The Chargers have yet to solve Michigan Tech, and Friday never seemed like it was going to be the night.
UAH lost 5-2 to the Huskies at the Von Braun Center, falling to 0-12-1 all-time against Michigan Tech. Of more urgent matters is the Chargers’ losing streak, now at seven games overall and five in the WCHA. UAH is now 7-18-2 overall and 7-12-2 in conference play.
Outside of a mini rally for the Chargers, Michigan Tech (16-9-6 overall, 14-3-5 WCHA) had this game from start to finish to extend its unbeaten streak to seven games. The Huskies outshot a depleted UAH club by a 41-17 margin as they climbed to within six points of first-place Bemidji State in the WCHA standings.
With Kurt Gosselin, Cam Knight, and Brennan Saulnier having to sit out for getting game disqualifications last Saturday at Lake Superior State, coach Mike Corbett had to jumble the lineup. Defenseman Connor James played in his second game this season, Jetlan Houcher saw his first action since Dec. 3, and Hunter Anderson, normally a right wing, played defenseman.
Perhaps the surprise was who UAH put in net: Matt Larose got the start, getting his first action since the Chargers’ home opener on Oct. 21.
Tech took the early lead as Mitch Reinke blasted a one-timer from the left point, beating Larose at 6:02 of the first.
The Huskies make it a 2-0 when, after a Charger turnover in their own zone, Thomas Beretta’s shot hit Cody Marooney’s shin guard and Larose’s pad and in at 9:03.
The Huskies continued to dominate puck possession in the second period, and the Chargers didn’t get their first shot on goal until about seven minutes left in the frame.
It would be UAH’s only shot on goal for the period, despite having two power plays. The second power play ended up being a disaster: Tech mounted a 2-on-1 break, with Michael Neville feeding Reid Sturos, who scored shorthanded with :35 seconds left.
Michigan Tech had a 3-0 lead and a 27-7 shots advantage after two periods.
MTU scored its fourth goal on the power play. On an initial shot by Matt Roy led to a scramble in front, the rebound squirted out to a waiting Gavin Gould, who buried it with 12:02 left.
Twenty-one seconds later, No. 21 finally delivered UAH’s first goal. Tyler Poulsen’s first goal of the season cut the Huskies’ lead to 4-1, assisted by Madison Dunn and Max McHugh.
By that point the Chargers finally had some momentum, and with 5:20 to go, Jordan Larson found a rebound of his own off a Brandon Parker shot, poking it past a down a suddenly busy Tech goalie Angus Redmond to make it 4-2.
A Beretta holding call with 1:58 to go gave UAH the power play, and with Larose pulled for an extra attacker the Chargers had a 6-on-4 attack. However, Reid Sturos intercepted a pass from center ice and quickly shot it into an open net with 1:19 left for the 5-2 final.
With two Friday night, the Chargers have allowed eight shorthanded goals this season.
Larose finished with 36 saves on 40 shots. Redmond had 15 saves for the Huskies.
Game two of the series is 7 p.m. Saturday night at the VBC.
Three stars of the game
1. Gavin Gould, MTU (1 goal, 2 assists)
2. Reid Sturos, MTU (2 goals)
3. Jordan Larson, UAH (1 goal)
Wolitski donates $500,000 to program
The UAH hockey program received a major pledge on Friday. Sheldon Wolitski, former UAH defenseman from the 1996 NCAA Division II championship team and CEO of The Select Group, announced a $500,000 donation for equipment, travel, recruiting, nutrition, and fitness. TSG will also open a new location in Huntsville, managed by former Charger star and pro player Jared Ross. An additional $10,000 will go toward the establishment of the Doug Ross Suite, named for the longtime UAH hockey coach, at Spragins Hall.