Forget relying on others, the Chargers took care of business at home, and they are back in the WCHA playoffs.
Austin Beaulieu’s goal with 1:18 remaining lifted UAH to a 3-2 win over 15th-ranked Bowling Green on Friday, securing a postseason berth for the Chargers for the first time in three years.
UAH (11-20-2 overall, 10-15-2 WCHA) will finish the regular season Saturday at 3 p.m. for Senior Night. Then the Chargers will know their seeding and where they will head for the best-of-3 WCHA quarterfinals next weekend.
The Chargers have 33 points, in sixth place. Alaska could tie them with a win against Alaska Anchorage late. Ferris State defeated Lake Superior 4-1 to move provisionally into seventh with 31 points, leaving Lake Superior out of the top eight.
Bowling Green (19-10-6 overall, 16-6-5 WCHA), which had won seven of its last eight games, secured the third seed.
The Chargers withstood another frantic attack from the Falcons, who held a 32-23 shots on goal advantage. UAH got another great performance from goaltender Jordan Uhelski, who made 30 saves — the sixth time in the last seven games that he has stopped 30 or more shots.
There was no scoring in the first period, but Bowling Green had more scoring chances. The Falcons were dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 16 of 19, and had more shot attempts, 19-13, but UAH had more shots on goal, 9-5, at the first intermission.
The Chargers had a five-minute power play near the end of the first period after BG’s Brett D’Andrea hit John Teets hard in front of the UAH bench. D’Andrea was assessed a major checking from behind penalty with a game misconduct with 28 seconds left.
UAH capitalized on the power play early in the second. Falcon goaltender Ryan Bednard (20 saves) was caught behind his net, and the Chargers took advantage with a steal. Austin Beaulieu sent it to Max McHugh, who scored his second goal of the season at the 3:21 mark.
Bowling Green was able to snatch the lead away from UAH with two power play goals on four Charger penalties in the second period.
The first one followed a McHugh holding penalty, with Mitch McLain powering one from the right circle to tie the game at 1-1 with 9:47 left.
UAH withstood a five-minute boarding major on Beaulieu, but couldn’t on a Cody Champagne hooking minor late in the frame. Alec Rauhauser’s blast from inside the blue line made its way through traffic and past UAH goalie Jordan Uhelski to give Bowling Green its first lead at 2-1 with 1:27 remaining.
The Chargers tied the game at 2-2 with another power play goal of their own, this time converting on a 5-on-3 advantage after back-to-back penalties by the Falcons.
Josh Kestner scored his 21st goal of the season, one-timing a cross-ice pass by Brennan Saulnier, with 12:26 to go in regulation. Saulnier, back in action after being suspended for four games, got his seventh assist, and Tyler Poulsen notched his team-leading 15th assist.
Then came Beaulieu’s game winner, his third goal of the year, which came on a deflection in front of Bednard from a Christian Rajic shot. Champagne was also credited with a helper.