Hoof Beats: Chargers to face off with America’s best youth

This weekend’s games don’t count to UAH’s record, but they still mean something.

The Chargers, fresh off their sweep of Northern Michigan at the Von Braun Center, host the USA National Under-18 Team this weekend for two exhibition games. Game times are 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

“You’ve got the most talented 17- and 18-year-olds in the country,” coach Mike Corbett said after Saturday’s UAH victory. “You’ve got four or five kids who are going to be first-round NHL draft picks. There will probably be some NHL general managers in the building. We don’t want to take a step back.”

Perhaps a couple of our boys will catch the eyes of those GMs. Most of the players on the U-18 roster are committed to big-time Division I programs, so this will be an interesting mid-season test.

UAH has played the U-18 team six times, with Team USA is 5-0-1 all-time. Two seasons ago, the Chargers lost 6-2 and tied 1-1 in Huntsville. At the time, the U-18 squad was coached by former UAH head coach Danton Cole.

UAH Penalty Shots
Modern D-I era (since 1999)
Player Opponent Result Date
Dwayne Blais Iona success 11/4/2000
Kevin Morrison Air Force success 10/8/2006
Tom Train Princeton fail 12/1/2006
Justin Cseter Omaha fail 1/28/2011
Matt Salhany Northern Michigan fail 1/17/2015

Penalty shots: Matt Salhany was awarded UAH’s first penalty shot in four years when he was tripped up by Northern Michigan’s Jake Baker on Saturday. Alas, Salhany failed in the attempt.

The last Charger penalty shot was by Justin Cseter, who also failed to score at Nebraska-Omaha on Jan. 28, 2011. The last successful UAH penalty shot was by Kevin Morrison at Air Force on Oct. 8, 2006. UAH is 2-for-5 on penalty shots in its modern Division I era (1999-present).

The last penalty shot against the Chargers was Oct. 23, 2009, when Western Michigan’s Cam Watson beat Cam Talbot. Opponents are also 2-for-5 on penalty shots against UAH in the modern Division I era.

Stat pack: 

  • Carmine Guerriero’s .933 save percentage is second in the WCHA behind Bowling Green’s Chris Nell, and is 12th in Division I.
  • Max McHugh’s 17 points is second among WCHA freshman, just one behind Minnesota State’s C.J. Franklin.
  • The Chargers have started another string of successful penalty kills, now up to 13 after last weekend. Again, they’ve had the most practice, with 139 power plays against — by far the most in Division I. Their season penalty kill is 84.9 percent, sixth in the WCHA.

WCHA leading the Top 10: While only six points separate fourth and tenth in the WCHA standings, the top three have separated themselves from the pack. And those three are in the top 10 in this week’s USCHO.com poll.

No. 1 Minnesota State retained the top spot and more than doubled the number of first-place votes (42) after last weekend’s sweep at Ferris State.

The Mavericks have opened an eight-point lead atop the standings over Bowling Green, which split the WCHA’s marquee series at Michigan Tech and moved up one spot to No. 6.

Michigan Tech, whom the Chargers play next week in Houghton, Mich., also moved up a notch to No. 10.

This week’s promotions: On Saturday, the first 500 fans will receive a set of UAH hockey trading cards. The first 1000 fans to Sunday’s game receive a free UAH hockey team photo. As always this season, kids 12 and under get free admission 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. UAH head coach Mike Corbett will speak this Friday at noon in the Varsity Room at Spragins Hall.

Terranova’s is catering. Tickets are $8 at the door, and free for Blue Line Club members.

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