What a nice end to what’s been a rough home schedule for the Chargers: A win over rival Bemidji State.
UAH scored four unanswered goals to beat BSU 5-2 at the Von Braun Center on Saturday, earning a series split in the Chargers final home game of the season.
It was only the second home win for the Chargers (9-20-3 overall, 9-14-3 WCHA), who desperately needed the victory to stay in the hunt for a WCHA playoff spot.
However, Lake Superior State took two points from Alaska Anchorage, and Northern Michigan got another shutout of Alaska, moving both teams ahead of UAH. The Chargers are now tied for eighth place with Alaska, but Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH for the last playoff spot having gone 2-1-1 in head-to-head meetings.
Bemidji State, which clinched the WCHA regular-season championship on Friday, fell to 19-12-3 overall and 19-5-2 in conference.
Top 8 make playoffs
|5. Ferris State||32||4||vs. UAA|
|6. N. Michigan||31||4||@ MSU|
|6. Lake Superior||31||4||@ UAF|
|8. Alaska*||30||4||vs. LSSU|
|10. AK-Anchorage||27||4||@ FSU|
|* Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH (2-1-1 head-to-head)|
Brennan Saulnier put UAH on the board first with an unassisted goal at 13:47. His sixth goal of the season matches his total from last year, and he has scored in three straight games and four of the last five.
The Beavers came right back with two quick power play goals. Kyle Bauman notched his team-leading 12th of the season with 4:31 to go in the first, followed by Gerry Fitzgerald’s 10th with 1:58 remaining.
The Chargers put in Carmine Guerriero in goal to start the second period, replacing starter Jordan Uhelski, and he had to warm up quickly as the Beavers had an 8-1 shots advantage in the frame.
That one shot, however, tied the game up at 2-2. On a 2-on-1 break, Saulnier on the left wing centered to a driving Tyler Poulsen, who beat Bitzer five-hole at the 3:11 mark.
Cam Knight also assisted on the play, giving him 16 on the season, the most by a Charger since Brandon Roshko had 17 in 2007-08.
Poulsen struck again at 10:43 to give UAH its first lead of the series, giving him three on the season.
The Chargers added two more in the third period for the win.
With 7:23 left, Matt Salhany drove to the net on the left side with a Beaver covering him. He poked the puck past Bitzer and crashed into the net. Video review confirmed that the puck crossed the goal line before the net came off, giving Salhany his seventh goal of the season and the Chargers a 4-2 lead.
It was only the third time in 33 starts this season that Bitzer had allowed four or more goals.
The Beavers had one more chance after Cody Marooney committed a slashing penalty with 3:10 to go.
Almost immediately on the ensuing power play, Guerriero made a huge glove save on a rocket by Gerry Fitzgerald.
The Beavers pulled Bitzer for the extra attacker, but Salhany was able to get a steal and send the puck to Hans Gorowsky, who scored on the empty net with 1:24 remaining to seal the win for the Chargers. It was Gorowsky’s seventh goal of the season.
Guerriero finished with 23 saves without allowing a goal in two periods of action. Bemidji State outshot UAH 30-25.
UAH is idle next week, which means the Chargers won’t have an opportunity to get more league points until Feb. 24-25, when they finish the regular season at Bowling Green.
Three stars of the game:
1. Tyler Poulsen, UAH (2 goals)
2. Brennan Saulnier, UAH (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Carmine Guerriero, UAH (23 saves, 0 goals allowed)