UAH faces Falcons in home-and-home

UAH (3-12-1, 3-7-0 WCHA) vs. Bowling Green (17-8-1, 6-5-1)
WHERE: Wednesday, Slater Family Ice Arena, Bowling Green, Ohio; Sunday, Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala.
WHEN: Wednesday, 6:07 p.m.; Sunday, 3:07 p.m. (subscription)
LISTEN: Penalty Box Radio (Sunday)

UAH has an actual home-and-home series. Only in this strange season could it happen.

The Chargers play Bowling Green this week, with the first game in Ohio on Wednesday night and the second game in Huntsville on Sunday afternoon. Because UAH is not very close to any other NCAA program, having a home-and-home series isn’t practical. Then again, this season, shortened and shaken-up by COVID-19, has been anything but practical.

Wednesday’s game at Bowling Green is the third and final stop on UAH’s long road trip. The Chargers headed to Ohio directly from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where they visited Northern Michigan and Lake Superior last week.

Sunday is likely UAH’s final home game of the season, and the final game at the Von Braun Center for seniors Connor Merkley and Connor Wood.

The Chargers are coming off a series at Lake Superior State that they would like to have back. They held a 1-0 lead in both games, with the Lakers rallying for a 2-1 win on Friday (scoring the game-winning goal with 9.2 seconds left in regulation) and a 4-1 win on Saturday.

Bowling Green is ranked 13th in this week’s poll and 14th in the USA Today/USA Hockey coaches poll. The Falcons had been in a rut in recent weeks, as their 6-2 win on Sunday snapped a five-game winless streak. They come into their final regular-season series in second place in the WCHA standings, nine points behind Minnesota State.

The Falcons have one of the top offenses in the WCHA, led by three senior forwards: Vegas Golden Knights prospect Brandon Kruse (10 goals, 19 assists, 29 points), Cameron Wright (12-14-26), and Connor Ford (12-12-24).

Goaltending has also been strong for Bowling Green. Senior Eric Dop (2.24 goals against, .924 save percentage) has been the No. 1, starting the last four games and 17 overall, but sophomore Zack Rose has been posting good numbers as well (1.86, .914).

Bronte named league’s top rookie again: Tyrone Bronte earned his third WCHA rookie of the week award on Monday.

The freshman from Melbourne, Australia had three points in the Chargers’ four games last week. He scored a goal and an assist at Northern Michigan and had another assist at Lake Superior State.

Bronte’s 13 points leads the Chargers and is second in the WCHA for freshman. He leads the league and is 11th nationally among freshmen in points per game (0.81).

Bemidji series pushed a day: The Chargers’ final regular-season series at Bemidji State next weekend has been moved back a day. The games are now scheduled for Saturday, March 6 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, March 7 at 2 p.m.

The series was originally scheduled for January 15-16, but was postponed to March because of COVID-19 protocols.

This week in the WCHA: All times Central.

Tuesday, February 23
#18 Lake Superior State at #20 Michigan Tech, 1:07 p.m.

Wednesday, February 24
UAH at #13 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.

Thursday, February 25
#19 Bemidji State at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Friday, February 26
#18 Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #20 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.

Saturday, February 27
#20 Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 5:07 p.m.
#3 Minnesota State at #19 Bemidji State, 6:07 p.m.

Sunday, February 28
#13 Bowling Green at UAH, 3:07 p.m.

Tuesday, March 2
#18 Lake Superior State at #19 Bemidji State, 6:07 p.m.

Wednesday, March 3
#18 Lake Superior State at #19 Bemidji State, 4:07 p.m.