Series Preview: vs. Bemidji State, Nov. 25 & 27

Wednesday Nov. 25, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free UAH Hockey trading cards
Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free turkey stress balls
Kids 12-under get free gen. admission to both games
Team statistics: UAH | Bemidji State

The Chargers look to snap their losing streak against rival Bemidji State in a rare Wednesday-Friday series around the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Wednesday night at 7, the first 500 fans will receive a free set of UAH hockey trading cards, courtesy of Wells Fargo. On Friday night at 7, the first 500 fans will receive a free UAH hockey turkey stress ball, courtesy of SportsMed. All kids 12 and under get free general admission, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

Fans are encouraged to donate toys and clothes at both games of the series as part of the University Place Elementary holiday drive. Interested donors will be able to drop their item off in the VBC lobby.

Matchup history: The UAH-Bemidji State rivalry goes back to 1994, during the programs’ Division II days. The Chargers and Beavers have met 76 times, the most of any UAH opponent. Bemidji State leads the series 43-29-4, buffered with a 30-4-3 mark over the last 37 games since 2006. UAH still holds a 19-15-3 advantage in Huntsville, but Bemidji State is 11-2-3 in the last 16 meetings at the VBC.

Brandon Parker

Brandon Parker scored a more conventional goal Saturday at Bowling Green. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger recap: UAH (3-6-1 overall, 2-5-1 WCHA) was swept at Bowling Green over the weekend, extending its losing streak to four games and falling to eighth place in the WCHA. Both were one-goal affairs, with the Falcons winning 3-2 in overtime on Friday and 4-3 on Saturday.

On Friday, Chad Brears and Jetlan Houcher scored third-period goals, each tying the game for the Chargers. However, UAH lost in overtime as Brandon Hawkins scored with 2:08 remaining. All five goals in the game were on the power play.

Saturday’s game was more physical, with more cross-checking, boarding, and hitting from behind penalties called. Brandon Carlson scored to tie the game at 1-1 in the first, and Brandon Parker and Brent Fletcher scored in the final two minutes to keep UAH in it, but it was not enough.

Brennan Saulnier is still the Chargers’ leading scorer this season with six goals and 10 points, but has only registered one assist in his last four games. Max McHugh also has 10 points after getting his sixth and seventh assists in the Bowling Green series. Brears, who was a late scratch from Saturday’s game, and Cody Marooney each have three goals.

UAH split goaltending duties for the third straight series at Bowling Green. Matt Larose had 36 saves in Friday’s loss, and has a .929 save percentage and 2.30 goals against average in three starts. Carmine Guerriero had 24 saves on Saturday, and has a .893 save percentage and 2.98 goals against in seven starts.

The special teams went in opposite directions last weekend. The Chargers scored three power play goals against Bowling Green — the most of any series this season. However, penalty-killing was only 5-for-10.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
Bemidji State
2-5-1 WCHA
Record 2-6-3
1-5-2 WCHA (10th)
3.00 (2nd) Goals/game 2.36 (8th)
3.00 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.82 (6th)
15.7 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 10.3 (8th)
14.9% (8th) Power play 26.4% (1st)
76.7% (9th) Penalty kill 87.5% (1st)

About the Beavers: Bemidji State (2-6-3 overall, 1-5-2 WCHA) has had a slow start to the season, currently sitting in last place in the WCHA. Last weekend, the lost and tied at home to Lake Superior State.

Goal-scoring has been tough to come by for the Beavers, who are eighth in the WCHA with 2.36 goals per game. It hasn’t been for a lack of shots — BSU had 83 shots on goal against the Lakers, but had only three goals to show for it.

Sophomore Gerry Fitzgerald is BSU’s top scorer with seven goals and 10 points. Their second-leading scorer is a defenseman, senior Greame McCormack, with four goals — all on the power play — and nine points. Brendan Harms, an all-WCHA third-team selection last season, is 2-6–8.

Michael Bitzer, the league’s all-rookie goaltender last season, has an .882 save percentage and 2.78 goals against average in nine starts of his sophomore year.

One aspect the Beavers have been strong on this season has been special teams. Bemidji State is tops in the WCHA in both power play (26.4 percent, 5th in Division I) and penalty kill (87.5 percent). The power play has been the majority of their offense: 14 of the their 26 goals this season have come with a man advantage.

Wednesday fact: This will be only UAH’s fifth game to fall on a Wednesday, and the first one at home. The last time UAH played on Wednesday was at Merrimack in 2011, which also was the day before Thanksgiving. UAH is 1-3 all-time on Wednesdays.

This week in the WCHA:

All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on

Wednesday, Nov.  25
Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 27
Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #15 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#19 Michigan Tech at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 28
Northern Michigan at #15 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#19 Michigan Tech at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

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