Mark Sinclair is developing into one of the top goaltenders in the WCHA.
The sophomore stopped all 39 shots he faced, leading the Chargers to a 1-0 win over Michigan Tech in Houghton on Friday, giving UAH its first shutout victory in three years. It’s Sinclair’s first collegiate shutout.
Bailey Newton scored in the first period, and Sinclair made it stick as the Huskies threw all they could at him. It was the first UAH shutout since Matt Larose blanked Lake Superior State on Oct. 31, 2015.
The 39 saves tied a UAH record for saves in a shutout, joining Derek Puppa (against Minnesota State in 1995) and Scott Munroe (against Robert Morris in 2005). It was also the first 1-0 win for UAH since March 12, 2010, a shutout by Cam Talbot also against Robert Morris.
UAH (3-14-0 overall, 3-8-0 WCHA) has won two in a row, following up on its win last Saturday at Bemidji State. The Chargers moved into eighth place in the WCHA standings as Ferris State lost to Northern Michigan.
The loss was a blow to Michigan Tech (9-7-1, 8-2-1), who came into the game one point behind Minnesota State for the WCHA lead.
UAH got its goal with 9:30 left in the first period. Newton, a freshman defenseman, got his first collegiate goal and point with a one-timer blast up the middle from just inside the blue line.
John Teets gave him the feed for his fifth assist of the season. Connor Merkley earned his second helper.
The Chargers withstood a surge of pressure by the Huskies immediately afterward, but Sinclair was able to keep the UAH lead at intermission with nine saves.
The Tech barrage kept going in the second period, as the Huskies put 18 shots on goal to the Chargers’ five. And most of those five occurred during a UAH power play around the midway point of the period.
However, thanks to some quick saves from far and near by Sinclair — and a crucial post hit by Jake Lucchini — the Chargers kept Michigan Tech off the board and their lead into the third.
The Huskies got another 12 shots on goal in the third period, thanks in part to three power plays. The last one started with 51 seconds left, after they had already pulled their goaltender Robbie Beydoun (16 saves) for the extra attacker.
Tech had one final flurry in the final ten seconds, but Sinclair made point-blank stops on the Huskies top scoring threats. The Chargers were finally able to clear the puck to secure the win and the shutout.
Michigan Tech outshot UAH 39-17 for the game. Each team had four penalties and four failed power plays.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at 6 p.m. CST.
Featured file photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography.