UAH and Lake Superior State are two teams with the same number of wins and the same number of WCHA points, and about the same productivity on offense (which hasn’t been much this season). So Friday night’s 1-1 tie might come as no surprise, as the fact that the clubs remained tied in the WCHA standings.
Doug Reid scored the lone goal for the Chargers (7-18-4 overall, 6-14-1 WCHA), who remained tied with the Lakers (7-22-2 overall, 6-16-1 WCHA) with the last two WCHA playoff spots, in eighth place. Both are three points ahead of last-place Alaska-Anchorage, which lost to Michigan Tech, 5-1. UAH has two games in hand.
The teams face off again Saturday night at 6 p.m. Central Time in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with another chance to move ahead of the other and enhance their playoff chances.
If the Chargers were rusty following the off week, it showed in the first 10 minutes. Missed passes and turnovers in the defensive zone led to a few opportunities for the Lakers to score the first goal of the game, but Carmine Guerriero made the stops. He made eight saves in those first 10 minutes.
But as the period progressed, the Chargers started to gain puck possession. They started to test Laker freshman goaltender Gordon Defiel, but Defiel showed why he has been the key to their success this season.
With each team winning a half of the first period, the shots on goal after one was tied at 9-9. However, neither team would find the net.
The Lakers would strike first, though. After a flurry around the UAH, Gus Correale gets a tip in past Guerriero to take a 1-0 lead at the 4:13 mark of the second period.
The Chargers would strike next, and what a strike it was. Reid, the senior captain, finally got this first goal of the season, snapping a blast from the left circle, beating Defiel high and tying the game at 1-1 at 7:46. Brent Fletcher got his fifth assist of the season, and Anderson White, typically a defenseman who started in left wing, earned his first.
Lake State kept Guerriero busy in the final minutes of the second, forcing him to make glove saves and scramble to cover the puck.
The game’s pace slowed in the third period. Guerriero and Defiel were called upon to make some big saves to keep the game tied, but neither team really commandeered control of the game.
In overtime, LSSU’s Bryce Schmitt had a partial break that was broken up by UAH’s Frank Misuraca, which was the best chance either club saw at an overtime winner.
UAH outshot LSSU 28-26, another example of just how close the two teams are. Guerriero finished with 25 saves, while Defiel had 27 in a battle of star goaltenders for clubs building for the future.
Notes: Only one penalty was called the whole game — an elbowing call on UAH’s Cody Marooney at the 4:32 mark of the first. … UAH is 2-1-2 all-time at Lake Superior State. … It was only the second time this season the Chargers outshot their opponent. The other time was Nov. 15 in Huntsville, also against Lake Superior State (30-25).