This weekend at the Von Braun Center, the Chargers will be battling for a playoff spot.
UAH (1-7-2 overall, 0-4-0 WCHA) hosts Lake Superior State (1-9-0 overall, 1-5-0 WCHA) on Friday and Saturday (7 p.m. both nights). The Chargers were picked to finish 10th again in the league, while Lake Superior State, which is in rebuilding mode after finishing 9th last season, is expected to finish 9th again.
Only the top eight in the WCHA make the playoffs — that was, until Alaska was hit with a posteason ban this season as punishment for NCAA rules violations last week. Instead, the 9th-place team will qualify (unless it’s Alaska).
Of course, it’s still early, but whoever is more successful this weekend could have the upper hand in making the WCHA tournament, especially if it comes down to tiebreakers. The Chargers and Lakers meet again in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on February 13 and 14.
For UAH, making the postseason would be big. Our underclassmen would get valuable playoff experience for the future. Our seniors would get the playoff experience they may not have expected when they signed on at UAH, which would be a nice sendoff for their college careers.
While the opportunity for the Chargers to make the WCHA playoffs is nice, it’s unfortunate that it comes at the expense of the Alaska Nanooks. UAH alum Lance West is an assistant coach on that club, and it’s unfair that the current players are being punished for compliance and administrative errors committed years ago.
The Nanooks have struggled as of late, losing five in a row after starting the season with five straight wins. Like the Chargers, they are 0-4 in WCHA play this season.
This week’s promotions: This is Military Appreciation Weekend at the VBC, sponsored by Wells Fargo and Torch Technologies. All veterans and active military personnel get free admission to both games. On Saturday, the first 500 fans will receive free camo rally towels.
Kids ages 12 and under get free admission to all home games this season, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.
Blue Line Club luncheon: Before every home series, come meet and greet with the coaches at the Blue Line Club luncheon. This Friday at noon at the Varisty Room, Lake Superior State head coach Damon Whitten and UAH head coach Mike Corbett will speak.
LawLers Barbecue is catering. Tickets are $8 at the door, and free for Blue Line Club members.
Recruiting news: The Chargers picked up a commitment on Sunday, as defenseman Kurt Gosselin announced he will play for UAH. The Brighton, Michigan, native currently plays for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League, where he has four goals and 11 assists in 13 games this season.
94 D Kurt Gosselin (Alberni Valley Bulldogs) commits to Alabama-Huntsville. Veteran puck moving defenseman who plays a good all around game.
— Jeff McCarthy (@McCarthyOTB) November 9, 2014
Last week, Huntsville native and UAH commit Ted Rotenberger was traded from the Topeka RoadRunners to the Springfield Jr. Blues. Rotenberger is already getting more playing time, playing in all three games for Springfield this past weekend.
Stat packs: Numerical notes about the Chargers:
- Out of the 17 goals the Chargers have scored this season, 13 have come in the second period. UAH has scored one goal in the first period (Friday’s game at Air Force), and three in the third (two of which were also from Friday’s game at Air Force).
- Out of the 33 goals the Chargers have allowed, 16 have come in the third period.
- With a win and tie at Air Force, the Chargers had a “3-point weekend” on the road for the first time since a trip to Robert Morris on Dec. 2009.
- The seven goals scored over the weekend at Air Force were the most against Division I opponents since Nov. 26-27, 2010 (a 5-1 loss to Bowling Green and a 6-1 win over Connecticut at the RPI Holiday Classic).
- UAH is now unbeaten against Air Force in its last four games at Colorado Springs (3-0-1). The Chargers’36 varsity wins against Air Force are the most against any opponent.
- Carmine Guerriero’s .934 save percentage now ranks fifth in the WCHA. While there’s still plenty of season left, Guerriero is on pace to break Derek Puppa’s UAH all-time single-season record, which is .932 set in the 1995-96 season.