Hoof Beats: Trying to stay positive through the off week

How do keep chins up when a team has been struggling to find their first win as the Chargers have?

UAH is 0-3-1 in the last two series. In three of those games, the Chargers have either matched or bettered the opponent in shots on goal, a vast improvement from the first six games. The three losses were essentially one-goal affairs with an empty-net goal tacked on the end.

“I won’t call it ‘puck luck,'” UAH head coach Corbett said during Tuesday’s media session. “You get what you deserve. This is where our program is at, where we have to take that next step and just win the game.”

Still, Corbett said the Chargers have been encouraged over the last four games.

“The biggest thing is making sure (the players’) attitude is right, making sure they’re understanding that we are getting better, that we’re improving and how close it is, because these kids like to see the final result.

“We had six breakaways and missed five of them over the weekend. If we score one, does everything change? Who knows, but our guys need something like that to cling to. The great thing about it is we’re getting those opportunities. We’re showing those things and being positive about it.

“I wouldn’t say frustrated, but we’re all at the point where we want to see some results, but we have to understand that our process has to stay the same. Now we just have to finish. We’re at the finish line, now we have to finish, and that’s just getting that puck over that red line.”

Corbett said the upperclassmen need to be a leaders for the freshmen.

“A lot of times you can camouflage your own frustration by helping someone through theirs. I talked to one of our captains about that — go through that process with (a younger player), and it will probably be very therapeutic for you.

“It’s easy for those younger guys to be frustrated. Part of why we like this group so much is that they came from very successful programs where they have won. We want that leadership, that winning mentality in our program. So it’s been frustrating for them, but that’s where (upperclassmen) have to be able to lead them and show them the way.”

The coaching staff will be recruiting this weekend during the off week, and there will be a captains’ practice on Friday.

“They don’t want to hear it from us anymore,” Corbett said. “They want to start seeing some results, so they’ve got to bond together. We’re keeping it simple and saying we don’t need a ton, we just need that extra 10 percent, that second effort, and I think the older guys can help them with that.”

The Chargers’ next series is Nov. 22 and 23 at Bemidji State (3-3-2 overall, 3-1-0 WCHA). The Beavers outscored Lake Superior State 12-2 in a sweep at home last weekend. If the Chargers (0-9-1, 0-5-1) want to improve their chances for victory, they’ll need to cut down their 4.17 goals allowed per game average in conference games.

“Some of the things we have to cure within our defensive systems, we’re working on a little bit each day,” Corbett said. “Bemidji is scoring a lot of goals right now, that’s the biggest thing we’re looking at for them. We’ve got to tighten up defensively and figure out where our flaws are.”

Chargers in the pros: Josh Kestner is on a roll with the Toledo Walleye.

Kestner has a 10-game point-scoring streak, tied for the longest in the ECHL this season. In 11 regular-season games played, the Huntsville native has 12 points on four goals and eight assists.

Here’s how former Chargers are doing in the ECHL so far this season (through Nov. 13):

Josh KestnerToledo114812
Brennan SaulnierRapid City136410
Tyler PoulsenRapid City14448
Cam KnightTulsa6235
Matt SalhanyAdirondack11235
Kurt GosselinCincinnati12123

In the NHL, goaltender Cam Talbot continues to back up David Rittich in Calgary. He made his fifth start on Wednesday, stopping 29 of 31 shots in the Flames’ 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars at home. Talbot has a 2.69 goals against average and .907 save percentage this season.

Alaska teams to play next season: College sports will continue for another year at Alaska and Alaska Anchorage, the schools announced on Friday.

That means the Seawolves and Nanooks hockey teams will be playing in the WCHA for the 2020-21 season.

The future is still uncertain after that. The conference is facing its demise in 2021 as seven schools plan to leave and form a new league, leaving UAA, UAF, and UAH searching for a new home.

This week in the WCHA: All times Central. All WCHA conference games (*) can be seen on (online subscription).

Friday, November 15
Bemidji State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at #18 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
#17 Bowling Green at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, November 16
Bemidji State at Ferris State, 5:07 p.m.
Alaska at #18 Northern Michigan, 5:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
#17 Bowling Green at Alaska Anchorage, 8:07 p.m.