Another slow start spelled doom for the Chargers.
UAH, now winless in nine games to open the season, mustered just 3 shots on goal in the first period while goaltender Mark Sinclair kicked away or gloved 19 Michigan Tech scoring attempts Friday night.
And, despite Sinclair’s heroics – he finished with 38 saves – the Chargers (0-9-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) fell 2-1 to the Huskies (2-3-0, 1-0-0). The two teams renew their series Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. Faceoff is 7:07.
“We can’t keep doing this,” UAH Head Coach Mike Corbett said of his team’s penchant for slow starts. “You run out of gas early when you need to sustain it at the end.”
The Chargers, though, weren’t ever out of the game, according to the scoreboard. No matter that they outshot UAH 40-17, the Huskies couldn’t put UAH away.
Thanks to Sinclair.
“He kept us in the game,” Corbett said. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”
Sinclair, who has a sparkling 2.53 goals-against average and .926 save percentage despite a 0-6-0 record, credited his defensemen for his success.
“The guys gave me good looks,” he said.
As much as he credited the defense, Sinclair was stellar on his own.
A little more than 3 minutes into the game, he stopped Tech’s Gavin Gould, who was all alone at the goalie’s doorstep.
Less than a minute later with UAH on the power play, Sinclair came up big to turn back a shorthanded two-man breakaway.
Sinclair turned into a wall again, this time with about 4 minutes left in the game, when he made a big save on another breakaway.
It was like that most of the night – except when the Huskies put the puck past Sinclair.
Justin MIsiak broke the scoreless tie about 2 minutes into the second period and then, with about 5 minutes gone, Colin Swoyer scored on a wrist shot to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
The Chargers made the score 2-1 when Brandon Salerno put a wrister into the net 11:03 into the period.
The goal seemed to lift the Chargers as they kept buzzing around the net, trying to get the game-tying goal.
However, they weren’t able to maintain a constant pressure to tie the game.
“We have to learn how to come out strong early,” Corbett said. “So we don’t have to continue to battle our way back.”