Mar 052015
 
CATCHING THE GAMES
Times: 6:07 p.m. CT Friday
6:07 p.m. CT Saturday
Watch it: WCHA.tv (subscription)
Hear it: BGRSO
Stats: BGSUFalcons.com
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @BGSUHockeySite@BGFalconHockey,

The Chargers finish the regular season at No. 13 Bowling Green looking to lock down their first WCHA playoff berth. Puck drop in Ohio is Friday and Saturday at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.

UAH needs just one more point to clinch a spot in the WCHA playoffs, which begin next week. Otherwise, the Chargers will need either Alaska-Anchorage to not win or Lake Superior State to lose twice.

All-time series: The Falcons command the all-time series at 12-3-1, including a 5-1-1 record against UAH in Bowling Green. BG has won 10 of the last 11 meetings, with UAH’s lone win coming last season.

Back in October, Bowling Green won both games in Huntsville by scores of 5-0 and 4-1.

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner has four goals in his freshman campaign. (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

Charger recap: UAH (8-22-4 overall, 7-18-1 WCHA) lost its last two home games of the season against Alaska.

On Friday, Josh Kestner scored twice to give UAH a 2-0 lead, but the Nanooks tallied four unanswered goals — three in the third period — and won 4-2. Carmine Guerriero made 37 saves as UAH was outshot 41-15.

On Saturday’s Senior Night, UAH would get on the board first again just 20 seconds in as captain Doug Reid scored. Alaska scored twice to take the lead before Max McHugh put the Chargers back in front at 3-2 with a pair of goals. The Nanooks then stole the game, tying it with 6.3 seconds left in regulation and winning it just 15 seconds into overtime, 4-3. Guerriero stopped another 37 shots.

Guerriero’s save percentage is now at .926, fourth in the WCHA and 18th in NCAA Division I. His goals against average is 2.58.

McHugh’s goal total stands at 10, becoming the first Charger with double-digit goals since Matt Sweazey scored 12 goals in the 2008-09 season. The freshman leads UAH with 21 points.

Other top scorers for UAH are Jack Prince (5-9-14), Chad Brears (3-10-13), Jeff Vanderlugt (6-7-13), and Brandon Parker, who has a team-leading 12 assists. Frank Misuraca is tied with Vanderlugt for second on the team in goals with six.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
BGSU
8-22-4
7-18-1 WCHA (8th)
Record 19-10-5
15-8-3 WCHA (3rd)
1.74 (9th) Goals/game 2.97 (3rd)
3.18 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.41 (5th)
15.9 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 12.8 (6th)
15.9% (5th) Power play 15.2% (7th)
82.3% (8th) Penalty kill 90.1% (1st)

About the Falcons: Bowling Green (19-10-5 overall, 15-8-3 WCHA) is the only team in the WCHA that has locked up its seeding. The 13th-ranked Falcons will be hosting a first-round series next week as the No. 3 seed, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to play for against the Chargers.

Bowling Green has lost four of its last five games, including 6-1 loss on Saturday at Alaska-Anchorage that dropped the Falcons to 14th in the Pairwise rankings, which are the primary tool for determining the teams for the NCAA Tournament. This puts BG on the bubble, and they can’t lose points to an eight-win UAH squad and expect to get an at-large berth.

The Falcons have many offensive threats, with 10 players with double-digit assists this season. Freshman Brandon Hawkins is the point leader with 24, with 12 goals and 12 assists. Sophomore Kevin Dufour has 13 goals on the season — including three against UAH back in October — followed by Ben Murphy’s 11. Dufour’s linemates, sophomores Matt Pohlkamp and Pierre-Luc Mercier, along with freshman defenseman and Philadephia Flyers prospect Mark Friedman, top the Falcons with 15 assists each.

Junior goaltender Tommy Burke has had the most playing time this season, playing in 51 percent of the Falcons’ minutes, posting a 2.27 goals against average and a .919 save percentage in 17 starts. Freshman Chris Nell has been solid as well, with a 2.32 goals against and .917 save percentage.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Minnesota State** 20-3-3 43
Michigan Tech** 19-5-2 40
Bowling Green** 15-8-3 33
Bemidji State* 11-10-5 27
Alaska^ 12-12-2 26
Northern Michigan* 11-11-4 26
Ferris State* 11-14-1 23
Alabama-Huntsville 7-18-1 15
Lake Superior State 7-18-1 15
Alaska-Anchorage 5-19-2 12
** Clinched home ice in first round
* Clinched playoff berth
^ Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: Minnesota State looks to win the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA regular season champion for the first time. The 2nd-ranked Mavericks need only one point at Bemidji State to do it.

No. 4 Michigan Tech will need to sweep rival Northern Michigan in a home-and-home and hopes Minnesota State loses twice to snatch the Cup for themselves.

As stated before, Charger fans will pay attention to two other series.

In the Governor’s Cup, Alaska-Anchorage hosts Alaska needing two wins and a bit of help to get into the WCHA playoffs. UAH clinches a playoff berth if Alaska-Anchorage loses or ties either game.

Lake Superior State hosts Ferris State also needing a single point to clinch a playoff spot. If UAH gets swept and Alaska-Anchorage sweeps Alaska, the Chargers will need the Lakers to lose both games to still make the playoffs.

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

Friday, March 6

UAH at #13 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #4 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.
#2 Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, March 7

UAH at #13 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
#4 Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
#2 Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

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