Two shorthanded goals late in the second period were the Chargers’ downfall Friday in a 3-1 loss at Northern Michigan.
UAH (5-9-1 overall, 4-4-1 WCHA) got a goal early in the second by Christian Rajic, but made turnovers on two power plays led to the Chargers’ seventh loss in eight series openers this season. UAH will try to salvage a split on Saturday, where the Chargers are 4-2-1 this year.
NMU (8-7-0, 6-3-0) ended a three-game losing streak while outshooting the Chargers 32-16.
The Chargers were very fortunate to get out of the first period unscathed. Most of the action was in the UAH zone, and the Wildcats had a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal.
Jordan Uhelski made all the saves, including one where he was caught out of position and dove back to make a stop on NMU’s Troy Loggins.
But he also needed a little help. During the first of two Wildcat power plays in the period, the net was left open again. Adam Rockwood tried to take advantage with a wraparound, but Madison Dunn was there in the crease to keep the game scoreless.
The second period started well enough, as the Chargers took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Christian Rajic, who sneaked one past NMU goalie Mathias Israelsson. His seventh goal of the season, assisted by Connor Merkley and Tyler Poulsen, came with 10:43 left.
UAH had the benefit of back-to-back slashing penalties by the Wildcats, but not only did the Chargers not convert, they gave up back-to-back shorthanded goals and the lead.
With 3:05 left in the period, Denver Pierce finished off a 2-on-1 break with Rockwood following a bad pass in the UAH end to tie the game. Then with 1:12 left, Rockwood was found all alone in front of the UAH net to make it 2-1 UAH.
Northern Michigan extended its lead to 3-1 on the power play at the 5:03 mark of the third period. After a Josh Kestner slashing penalty, Zach Diamontoni sneaked the puck between Uhelski’s legs from the slot.
Uhelski finished with 29 saves.
UAH now finds itself tied for fifth in the WCHA standings with Ferris State, which also has a 4-4 league record and 13 points. NMU is in fourth place with 18 points.
Defenseman Cam Knight was back in the UAH lineup after missing last week’s series against Ferris State with a small injury.