Preview: Playoff push continues vs. Bemidji in final home series

Friday, Feb. 10, 7:07 p.m.
First 500 get free cell phone wallets
Saturday, Feb. 11, 3:07 p.m.
First 500 get UAH hockey trading cards
Ticket information
Kids 12-under get free admission
Season stats: UAH | Bemidji State

The Chargers close out the home regular season schedule against rival Bemidji State at the Von Braun Center on Friday and Saturday.

UAH will try to pull some upsets on the Beavers in order to secure their WCHA playoff position. Bemidji State is a win away from clinching the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA regular season champion.

All-time series: The Chargers and Beavers will be meeting for the 81st and 82nd time. Bemidji State leads overall 46-29-5, while UAH leads 19-17-3 in Huntsville.

This is the only regular season meeting between the programs this season. Last season, Bemidji State won three of the four meetings (the other being a tie).

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner has 9 goals and 22 points on the season. (UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger recap: UAH (8-19-3 overall, 8-13-3 WCHA) snapped a nine-game winless streak Saturday with a 4-1 victory in Alaska, earning a split with the and staying in eighth place in the WCHA standings. Alaska won the first game, 3-0.

Josh Kestner scored his ninth goal of the season, tying him with Kurt Gosselin for the team lead. Brennan Saulnier, Matt Salhany, and Sean Rappleyea scored the other goals for UAH.

Kestner leads the Chargers with 22 points, followed by Gosselin and Max McHugh with 18. Cam Knight has 17 points, buoyed by a team-leading 14 assists.

Connor James earned his two collegiate points with a pair of assists.

Jordan Uhelski made 30 saves on 31 shots in the win over Alaska, and 61 saves for the weekend. His goals against average is now at 2.75 and his save percentage up to .907. He is 6-7-3 in 17 starts.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA games only)
Bemidji State
8-19-3 Overall record 18-11-3
(27 pts, 8th)
WCHA record 18-4-2-2
(58 pts, 1st)
2.54 (7th) Goals/game 2.62 (6th)
3.38 (10th) Goals allowed/game 1.42 (1st)
15.0 (5th) Pen. minutes/game 10.0 (10th)
14.8% (T5th) Power play 20.4% (1st)
78.3% (10th) Penalty kill 93.5% (1st)

About the Beavers: Bemidji State (18-11-3 overall, 18-4-2 WCHA) can clinch the WCHA regular season title with a win over the Chargers or a Michigan Tech loss to Ferris State. The Beavers swept Tech by scores of 4-2 and 3-0 last week.

The Beavers are not a high-powered offense, but they don’t need to be with a defense that ranks the best in all of Division I in goals per game (1.81). Anchoring the defense is junior goaltender Michael Bitzer, who leads the nation with a 1.61 goals against average, is sixth in the country with a .935 save percentage, and is tied for the D-I lead with five shutouts.

Also tough to penetrate is BSU’s penalty kill, which also ranks the best in the country at 89.5 percent. That’s for the rare time they need it, as the Beavers are one of the least penalized teams in the nation.

Senior Phillip Marinaccio leads Bemidji State with 23 points on nine goals and 14 assists. The goal-scoring leader is junior Kyle Bauman, who has 11.

Around the WCHA: Series to watch as we head to the final stretch toward the playoffs:

Ferris State at Michigan Tech: Ferris State is tied for 6th, two points ahead of UAH. Michigan Tech has a six-point lead for 2nd, but needs to win and Bemidji State to lose to stay in contention for the MacNaughton Cup.

Alaska at Northern Michigan: Alaska is in 5th, just three points ahead of UAH. Northern Michigan is 9th but only two points behind the Chargers.

Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State: Anchorge is in 10th, but the Seawolves are not out of it, only five points behind UAH for 8th. Lake Superior is tied with Ferris State for 6th, also two points ahead of the Chargers.

All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on

Friday, February 10
* Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
* Alaska at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.

Saturday, February 11
* Bemidji State at UAH, 3:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Michigan Tech, 4:07 p.m.
* Alaska at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Mercyhurst at Bowling Green, 4:07 p.m.