.

Alaska hit with NCAA sanctions: The University of Alaska-Fairbanks received its NCAA punishment Wednesday for a series of infractions involving ineligible players from nine sports, including hockey.

The Nanooks will lose one scholarship for each of the next three years, and are banned from NCAA postseason play this season. Alaska vacates all victories from the 2007-08 to the 2011-12 seasons. They are also ineligible for the WCHA playoffs, which will now include the 9th place team (unless its Alaska).