Chargers ready to resume season against Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech (9-5-1, 3-2-0 WCHA) at UAH (2-5-1, 2-2-0 WCHA)
WHERE: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala. (COVID-19 policies)
WHEN: Friday, 7:07 p.m.; Saturday, 5:07 p.m. (subscription)
LISTEN: Penalty Box Radio

After three weeks off and a 10-day pause because of COVID-19 issues, the Chargers can finally resume the season at home in a non-conference series against Michigan Tech.

UAH has not played since January 9, when the Chargers finished off a sweep of Ferris State at the Von Braun Center for their first wins of the season.

“We only had six skaters for the whole week (during the pause),” UAH head coach Lance West said. “We’ve had one week of practice where we’ve started to have everybody back.”

West said the full roster save for one injured player should be available this weekend.

The Chargers did have one roster move during the layoff, adding freshman defenseman Josh Martin. Martin is a transfer from Alaska Anchorage, which opted out of playing this season because of the pandemic and is fighting to save its program.

As such, Martin is awaiting his college hockey debut. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Michigan native spent the last three years with Lone Star of the NAHL, scoring 15 points (three goals and 12 assists) in 49 games as an alternate captain last season.

“Martin’s a big kid who competes hard and battles,” West said. “He’s has a really good work ethic in practice,” showing similar traits to fellow freshman defenders Ayo Adeniye and Brian Scoville.

Michigan Tech ran into trouble last week at eighth-ranked Bowling Green, falling 6-3 and 5-2. Coming into the series, the Huskies had a seven-game winning streak, which included a sweep of the Chargers in Houghton. The Huskies rebounded Tuesday with a 6-4 victory at Ferris State.

The Chargers will need to score more than the single goal they managed in the series at Tech back on January 2-3, when the Huskies won 4-0 and 2-1.

“We know how hard it is to get goals against quality teams in this league,” West said. “You cannot take a night off and expect to win.”

Trenton Bliss and Alec Broetzman continue to lead the Huskies in scoring this season. Bliss, with six goals, is averaging a point a game through 13 contests. Broetzman has five goals and 10 points, including three points at Bowling Green despite the losses.

Blake Pietila has been Tech’s No. 1 between the pipes with 10 starts, with former Charger Mark Sinclair as backup. Pietila has a 1.60 goals against average and .948 save percentage.

Since leading the Huskies to a win over UAH, Sinclair shut out Northern Michigan in his next start but lasted just under 10 minutes in the first game against Bowling Green last week. Still, he has a 2.57 goals against and .902 save percentage this season.

Bronte nominated for Hobey: Forward Tyrone Bronte is UAH’s nomination for the Hobey Baker Award.

The freshman from Melbourne, Australia leads the Chargers with seven points in his first eight games, scoring three power-play goals.

“Though he’s only had the chance to play eight games, Tyrone has shown that he has a strong hockey IQ,” West said.

The fan voting phase has begun at and runs through March 8.

This week in the WCHA: All times Central.

Friday, February 5
Michigan Tech at UAH, 7:07 p.m.*
#18 Bemidji State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
#8 Bowling Green at #6 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, February 6
Michigan Tech at UAH, 5:07 p.m.*
Northern Michigan at Lake Superior State, 4:07 p.m.
#18 Bemidji State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
#8 Bowling Green at #6 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Sunday, February 7
Northern Michigan at Lake Superior State, 2:07 p.m.

Tuesday, February 9
Michigan Tech at Ferris State, 3:07 p.m.

*Non-conference game.