It was one of those “what can you do” series, where you try your best against a superior opponent and hope you get enough bounces to pull an upset. The Chargers played well, but not enough bounces came against the second-ranked team in the country.
Carmine Guerriero stopped another 34 shots, but UAH again could not solve a stalwart defense and a white-hot goaltender in a 4-1 loss at No. 2 North Dakota on Saturday.
Richard Buri got a fortunate bounce off a North Dakota defenseman on the only goal for the Chargers (4-14-2), who were shut out 1-0 on Friday.
North Dakota (18-2-2) scored just 25 seconds in, as defenseman Paul LaDue’s blast from the right point beat Guerriero for the first lead of the game.
The Fighting Hawks dominated possession and continued to fire pucks at Guerriero and the junior from Montreal continued to make tough saves — 18 in the first period alone.
UAH only had five shots in the opening period, but made that fifth one tied the game — albeit unintentionally — with 12.5 seconds remaining. Buri attempted a centering pass, and the puck was redirected by the stick of UND defenseman Keaton Thompson and squeezed between UND goalie Cam Johnson and the post. Buri was credited with the second goal of his career.
The goal ended a North Dakota record consecutive scoreless streak by Johnson. It was his first goal allowed in 298 minutes and 25 seconds. Johnson finished with 14 saves on the night.
The Chargers opened the second period with some extended offensive zone time, and had two power plays in the first half of the period.
But as the second of those power plays was about to expire, the Hawks retook the lead on a highlight-reel goal by their leading scorer, Drake Caggiula. Caggiula passed the puck around UAH defenseman Cody Champagne and snuck the puck past Guerriero with 11:44 remaining in the second. It was Caggiula’s 14th goal of the season.
North Dakota had a chance to extend their lead on the power play early in the third period, but UAH killed the penalty in part because of five blocked shots by Brandon Carlson.
The Fighting Hawks would finally seal the game late. With a faceoff in the UND zone with 2:02 left, Guerriero was pulled for an extra attacker, but Bryn Chyzyk was able to take the puck down and score the empty-netter to make it 3-1 with 1:52 remaining.
Tucker Poolman made it 4-1 on a blast with Guerriero back in the net with 48.5 seconds to go.
UAH was outshot 38-15. The Chargers were 37-26 on faceoffs.
The Chargers resume WCHA play next Friday and Saturday at the Von Braun Center against Alaska.