By Todd Thompson / RiverCat Photography
The search for a win incredibly continues.
Alaska Anchorage scored with 3:05 remaining in the third period, then added an empty-netter to defeat UAH 3-1 at the Von Braun Center on Saturday.
Alaska Anchorage (2-4-2 overall, 2-1-1 WCHA) came to Huntsville and took five of six points in the WCHA series, which seemed to be the best chance so far for the Chargers to finally taste victory. The teams tied 4-4 on Friday with the Seawolves taking the shootout.
This loss will fester for a bit. UAH (0-9-1, 0-5-1) is off next week before heading to Bemidji State on November 22-23.
“We’ve got to get our game crisper,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “We’ve got to get more consistent. We’ve got to be able to move pucks and let pucks do the work, especially on nights like tonight when maybe we don’t have our best legs.”
The Chargers almost started the game with a bang just like Friday night when Peyton Francis had a breakaway in the first 17 seconds, but he was stopped by UAA goaltender Kristian Stead.
There wasn’t that much action after that until Tanner Schachle committed a major boarding penalty with a game misconduct, ending his night 12:34 in. UAH then had a short two-man advantage after an Alex Frye slashing penalty.
UAH failed to score with the over six minutes of power play time, but not without peppering Stead with pucks. The Chargers finished the first period with a 16-2 shots on goal advantage, but the game remained scoreless.
The first half of the second period saw the Seawolves get the first nine shots on goal, but it was the Chargers who got the first goal.
On a power play, Brandon Salerno backhanded a rebound at the Stead’s doorstep to put UAH up 1-0 with 6:12 remaining in the second. Tanner Hickey and Connor James had the assists.
However, the Chargers did not pick up Trey DeGraaf, who 86 seconds later tied the game at 1-1, also on a rebound in the slot.
The Seawolves continued to dominate the share of scoring opportunities into the third period. From the second period on, UAA outshot the Chargers 26-10.
“We had to get a spark,” Corbett said. “We had to get something going, and we didn’t have the energy to get it going.
“They pressured us a lot. We knew what they were going to do. We just have to be able to handle that pressure. You’ve got to be in shape and you’ve got to be able to play 60-plus minutes to be able to handle that pressure consistently.”
Anchorage’s game-winning goal came off the stick of DeGraaf, who deflected Carmine Buono’s blast from the left point. The puck somehow found its way past UAH goalie David Fessenden to make it 2-1.
Fessenden, who was making his third start, finished with 25 saves.
“I thought he was solid,” Corbett said of Fessenden’s effort. “All you want your goalie to do is give you a chance to win and I think he gave us a chance to win. He played hard and competed in his first home start.”
With Fessenden pulled for the extra attacker, Alex Frye sealed the Chargers’ fate with 8.8 second remaining with an empty-net goal.
The Chargers rallied from two goals down in the third to force a 4-4 tie with Alaska Anchorage at the Von Braun Center on Friday night.
Anchorage took two points in the WCHA standings after taking the shootout in two rounds, while UAH got its first league point of the season.
UAH (0-8-1 overall, 0-4-1-0 WCHA) reached a season high in goals and outshot the Seawolves 37-32. The Chargers will try again for their first victory in game two of the series at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“We’re always talking about possessing the puck and having the puck more,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “It was our third straight game where we outshot a team and that’s exactly what we want to do.”
It was the second straight tie for Alaska Anchorage (1-4-2 overall, 1-1-1-1 WCHA).
UAH got on the board quickly as Josh Latta scored his first collegiate goal just 34 seconds in. Latta picked the puck inside the UAH blue line and broke away, beating UAA goaltender Kristian Stead.
Stead (33 saves) had to deal with other breakaways in the first period, but was able to make saves on Peyton Francis and Bauer Neudecker.
“We scored on a breakaway with the first goal,” Corbett said. “We had two other breakaways in the first period. We’re getting those opportunities and we have to capitalize on them.”
The Seawolves tied the game at 1-1 with 9:45 left in the first as Drake Glover tucked the puck around the left post by Mark Sinclair (28 saves).
UAA went up 2-1 on a Tanner Schachle goal at the 2:34 mark of the second, finishing a one-timer all alone in front following a UAH turnover.
The Chargers answered with 11:14 remaining when Christian Rajic, not long after serving an elbowing penalty, put in a rebound to tie the game at 2-2.
“We’re starting to put some minutes together,” said Rajic, who had a three-point night. “It’s just unfortunate that we can’t put 60. As soon as we do that, we’re going to start winning some games.”
UAH continued to put on pressure but two lapses gave UAA two-goal lead.
Jared Nash drove to the net, cut across Sinclair right to left and scored with 6:58 left in the second. Then after a bad pass in the UAH zone, Taylor Lantz made it 4-2 UAA with 3:05 to go.
“We made big mistakes that ended up in our net,” Corbett said. “Just being hard on pucks and being able to support each other — those are the biggest things we really need to work on going into tomorrow.”
But the Chargers roared to life in the third period.
Jack Jeffers notched his third goal of the season at the 1:32 mark, assisted by Rajic and Latta.
“That was huge for us,” Corbett said. “We didn’t feel great about ourselves going into the locker room after (the second period). We came out and got that goal early right after the power play expired and was able to roll with that.”
Then on a short 5-on-3 power play, the Chargers tied it up at 4-4 on Dayne Finnson’s first college goal, a one-timer blast from the right circle with 8:12 remaining in regulation. Jeffers and Rajic got the assists.
“I was lucky enough,” Finnson said. “Jack put it right there on the tapes so I just ripped it.”
“It started off with our leaders,” Finnson said of the third-period rally. “They pushed the pace in the third and we followed up with that.”
“Dayne was having a really good game and we just kind of rode him,” Corbett said. “He’s done a lot of it in practice and it’s nice for him to be rewarded.”
The Seawolves came close to winning late in regulation and in the first overtime, but Sinclair made crucial saves to force the tie.
No scoring occurred in the 3-on-3 overtime period, although the Chargers were shorthanded in the final 1:45.
In the shootout, Jack Jeffers and Christian Rajic did not score. Sinclair made a save in the first round against Nick Wicks, but Brayden Camrud scored in the second round to earn the extra point for UAA.
“We’re going to keep moving forward here, forget about this one, and look forward to tomorrow,” Finnson said.
The last two weeks, the Chargers have played better and better against two of the better teams in the WCHA. That first victory, however, has continued to elude them.
The Chargers (0-8-0 overall, 0-4-0 WCHA) feel they can finally end their losing streak this weekend when they return to Propst Arena to take on the Seawolves of Alaska Anchorage.
Last weekend, the Chargers lost 5-3 and 4-2 to Northern Michigan in Marquette, both being one-goal games until NMU scored an empty-net goal in the final minute.
It was the best offensive effort for UAH this season. The five goals matched their total from the first six games, and the Chargers outshot NMU 59-56 for the series.
“Our group has continued to get better,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said told media on Tuesday. “Now we just have to learn how to win those games. We have to learn how to not make that big mistake at the crucial time.
“These kids can handle adversity. And they’re not listening to the outside noise. They’re seeing that they’re improving every day.
Freshman Josh Latta had an assist in each game, giving him five on the year. Still searching for his first goal, he currently leads UAH in scoring with those five points.
Jack Jeffers, Christian Rajic, and Tyr Thompson each scored their second goals of the season in the series.
Alaska Anchorage (1-4-1 overall, 1-1-0 WCHA) has had its own struggles in recent years. The Seawolves won only three games overall and two games in WCHA play last season.
So, this weekend is as good a chance as any for the Chargers to end their skid, especially at home.
“We have to try to do as much as we can against the bottom group teams,” Corbett said.
“It’s always good to be home. For us, to be able to get off the bus after a long trip and then skate and play at the VBC, it’s great.”
The Chargers want fans to come to Propst Arena after the big football game in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
“Alabama plays (LSU) at 2, and we play at 7, so everybody’s got to come out for the 7:00 game,” Corbett said. “We’re hoping to be able to get a good crowd on Friday and a good crowd on Saturday to help our guys.”
Anchorage does have a win over their arch-rival Alaska. Last week, the Seawolves lost 4-3 and tied 3-3 with Omaha at home.
Freshman Nick Wicks has eight points on two goals and six assists in six games so far. Nine of Anchorage’s 13 goals this season have come from freshmen, including three from Alex Frye.
Promotions: Kids 12 and under can get free admission to both games at the Von Braun Center box office, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.
This week in the WCHA: All times Central. All WCHA conference games (*) can be seen on FloHockey.tv (online subscription).
Friday, November 8
* Alaska Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* #3 Minnesota State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Western Michigan, 6 p.m.
St. Cloud State at #16 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Arizona State at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
Saturday, November 9
* Alaska Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* #3 Minnesota State at Michigan Tech, 5:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at Bemidji State, 6:07 p.m.
St. Cloud State at #16 Northern Michigan, 5:07 p.m.
Western Michigan at Ferris State, 6 p.m.
Arizona State at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
The Chargers outshot the opponent for the first time this season, and even that wasn’t enough to get their first win of the season.
UAH lost to Northern Michigan 4-2 on Saturday, a sweep for the 20th-ranked Wildcats despite the best effort the Chargers have had all season.
The Chargers (0-8 overall, 0-4 WCHA) can take their frustrations out on Alaska Anchorage at the Von Braun Center next week.
NMU (6-1-1, 4-0-0) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games although the Chargers outshot the Wildcats 27-24. They needed another empty-net goal at the end before they could breathe.
The Wildcats scored first on the power play following a Max Coyle slashing penalty. Vincent De May beat UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair (19 saves) high on a one-timer from the left circle at the 8:16 mark
UAH tied the game with 4:22 remaining in the first. Austin Beaulieu did a spin move to a cross-ice pass to Christian Rajic, who scored his second goal of the season.
Beaulieu and Liam Izyk got the assists for their first points of the season, and for Izyk his college career.
NMU regained the lead at 2-1 early in the second period. Caleb Schroer slid away from the defender in the slot and beat Sinclair stick-side.
With 12:38 left in the second, Jarrett Lee was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind.
UAH quickly took advantage to tie the game at 2-2. Ten seconds into the long advantage, Tyr Thompson had an open net on the left side for his second goal of the season.
Latta was the one who found Thompson from the slot, netting his fifth assist of the year. Rajic also got an assist to become the first Charger with a multi-point game this season.
The Chargers used the power play to build a few shots on goal on NMU goaltender Nolan Kent (25 saves), but could not get the lead.
After the Wildcats killed the major penalty, they regained the lead a third time. Andre Ghantous had a loose puck come to him in the slot and scored with 6:45 left in the second.
UAH outshot NMU 15-8 in the second period, but was outscored 2-1.
The third period was mostly uneventful until the teams got a little chippy with under seven minutes to go, but there were no penalties called.
Like Friday, UAH pulled Sinclair with just over two minutes to go. And, like Friday, NMU sealed the win with an empty net goal with 58 seconds to go, this time by Griffin Loughran.
Pictured: Christian Rajic. Photo by Todd Thompson/Rivercat Photography.