Preview: UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, WCHA quarterfinals

Where: Berry Events Center, Marquette, Mich.
When: Game 1, Friday, 6:07 p.m. CST; Game 2, Saturday, 6:07 p.m. CST; Game 3 (if necessary), Sunday, 6:07 p.m. CST.
Listen: (NMU)
Team stats: UAH | Northern Michigan

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner closes in on Bowling Green State goalie with the puck. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Charger update: UAH (11-21-2 overall, 10-16-2 WCHA) secured a spot in the WCHA playoffs with a 3-2 win over Bowling Green last Friday at the Von Braun Center. Austin Beaulieu’s goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation was the game-winner.

The Chargers lost 3-0 in the regular-season finale, and finished seventh in the WCHA standings.

Josh Kestner scored his 21st goal of the season, tied for most in the WCHA, in the third period on Friday, with Tyler Poulsen earning his team-leading 15th assist. Captain Max McHugh tallied his second goal, giving him four points in eight games since his return from injury.

Jordan Uhelski continues to make big saves for the Chargers. He stopped 30 shots on Friday and 28 on Saturday against Bowling Green. His .915 save percentage in conference play is fourth in the WCHA.

The Chargers return to the WCHA playoffs for the first time since 2015, when they were also a seventh seed. UAH was swept in two games, one in triple overtime, without scoring that season.

However, UAH went 2-2 against Northern Michigan during the regular season, which gives the Chargers some confidence going into this best-of-3 quarterfinal series in Marquette.

Players to watch:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 21 goals-7 assists-28 points in 34 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 9-15-24 in 32 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 9-6-15 in 34 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 5-10-15 in 34 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 8-7-15 in 28 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.92 goals against average, .911 save percentage in 29 starts)

About the Wildcats: Northern Michigan (21-12-3 overall, 19-7-2 WCHA) finished second in the WCHA, much higher than their predicted seventh place in the preseason polls. The Wildcats have been strong in the second half, winning 10 of their last 12 games.

Last weekend, NMU split a home-and-home series with arch rival Michigan Tech, winning 2-1 at home and losing 3-2 on the road.

NMU boasts three dangerous goal scorers that will need to be contained for the Chargers to advance. Robbie Payne (20 goals), Troy Loggins (17 goals), Darien Craighead (17 goals) combined for five goals and 11 points in the four games against UAH this season.

And that doesn’t include the Wildcats’ leading scorer, Adam Rockwood, who has 30 assists (fourth in Division I) and 38 points this season. Rockwood had a goal and four assists against the Chargers.

The Wildcats will have all-WCHA goaltender Atte Tolvanen between the pipes. He did not dress against UAH in the series in Marquette, but has started every game since returning from injury on Dec. 15. Tolvanen allowed six goals on 29 shots in the two games in Huntsville.

Players to watch:
Adam Rockwood (Jr., F, 8-30-38 in 36 GP)
Robbie Payne (Sr., F, 20-9-29 in 36 GP)
Troy Loggins (Jr.,, F, 17-20-37 in 36 GP)
Darien Craighead (So., F, 17-14-31 in 35 GP)
Philip Beaulieu (So., D, 9-22-31 in 36 GP)
Atte Tolvanen (Jr., G, 2.41 GAA, .905 SV%, 2 shutouts in 28 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape
(per game averages)
Northern Michigan
11-21-2 Overall record 21-12-3
10-16-2 WCHA record 19-7-2
2.46 (7th) Goals/game 3.04 (3rd)
3.07 (T-7th) Goals allowed/game 2.29 (4th)
15.2 (4th) Penalty minutes 13.1 (9th)
16.9% (6th) Power play 21.6% (2nd)
80.1% (7th) Penalty kill 83.2% (4th)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only


Series notes: Northern Michigan leads the all-time series 13-6-3, including an 8-3-1 mark in Marquette. UAH has won four of the last six meetings overall, and three of the last four at NMU. This season, both series in Huntsville and Marquette were splits.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. All WCHA playoff games can be seen on

Friday, March 2 (Game 1)
UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at #17 Bowling Green, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, March 3 (Game 2)
UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at #17 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Sunday, March 4 (Game 3 if necessary)
UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 5:07 p.m.
Ferris State at #17 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.