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Preview: UAH at Lake Superior State

Where: Taffy Abel Arena, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
When: Friday, 6:07 p.m. CST; Saturday, 7:07 p.m. CST
Watch: FloHockey.tv (subscription required)

Charger update: UAH (4-18-0 overall, 4-10-0 WCHA) had an offensive explosion in a split with Ferris State last week at the VBC. UAH scored a season-high five goals on Friday, but lost 6-5 in overtime. The Chargers rallied from two goals down late in the third to win 4-3 in overtime on Saturday.

The Chargers scored nine of their 32 goals this season, or 28 percent, in the series. Head coach Mike Corbett said his team was able to consistently focus and execute on a simple formula: getting pucks and bodies to the net.

“We have to get people willing to go to what we call around here the ‘third circle,’ right in the middle of the offensive zone,” Corbett said. “If you win that third circle on both ends, you’re probably going to win the game, or at least put yourself in position to win the game. We did a good job of getting more pucks and more bodies there, and getting second chances on their goaltender.

“I had to remind them in practice this week to remember how we got there.”

Austin Beaulieu was the star for UAH, scoring three goals and an assist in the series. He had a hand in all three goals that lifted the Chargers to victory, earning him WCHA Forward of the Week honors.

“Austin hasn’t changed a day since he’s been on campus,” Corbett said. “He works his butt off every day. It’s nice to see him get rewarded because he’s been on the cusp of breaking out a little bit. He just comes to work every day and enjoys the game of hockey.”

UAH is in eighth place in the WCHA standings, two points ahead of Ferris State and two points behind Alaska for seventh. Now the Chargers head to Lake Superior State looking to maintain focus, continue getting points, and solidifying their playoff position.

“It’s going to be a really big test for us,” Corbett said. “I like the way we’re playing and I think we’ve got some confidence. We tend to play a little looser and focused on the road. We’ve had a solid week of practice, now we’ve got to use the time on the road to dial in and be mentally prepared.”

UAH 2018-19 statistics

About the Lakers: Lake Superior State (13-6-1 overall, 8-5-1 WCHA) is on a six-game winning streak, with road sweeps of Alaska and Alaska Anchorage sandwiching a Great Lakes Invitational championship where the Lakers beat Michigan State and Michigan Tech. The Lakers are fifth in the WCHA standings and are ranked at No. 18 in the latest USCHO.com poll.

The Lakers, who defeated UAH 4-3 and 2-1 at the VBC on Oct. 26-27, have a potent offense averaging 3.35 goals per game, third in the WCHA and 12th in Division I.

Senior forward Diego Cuglietta has been on fire, scoring six goals in his last four games and 10 in the last eight. He has a total of 15 goals on the season, which leads the WCHA and is second nationally.

Anthony Nellis also has double-digit goals with 11. Both he and Cuglietta have 21 points, tied for fifth in the conference.

“I think everybody in the league knew that their top two lines are very good with (Gage) Torrel, (Brayden) Gelsinger, Nellis, and Cuglietta,” Corbett said. “Their confidence right now is just brimming. I think that’s probably the biggest difference in them” since the Lakers visited Huntsville in October.

Defenseman Lukas Kaelble is tied for second in the WCHA with 15 assists.

Senior Nick Kossoff has been the Lakers’ primary goaltender, posting a 2.29 goals against average and .913 save percentage with a shutout in 13 starts. Sophomore Mareks Mitens (2.45 GAA, .911 SV%) also has a shutout.

Lake Superior State 2018-19 statistics

Series notes:
Overall: LSSU leads 13-7-2.
In Sault Ste. Marie: UAH leads 5-3-2.
Trend: LSSU has won 7 of the last 8 meetings.
Last meeting: Oct. 26-27, 2018 at Huntsville. LSSU won 4-3 and 2-1.

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

Friday, January 11
UAH at #18 Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
#8 Minnesota State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
#10 Bowling Green at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, January 12
UAH at #18 Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at Bemidji State, 5:07 p.m.
#8 Minnesota State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
#10 Bowling Green at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.