The schedule is what the schedule is, but if there was one WCHA team the Chargers did not need to see this week, it was Minnesota State.
UAH, playing for the ninth straight week and third straight on the road, had hardly anything again for the seventh-ranked Mavericks. The Chargers lost 3-0 on Saturday, getting swept in a WCHA series for the first time this season.
The Chargers (6-12-2 overall, 5-7-2 WCHA) will get a much-needed Christmas break next week. Afterward, they go on a three-week odyssey from Bemidji to Fairbanks to Anchorage to finish their road season.
While that’s a long, arduous trip, UAH won’t see a team as potent as Minnesota State, the consensus preseason pick to win the WCHA title and the league’s lone ranked team. The Mavericks (13-5-0 overall, 11-3-0 WCHA) top the WCHA standings by four points over Bowling Green.
MSU is now unbeaten (20-0-4) in the last 24 meetings with UAH going back to 2002. A fresher Charger team on home ice will have a better chance when they host the Mavericks at the Von Braun Center on February 9-10.
UAH had a couple of decent scoring chances early, but Minnesota State controlled the bulk of the contest.
The Mavericks had a great chance to score when C.J. Seuss, who scored twice in Friday’s 5-1 MSU win, lead an odd-man rush, but Richard Buri got in front of Seuss to break it up.
However, it was also an interference penalty on Buri, and MSU ended up scoring anyway on the power play. Reggie Lutz blasted a one-timer from the right circle past UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair for a 1-0 Mavericks lead at the 12:45 mark.
Minnesota State took a 2-0 lead at 4:09 of the second period, when Jared Jaremko fed Seuss from one side of Sinclair to the other, and Seuss burying the puck in the open net.
Seuss scored yet again at 1:26 of the third, again with a clean look. This time Parker Tuomie found him for a 3-0 MSU lead.
UAH had a prime chance to score on back-to-back Maverick penalties. Dallas Gerads got an elbowing call, and then Riese Zmolek went off a minute later after getting a major charging call for his hit on Tyler Poulsen.
The Chargers had two shots on goal during the two-man advantage, but couldn’t get a puck on MSU goalie Connor LaCouvee in the remaining four minutes of the power play.
In the final minute, Brennan Saulnier checked Gerads hard into the boards, and got a contact to the head major and a misconduct penalty. Gerads held his head as he was attended to and then escorted off the ice. Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings took exception with the UAH bench, but did shake hands with coach Mike Corbett following the game.
Minnesota State outshot UAH 32-16. Sinclair, the freshman, had 29 saves in his fourth start of the season.