Preview: Bemidji State at UAH

Where: Propst Arena, Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala.
When: Friday, 7:07 p.m.; Saturday, 7:07 p.m.
Team stats: UAH | Bemidji State

Hans Gorowsky

Hans Gorowsky had a goal and an assist in the win over UAA. (UAH Athletics)

Charger update: UAH (8-16-2 overall, 7-11-2 WCHA) spent last week off after finishing off a long road trip. The last stop was two weeks ago at Alaska Anchorage, where the Chargers won 4-2 and lost 2-1.

The Chargers sit in sixth place in the WCHA standings, 10 points behind fifth-place Michigan Tech. UAH looks to secure a WCHA playoff spot during this home stand, which has four series in the final five weeks of the regular season.

Josh Kestner had three points in the 4-2 win at Anchorage, and has four goals in the last six games. His 36 career goals have moved him into a tie for seventh in UAH’s modern Division I era.

UAH should have senior captain Max McHugh back in the lineup. McHugh, who is still UAH’s active leader with 64 career points, has missed the entire season so far after in injury in the preseason.

Players to watch:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 16 goals-6 assists-22 points in 26 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 5-12-17 in 24 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 8-6-14 in 24 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 8-4-12 in 26 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 4-6-10 in 26 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.82 goals against average, .912 save percentage in 21 starts)

About the Beavers: Bemidji State (13-7-6 overall, 10-4-4 WCHA) is on a tear, winning its last eight conference games and getting points in its last 11 against WCHA opponents to move into fourth place. Last week, the Beavers swept Ferris State on the road by scores of 2-0 and 4-1.

BSU is led by their senior goaltender, Michael Bitzer, who posted his fifth shutout of the season against FSU on Saturday. It was his 21st career shutout, moving him into second place on the NCAA’s all-time list. Bitzer earned his fourth WCHA goaltender of the week award of the season.

The Beavers are stalwarts on defense, ranked 10th in the country in goals allowed per game overall (2.35). If you get a power play opportunity (BSU is committing only 8.5 penalty minutes per game), it likely won’t amount to much: The Beavers are second in the nation in penalty kill at 89.5 percent. Add in their 8th-ranked power play and BSU has been a special teams force.

Three weeks ago in Bemidji, Adam Brady scored three goals against the Chargers in BSU’s sweep.

Players to watch:
Kyle Bauman (Sr., F, 9-17-26 in 26 GP)
Gerry Fitzgerald (Sr., F, 6-17-23 in 25 GP)
Jay Dickman (Jr., F, 13-7-20 in 26 GP)
Zach Whitecloud (So., D, 3-10-13 in 24 GP)
Michael Bitzer (Sr. G, 2.11 GAA, .915 SV%, 5 shutouts in 25 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape
(per game averages)
Bemidji State
8-16-2 Overall record 13-7-6
7-11-2 WCHA record 10-4-4
2.50 (7th) Goals/game 3.28 (2nd)
3.00 (T-6th) Goals allowed/game 2.17 (1st)
15.7 (4th) Penalty minutes 8.5 (10th)
16.3% (5th) Power play 24.7% (2nd)
83.3% (5th) Penalty kill 91.7% (1st)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only


Series notes: UAH has played Bemidji State 84 times, the most of any opponent. BSU holds the series lead at 49-30-5, but UAH holds the edge in Huntsville at 20-18-3. Last season, the teams split a series in Huntsville, with the Beavers winning 3-2 and the Chargers winning 5-2.

Promotions: UAH will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1998 NCAA Division II national championship team. A special ceremony with members of the 1997-98 squad will take place during the first intermission of Saturday’s game.

The Chargers will be wearing throwback uniforms, which will be available to fans through a silent auction. Bids will be final at the start of the third period on Saturday.

On Friday, the first 500 fans will receive a special trading card set featuring members of the 1997-98 Chargers, sponsored by Wells Fargo. On Saturday, the first 250 kids aged 12 and under get a free replica 1997-98 UAH youth jersey.

Free general admission is available to all home games, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on

Friday, Jan. 26
Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Bowling Green at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 27
Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Bowling Green at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.
USA Under-18 Team at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m. (exhibition)