Barring an unlikely turn of events, UAH will miss the WCHA playoffs. The latest nail in the coffin: A 3-1 loss Saturday night at Northern Michigan, finishing a Wildcat sweep.
The Chargers (6-19-5 overall, 4-15-5 WCHA) are five points behind Alaska Anchorage for the eighth and final league playoff spot with four games to go (UAA defeated Lake Superior State 5-2), and three points behind ninth-place Alaska. Anchorage also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over UAH.
Meanwhile, Northern Michigan (15-11-6 overall, 12-8-4 WCHA) pulled into a tie with Ferris State for fourth place, where they would host a first-round playoff series. NMU won 3-0 on Friday.
This time, Brent Fletcher got the Chargers on the board first, sneaking the puck through NMU goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom at 9:41 of the first period for a 1-0 UAH lead. His third goal of the season was assisted by Brandon Parker and Matt Salhany.
Northern Michigan answered at 15:09 on a great effort by Cohen Adair. He took the puck from the left point, through the slot, and beat Carmine Guerriero (32 saves) on the stick side to knot the game at 1-1.
The end of the first got chippy. NMU’s Ryan Trenz collided with Fletcher at center ice to get a tripping call, but Fletcher was called for embellishment to keep UAH from having a power play. Regan Soquila made some hard hits that were not called for penalties, but an unsportsmanlike conduct after the period’s final horn was called on Kurt Gosselin to give the Wildcats the power play to start the second.
That power play would give NMU the lead 55 seconds in. Dominik Shine at the right point, to Brock Maschmeyer in center, to Darren Nowick in the left circle, who caught Guerriero out of position and found a wide-open net for his 12th goal of the season.
Most of the second period was dominated by the Wildcats, and they struck again at 14:01 as Robbie Payne beats Guerriero from the right circle for his 12th of the year.
At the end of two, Northern Michigan led 3-1.
Early in the third, Guerriero had to make four saves on an NMU power play. Meanwhile, UAH still couldn’t get much offensive pressure until the end, when they had a power play and an extra attacker in the final 1:08 of the game.
Northern Michigan outshot UAH 35-15 in the contest.
UAH travels to Bemidji State next weekend, and the Chargers will likely need to sweep the Beavers and get help in order for the final series at the Von Braun Center against Bowling Green to have any playoff implications.