The bright side is that the losing streak is over, albeit barely. However, it still feels like points were left on the table for the Chargers.
Frank Misuraca‘s goal early in the third period equalized the game, and Carmine Guerriero and the Chargers held on for a 1-1 tie Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. The draw ended a seven-game losing streak for UAH (3-9-2 overall, 2-8-2 WCHA).
Northern Michigan (5-5-6 overall, 4-4-4 WCHA), which has already played in seven overtime games this season, dominated puck possession in the final half of the game, so it was rather fortunate that UAH salvaged a point after losing Friday’s game in heartbreaking fashion. NMU outshot UAH 37-29, including a 15-3 advantage in the third period.
It was quite the opposite of what the Chargers did Friday, when they had the most shots on goal since 2009 with 47.
However, UAH started the game following Friday’s plan: Peppering NMU goaltender Atte Tolvanen. The Chargers fired away and got 13 on net — but no goals. Tolvanen made particularly good saves on Madison Dunn and Hans Gorowsky after a couple of centering attempts late in the period.
The Wildcats got nine of their own, but Guerriero was up to the task. He stopped an open Darren Nowick with under a minute to go to keep the game scoreless after one.
UAH had one scary moment with 5:59 left in the first, when Huntsville native Josh Kestner was knocked down near the head as he tried to get a stick on a rebound in front of the NMU net. He was able to skate off in his own power, but would be back in the game.
The second period was the first frame of the whole series that Northern Michigan had real control, and it started when the Wildcats got on the board first. John Siemer, on the right wing of a 2-on-1, fired and beat Guerriero on his glove side at 4:08.
After that, NMU saw the most puck possession of any period in the series, and the visiting NMU fans shared in their team’s energy. The Wildcats outshot the Chargers 12-10 in the second period.
Meanwhile, the closest UAH came to tying the game was Dunn’s rebound shot going wide as Tolvanen went down.
The Charger goal occurred at 2:00 of the third, when in a sort of role reversal, defenseman Misuraca received a pass from right wing Chad Brears, and directed the puck past Tolvanen to tie the game. It was Misuraca’s first goal of the season, and Brears’s sixth assist.
Despite that, the Wildcats continued their groove in the third period, capitalizing on UAH turnovers and continuing to test Guerriero. Unlike Friday, NMU could not convert those turnovers into goals as Guerriero — who finished with 36 saves in a performance reminiscent of last season — made timely saves with the pad and proper covers with the glove.
In particular, NMU had a 2-on-1 on a UAH turnover with 8:45 left in regulation, but Guerriero was able to get a pad on Filip Starzynski’s shot from the slot.
UAH held on to force overtime, where they had three shots to NMU’s one but still needed defensive support. Cody Champagne had one of his four blocks (and UAH’s 18 total blocks) during the extra session.
The Wildcats had one last chance as Siemer had a breakaway, but he couldn’t convert as the final buzzer sounded.
The Chargers’ next action is next weekend at defending WCHA champion and current league leader Minnesota State. UAH returns home on Dec. 18 and 19 to face NCHC opponent Colorado College.