The Chargers may just be shedding that pushover label once and for all.
UAH played another solid game at Ferris State on Sunday, beating the Bulldogs 4-3 in Big Rapids and earning a WCHA sweep on the road to start the season.
UAH is 2-0-0 for the first time since 2001. Ferris State, ranked No. 20 in the USCHO.com preseason poll, fell to 0-2-0. It was also UAH’s first-ever series sweep over a ranked opponent.
However, like it has been and will still be, it wasn’t easy.
UAH gave Ferris State numerous opportunities in the first period, committing four penalties for four Bulldog power play opportunities.
The Charger penalty killing unit was mostly effective while busy, but FSU eventually struck on the fourth chance as Tyler Andrew got one between the legs of UAH goaltender Matt Larose at 10:45.
But UAH fought right back 32 seconds later, as off the faceoff Matt Salhany got two backhand shots on FSU goalie Darren Smith, and the second one found the net to tie the game 1-1.
Brandon Salerno and Jordan Larson got the assists on the goal for their first UAH career points.
Ferris State quickly took the lead in the second period, as WCHA preseason player of the year Gerald Mayhew caught Larose out of position and scored on a wide open net just 36 seconds in.
The special teams took over to propel the Chargers into the lead. After a Richard Buri hooking penalty put UAH shorthanded, Brent Fletcher puts in the rebound of a Cody Marooney shot to tie the game at 2-2 with 8:54 left in the second period.
Then UAH took the lead on the power play with 2:39 left in the second. Max McHugh notched his second goal of the series and season, assisted by Kurt Gosselin and Cam Knight, after Ferris State’s Chris Allemon went off for tripping.
The Chargers weren’t content to go into a shell, pressing the issue in the third period. UAH extended its lead to 4-2 when Brennan Saulnier deflected a Josh Kestner pass to the slot, beating Smith with 13:27 to go. It was Saulnier’s first goal since Oct. 30 of last season at Lake Superior State.
Of course, the Bulldogs would not go quietly. Mayhew poked in a rebound past Larose with 2:37 to go to cut UAH’s lead to 4-3.
FSU pulled Smith for an extra attacker with 1:20 left, and had a flurry of chances the rest of the way, but could not find the equalizer.
Larose had 29 saves in the contest as Ferris State outshot the Chargers 33-27.
Ferris State finished 1-for-7 on the power play. UAH went 1-for-2.
UAH visits Connecticut for its first non-conference series of the season next weekend (Oct. 7-8).