Mark Sinclair stood on his head for two periods to keep Northern Michigan from routing the Chargers. However, when UAH got energized in the third period, they couldn’t tie the game.
Such was the case in the Chargers’ 3-1 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday. After UAH finally got its first win on Friday, NMU snapped a four-game losing streak to split the series.
The Chargers (1-12-1 overall, 1-8-1 WCHA) were fortunate to only being down 2-1 through two periods, as the Wildcats (8-6-2, 6-4-0) dominated to the tune of a 29-8 shots advantage.
Sinclair stopped 32 of 34 NMU shots on goal.
“Mark Sinclair was fantastic and he was able to keep us in the game,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “He made more than the saves he needed to make tonight. I feel bad for him, because I think his teammates led him down tonight.”
Lategan’s line and Connor Wood and Brandon Salerno, those guys played their butts off but the rest of the guys, we were very average. Very vanilla.
From the start, Northern Michigan wasn’t messing around like Friday’s first period, when the Wildcats sloppily allowed three goals.
NMU got on the board first with a shorthanded goal. Garrett Klee drove almost the length of the ice, got around a UAH defender in front of the Charger net and beat Sinclair to put NMU up 1-0 at the 5:03 mark.
Despite having two power plays, UAH was outshot 5-3 in the first half of the opening period. NMU had a 14-5 shots on goal advantage at the first intermission.
The Wildcats continued the put Sinclair to work early in the second period, but the Chargers tied the game at the 7:22 mark. Brandon Salerno ripped a one-timer from the left circle on a pass from Daneel Lategan at the halfwall for his second goal of the season.
Lategan and Connor Wood, with his third point of the series, got the assists. Corbett said that fourth line of Salerno, Lategan, and Wood had the best energy.
“Lategan’s line and Connor Wood and Brandon Salerno, those guys played their butts off but the rest of the guys, we were very average,” Corbett said. “Very vanilla.”
NMU got the lead right back at 2-1 less than a minute later. Jarrett Lee’s drive from the slot was stopped by Sinclair and deflected off the crossbar, and Luke Voltin put in the rebound.
The Chargers played much better in the third period, holding the Wildcats shotless through the first 10 minutes. UAH outshot NMU 9-6 in the third period.
However, NMU goaltender Nolan Kent (16 saves), who got the start after coming into Friday’s game in relief, would not allow the equalizer.
UAH had a golden chance late with a power play after Darien Craighead was called for a cross-checking penalty, but the Chargers would finish 0-for-6 with the advantage for the game and 0-for-9 for the series.
“We’ve got to move the puck quicker,” Corbett said of the power play. “We play too slow, and they’re able to get in the lanes and block shots. Our decision making on it isn’t very good.”
Vincent de Mey finished the NMU victory with an empty-net goal with 15 seconds to go. All three of NMU’s wins over UAH this season were by two goals, each with an empty-netter at the end. (The Chargers won Friday the same way.)
UAH heads to Bowling Green next weekend. The Chargers won’t be home again until January 9 and 10 against Bemidji State.