UAH still got its spot in the WCHA playoffs with help later in the night, but there is no reason to celebrate after the Chargers’ performance against Bowling Green.
UAH (8-23-4 overall, 7-19-1 WCHA) was blown out 7-2 by the 13th-ranked Falcons in Ohio for its fifth straight loss. The Chargers allowed the second-most goals in a game this season and was outshot 37-19.
Max McHugh scored two goals for the second straight game for the Chargers, both coming on a third-period power play well after the game was at hand. He now has 12 on the season.
The Chargers clinched a playoff spot when Alaska-Anchorage lost to Alaska 1-0 late Friday night. Tied with Lake Superior State with 15 points, UAH is still the No. 7 seed, which they can retain with a win over Bowling Green, a LSSU loss to Ferris State, or if both UAH and LSSU tie their games in the regular season’s final day Saturday. Otherwise, UAH will be the No. 8 seed.
Bowling Green (20-10-5 overall, 16-8-3 WCHA), which is locked into the third seed for the WCHA playoffs, needed the victory to stay on the NCAA Tournament bubble, and they had the game under control from start to finish.
The Chargers were on their heels right from the opening face-off. The Falcons flurried around the net, and Mark Cooper fired a rebound shot through traffic from the right circle to score just 55 seconds into the game.
It took a few minutes for UAH to compose themselves offensively, and the Chargers were able to get in a few scoring chances. Josh Kestner was denied on a breakaway by Bowling Green goaltender Tommy Burke, who followed up and covered on Matt Salhany’s rebound shot.
The Falcons extended the lead to 2-0 on the power play. Kestner was called on a questionable trip, and Bowling Green fired away. The puck trickled trough Carmine Guerriero’s pads off the stick of Cooper, who notched his second goal of the game with 7:46 left in the first.
UAH had a power play chance continue into the start of the second, but right after it expired, Dan DeSalvo got the puck right out of the penalty box, breaking away and beating Guerriero as Bowling Green took a 3-0 lead at 1:09.
Over three minutes later, the Falcons crashed the net shorthanded, and Brandon Carlson covered the puck in the crease. That led to a Bowling Green penalty shot, which Brandon Hawkins coverted to make it 4-0.
That ended the night for Guerriero, who was replaced by Matt Larose after making 19 saves and allowed four goals.
Sean Walker scored Bowling Green’s fifth goal on a rush down the left side, getting around Frank Misuraca and beating Matt Larose at 2:25 of the third.
Hawkins scored his second goal of the game, and Pierre-Luc Mercier added another in a span of 49 seconds, and it was 7-0 within the first five minutes of the final frame.
Bowling Green’s Adam Berkle hip-checked Brennan Saulnier, who fell into the boards with 7:09 remaining. Saulnier was slow to get up, but was able to skate off the ice on his own power.
Berkle got a five-minute interference penalty, and the bench got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, giving UAH a major power play with two minutes of two-man advantage. McHugh got a goal on each power play as UAH avoided the shutout. Chad Brears got assists on both goals, and Brandon Parker got his 14th helper on McHugh’s second goal.
Burke stopped 17 of 19 shots. Larose finished with 11 saves on 14 shots in the final 35-plus minutes.
The Falcons have outscored the Chargers 16-3 in three meetings this season.
Editor’s note: Recap updated with UAH clinching a playoff spot following Alaska-Anchorage’s loss.