Series Preview: at Alaska, Dec. 12-13

The Chargers, after an off week for rest and final exams, are in Fairbanks this weekend to face the Alaska Nanooks at the Carlson Center. Puck drop both nights is 10:07 p.m. Central Time (7:07 p.m. Alaska).

Times: 10:07 p.m. CT Fri. & Sat.
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Online audio: KCBF
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Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey@Alaska_Hockey, @NanookHockey
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All-time series: Alaska leads the series 14-6-1, and has won the last six games against UAH. The Nanooks 9-3 all-time against the Chargers in Fairbanks, where UAF won both of last season’s contests by 6-1 scores.  Last year’s series marked the first meetings between the two programs since 1992. Technically UAH hasn’t won in Fairbanks since the Nanooks forfeited a 9-5 win on Dec. 11, 1991 for using an ineligible player, but UAH won for real on Dec. 10, 6-3.

Chargers recap: UAH (3-11-2 overall, 2-8-0 WCHA) has lost three straight after being swept at home by then-No. 6 Michigan Tech two weeks ago.

In the Friday game, Craig Pierce put the Chargers ahead with a shorthanded goal just 1:06 into the game, but couldn’t hold off the Huskies in a 4-2 defeat. Jack Prince scored the other goal for UAH, and Carmine Guerriero made 30 saves in his fifth straight start.

In the Saturday game, Brandon Carlson and Frank Misuraca tallied goals, but it wasn’t enough as Michigan Tech won 5-2. Matt Larose stopped 32 shots in his return between the pipes.

The Chargers continued to fare well on the penalty kill, keeping the Huskies to 0-for-10 with the man advantage for the series. Opponents are 4-for-42 on the power play in the last six games. UAH leads the nation in combined special teams at 62.5 percent.

The Chargers now have five players with five points to lead the team: Max McHugh, Brandon Carlson, Jack Prince, Matt Salhany, and Brandon Parker. McHugh and Frank Misuraca each have three goals. UAH has 20 points from freshmen this season — a third of the team’s total.

Freshman Max McHugh leads the Chargers in scoring with eight points on three goals and five assists. Prince, Brennan Saulnier, and Brandon Parker each have seven points, while Misuraca and Jeff Vanderlugt lead UAH with four goals apiece.

Defensively, Carlson leads the nation in blocks with 41. Goaltender Carmine Guerriero now has a 2.49 goals against average and a .931 save percentage, which is fourth in the WCHA and 15th in Division I. Larose has a 3.79 GAA and a .908 save percentage.

UAH Tale of the tape
WCHA rank in parentheses
2-8-0 WCHA
Record 8-8-0
3-7-0 WCHA
1.94 (9th) Goals/game 2.81 (5th)
3.25 (8th) Goals allowed/game 3.06 (7th)
16.5 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 11.1 (8th)
18.0% (4th) Power play 16.9% (6th)
86.2% (6th) Penalty kill 81.2% (7th)

About the Nanooks: Alaska (8-8-0 overall, 3-7-0 WCHA) has had a rather rocky season. The Nanooks won their first five games, then lost the next five while learning of their postseason ban this season for NCAA eligibility infractions. They have since righted the ship somewhat, going 3-3 in their last six, including a split last weekend in Mankato against No. 2-ranked Minnesota State. Alaska won 5-4 in overtime last Friday before losing 5-2 last Saturday.

Junior center Tyler Morley is Alaska’s leading scorer with 16 points, tied for third in the WCHA. Morley has been hot of late, with four of his five goals coming in the last four games, including three in the Minnesota State series.

Sophomore Marcus Basara leads the Nanooks with seven goals on the season, and junior defenseman Colton Parayko, a 3rd round pick by the St. Louis Blues in the 2012 NHL entry draft, joins him with 12 points. Freshman forward Austin Vieth has six goals, including two goals (one being the overtime game-winner) against the Mavericks last Friday.

Sophomore Davis Jones has become Alaska’s netminder, starting the Nanooks last five games while senior goalie Sean Cahill has been injured. Jones has a 3.06 goals against average and a .870 save percentage.

UAH alum Lance West is in his fifth season as assistant coach. He is 15th on the Chargers’ all-time varsity scoring list with 113 points on 45 goals and 68 assists, playing from 1991-95.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Michigan Tech 10-2-0 20
Minnesota State 10-2-0 20
Bowling Green 8-1-1 17
Northern Michigan 5-4-1 11
Ferris State 4-4-0 8
Alaska 3-7-0 6
Lake Superior State 3-9-0 6
Alaska-Anchorage 2-6-2 6
Bemidji State 2-6-2 6
Alabama-Huntsville 2-8-0 4

Around the WCHA: Three conference series are on this weekend’s schedule, but the big series is a non-conference affair in Houghton, where No. 4 Michigan Tech hosts No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth. No. 3 Minnesota State, tied with Tech atop the WCHA standings, hosts Princeton in another non-league series.

Here’s the schedule for league teams this week. All times are Central. Games involving WCHA teams at home can be seen online on WCHA TV.

Friday, December 12

* UAH at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* Northern Michigan at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.
#9 Minnesota-Duluth at #4 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Princeton at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, November 15

* UAH at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* Northern Michigan at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
#9 Minnesota-Duluth at #4 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Princeton at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Idle: Alaska-Anchorage, #13 Bowling Green

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