Any momentum built from last weekend’s results against Minnesota State was quickly quashed in the first 20 minutes against Northern Michigan on Friday.
The Wildcats got all the goals they needed in a 3-0 shutout over UAH in Marquette, putting another barrier in the Chargers’ road to the WCHA playoffs.
UAH (6-18-5 overall, 4-14-5 WCHA) will need to regroup and look for a win and series split Saturday night while hoping the Alaska teams lose to stay within striking distance of eighth place in the league standings. Alaska beat Bowling Green 2-1, which drew them into a tie for 8th with Alaska Anchorage, which lost to Lake Superior State 3-2. UAH is now three points out of 8th with five games to go.
Northern Michigan (14-11-6 overall, 11-8-4 WCHA) has won six of its last eight in its campaign to host a first-round WCHA playoff series.
The game was decided in a disastrous first period for UAH. Northern Michigan had the Chargers on their heels for the vast majority, outshooting UAH 23-5 and scoring three goals.
It started with Dominik Shine, who had a hat trick in Huntsville back in December, driving through the slot and beating Larose at the 4:20 mark.
The second NMU goal Larose could not do much with. Barrett Keib shot from the right point bounced off Filip Starzynski’s skate, then Anthony Paskaruk’s skate, then the back of the net at 10:52.
The Wildcats made it 3-0 after a puck deflection off of Robbie Payne’s stick handcuffed Larose at 7:21.
Larose still made 20 saves in the first period from all sorts of angles. Meanwhile, the rest of the Chargers had little to no rhythm or momentum.
The Chargers regrouped and played a more solid game in the second period. With a little help from two power plays, UAH outshot NMU 10-2 in the frame, but could not beat goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom, who earned his first shutout of the season with 19 saves.
There wasn’t much doing in the third period as NMU was content to hold serve the rest of the way and claim the win. Larose stayed sharp, finishing with a total of 28 saves on 31 shots.
UAH was shut out for just the second time this season, the other time coming Jan. 1 at North Dakota (1-0).
Game 2 is Saturday at 6:07 p.m. Central Time in Marquette.