What does the fox say? An odd question to ask regarding a hockey game, but in a weirdly scheduled game in a weirdly scheduled season, apparently the fox says “victory.”
The Chargers, having to wear jerseys with the emblem of Fox Motors, a local car dealership, snapped a 29-game road winless streak Tuesday afternoon with a 3-1 victory over Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.
UAH’s blue road jerseys did not make the trip, and with the winter storm battering a swath through the Midwest, they could not be shipped in time. So the Chargers wore basic white jerseys with the Fox Motors logo along with their regular blue helmets and pants.
The one thing that could be considered normal was the play of UAH goaltender David Fessenden, who stopped 35 of 36 shots. The sophomore returned to action after being scratched in the Chargers’ last game against Minnesota State on Friday.
Fessenden’s status is up in the air again, however. Fessenden had to be helped off the ice with 2:22 remaining in the third period. Inexplicably, Fessenden received a delay of game penalty.
Derek Krall filled in the rest of the game, making one save as the Chargers killed the penalty and finished the victory.
UAH (3-9-1 overall, 3-4-0 WCHA) won its third game of the year, surpassing last season’s mark.
The series finale is Wednesday night at 6:07 p.m. The Chargers travel to Lake Superior State for games Friday and Saturday.
The Wildcats (7-12-0 overall, 5-4-0 WCHA) had come in winners of five of their last six, but it was the Chargers who put the squeeze on them through most of two periods.
To start the scoring, Tyrone Bronte drove to the net, crossed to goaltender Rico DiMatteo’s right and delivered a nice back-hander over the pad for a 1-0 Chargers lead 4:32 in.
UAH took a 2-0 lead early in the second period when Adrian Danchenko followed up Ben Allen’s shot with a pop-in rebound from the slot.
The Chargers had their first three-goal lead of the season with 4:14 remaining in the second. Connor Wood, on a 2-on-1 fresh out of the penalty box, centered a pass to Bauer Neudecker, who ripped the puck past DiMatteo for his fourth goal of the season.
DiMatteo made 13 saves as the Wildcats lost for this first time in four starts for the freshman.
NMU’s top line would not be denied, however. Andre Ghantous, assisted by Joseph Nardi, beat a sprawling Fessenden to cut UAH’s lead to 3-1 with 2:53 remaining in the second.
No goals were scored in the third period, even though Northern Michigan dominated possession. The Wildcats outshot the Chargers 16-2 in the final frame and 37-16 for the game.
Part of the reason for the shots advantage was the faceoff advantage. NMU won that battle by a decisive 47-23 margin.
But Fessenden would come up big yet again, making use of his large frame and quick glove to keep the Wildcats out of the net.
UAH had not won a road game since March 1, 2019 at Bowling Green. The Chargers had gone 0-24-5 on the road since.
Technically, UAH played as the home team. This series was originally scheduled for January 22 and 23 in Huntsville but COVID-19 issues with the Chargers forced a postponement.