If the 27-day layoff affected the Chargers, it showed big time Friday night.
UAH’s offense was ice cold against Michigan Tech in a 3-1 non-conference loss at the Von Braun Center. The Chargers managed only nine shots on goal for the game, with none coming in the final period.
Goaltender David Fessenden stayed hot, however, keeping the Chargers in it as best he could. He made 36 saves on the Huskies’ 39 shots.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 5:05 p.m.
Rust showed early for UAH (2-6-1), which saw its last three weekend series postponed because of COVID-19 protocols. The Chargers were only able to start resume practicing as a full squad a few days ago following a 10-day pause in activities.
The Huskies (10-5-1) quickly tested Fessenden with the first eight shots on net with the Chargers scrambling. One of Fessenden’s biggest saves came around four minutes in, when Ryland Mosley, a former UAH commitment, stole the puck in the slot and fired point blank.
Tyrone Bronte got the first UAH shot on Sinclair about seven minutes left in the first period, which helped get the Chargers their only real offensive pressure of the game and the first goal.
As the advantage expired, Bauer Neudecker popped in a rebound on an open net for his third goal of the season with 1:30 remaining in the first. Mick Heneghan, who had the initial shot, and Bronte had the assists.
The net was open because Tech’s Tyrell Buckley was cross-checking Peyton Francis into the Tech goal, resulting in another power play for the Chargers.
UAH couldn’t convert as the power play bled into the second period, and the Huskies tied the game up with a power-play goal of their own at the 3:26 mark. Halonen was all alone in the left circle and had a wide open net when he received a rebound of Colin Swoyer’s shot from the right side.
Tech leveraged that and two more power plays to spend an inordinate amount of time and shots in the UAH zone in the second period. The Huskies outshot the Chargers 17-3, with Fessenden’s 16 saves in the frame, 13 were with UAH shorthanded.
The Chargers needed all those big saves from “Big Save Dave” to keep the score tied 1-1 at the second intermission, but Fessenden could not stop the Huskies from taking their first lead 31 seconds into the third. Arvid Caderoth, who was named the WCHA rookie of the month for January, scored from the slot right just after Connor Wood’s penalty from late in the second expired.
Tech would go up 3-1 on a Tristan Ashbrook goal six minutes later.
The Chargers were essentially dormant the rest of the game, getting no shots on goal (and only two shot attempts) in a quick third period. It was the third time in program history that UAH could not get a shot on net in a period, the first occurrences happening in 2011 and 2013.
That made life easy for Michigan Tech goaltender Mark Sinclair. The former Charger needed only eight saves in his return to Huntsville.
UAH defenseman Dayne Finnson was scratched due to injury.