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Late goal allows Alaska to force split with UAH

The Alaska Nanooks scored with 1:18 remaining on Saturday for a 2-1 win over the Chargers in Fairbanks, forcing a split in the two-game WCHA series.

UAH goaltender Jake Theut made 43 saves in his best outing for UAH, which fell to 1-11-0 overall and 1-5-0 in WCHA play.

BOX SCORE

Alaska improved to 2-8-2 overall and 2-3-1 in the WCHA, moving up to seventh in the standings with eight points. The Chargers are in ninth with three points from yesterday’s 3-1 win.

The first period was very similar to Friday’s first period, with the Nanooks coming out aggressive with the puck and racking up some shots on goal to test Theut, who was making his first start since Oct. 20.

UAF outshot UAH 17-9 in the frame, and took a 1-0 lead with 8:55 left in the period, as Tristan Thompson drove into the UAH zone and beat Theut high from the left circle.

UAH tied the game with 3:33 remaining in the first. On a 5-on-3 power play, Connor James blasted his second goal of the season from the deep slot, assisted by Madison Dunn and John Teets.

The Chargers had a better second period, also just like Friday, outshooting the Nanooks 11-9. But UAH had to withstand a dicey situation around the halfway point after Cam Knight was assessed a double minor penalty for hooking.

UAH continued its strong penalty kill, and withstood the onslaught. Theut made three saves, got help from the post, and then made a big stop sliding right to left on a shot by Chris Jandric after the Alaska power play ended.

The Chargers, who came into the series ranked 11th in penalty kill, held the Nanooks to 0-for-6 on the power play for the game and 0-for-11 for the series.

The end result was a scoreless second period.

With under seven minutes to go in the third period, UAH may have dodged a bullet. Sam Ruffin poked in a rebound that trickled under Theut’s right pad, but the officials lost sight of the puck and waved it off. They reviewed it and the call stood.

However, the Nanooks would get the last laugh after all, when Steve Jandric’s blast from the right circle beat Theut with 1:18 left in regulation.

The Chargers will be off again next weekend before hosting Bowling Green at the VBC on Dec. 1-2.

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Sinclair, Chargers finally get their first wins

The Chargers finally get their first victory of the season. And Mark Sinclair finally gets the first win of his collegiate career.

Sinclair was phenomenal, making 44 saves in UAH’s 3-1 win over Alaska in Fairbanks on Friday.

UAH improved to 1-10-0 overall and 1-4-0 in the WCHA. Sinclair, a sophomore, was playing well this season but came into tonight with an 0-12-0 record at UAH.

BOX SCORE

Alaska dropped to 1-8-2 overall and 1-3-1 in WCHA play. The Chargers and Nanooks play again Saturday night at 10:07 p.m. CST at the Carlson Center.

UAH also got enough offense when they urgently needed it.

The Chargers took an early 1-0 lead when Jack Jeffers scored from the slot as a puck bounced off the back boards right to him all alone. It was Jeffers’ third goal of the season, assisted by Jesper Ohrvall and Christian Rajic, at the 4:35 mark.

It was only the second lead of the season for the Chargers, but it didn’t last long. Just over 10 minutes later, Alaska tied it up as Tristan Thompson’s shot from the left point deflecting off of Kylar Hope’s skate in the slot. The deflection plus the screen tied up Sinclair, which is what it took to score against him Friday.

Despite the 1-1 score after the first period, it was the Nanooks who had the majority of chances, outshooting the Chargers 14-2.

The Chargers were more aggressive offensively in the second period, and they regained the lead at 2-1 with 8:37 left.

After winning the faceoff in the defensive zone, the Chargers put together an offensive rush. Connor Merkley from the slot passed to Bauer Neudecker in the right circle, and Neudecker threaded the needle between the crossbar and Alaska goaltender Anton Martinsson for his first collegiate goal and point.

Merkley and John Teets, a Fairbanks native, notched his second assist of the season.

UAH extended its lead to 3-1 at 1:25 of the third period. Austin Beaulieu, tied up in the right corner of the offensive zone, backhanded the puck to the slot, where Madison Dunn received it all alone. Dunn beat Martinsson five-hole for his second goal of the season.

The rest was up to Sinclair, who withstood everything the Nanooks could throw at him. Twenty of his 44 saves came in the third period, from deflecting Chris Jandric’s shot from the left side off the post, to stopping Kylar Hope’s breakaway.

Martinsson finished with 17 saves for UAF.

Header file photo by Doug Eagan/UAH Athletics

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Preview: UAH at Alaska

Where: Carlson Center, Fairbanks, Alaska
When: Friday & Saturday, 10:07 p.m. CST (7:07 p.m. AKST)
Watch: FloHockey.tv (subscription required)

Charger update: UAH (0-10-0 overall, 0-4-0 WCHA) is looking to hit the reset button on a confounding and frustrating start to the season.

“Hopefully the week off gives us a good energy level coming into this weekend,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “We will be rusty from not playing but for us to have success we need our energy levels high.

“The mood has been good. The group is realizing what we have to do to be successful after being humbled the first quarter of the season.”

The Chargers enter the series with Alaska still looking for its first win, having scored only nine goals in ten games. Two weeks ago, UAH hosted Michigan Tech and lost 2-1 and 4-1. The Chargers scored a lone goal in the third period in each game. Brandon Salerno scored his second goal of the season, and Madison Dunn notched his first.

The Chargers are also battling injuries. Senior captain defenseman Kurt Gosselin, who left the first game against Michigan Tech with a broken finger, will be out for a few more weeks. Forwards Connor Wood and Ben Allen are also out, but Corbett says they are hoping they return in two weeks when the Chargers host Bowling Green.

One bright side has been goaltender Mark Sinclair, who continued to show why he’s become the everyday starter. He stopped 63 of 68 shots in the Tech series (38 of 40 in the first game) to gave him a season save percentage of .922, sixth-best in the WCHA.

Another strength for the Chargers has been the penalty kill. UAH has killed 85.1 percent of opponents’ power plays, which is second in the WCHA and 11th nationally.

UAH 2018-19 statistics

About the Nanooks: Alaska (1-7-2 overall, 1-2-1 WCHA) has had its own rough start in Erik Largen’s first season as head coach, although last week the Nanooks had a successful trip to Lake Superior State, taking five of six points in the WCHA series. UAF took two points after scoring in the 3-on-3 overtime following a 3-3 tie on Friday, then got its first victory 4-3 on Saturday.

The Nanooks’ leading scorer this season is freshman Chris Jandric, who has nine points. He scored his two goals, along with two assists, in the series at Lake Superior, earning him WCHA Rookie of the Week honors. His brother Steven, a sophomore, has two goals this season.

Colton Leiter, who had the most goals last season among returning players with nine, leads Alaska in goals so far this season with three.

Junior Anton Martinsson has gotten the bulk of action at goaltender this season, posting a 3.24 goals against average and a .896 save percentage in eight starts.

Alaska 2018-19 statistics

Series notes:
Overall:
Alaska leads 22-9-2.
In Fairbanks: Alaska leads 13-5-0.
In WCHA games (since 2013-14):  Alaska leads 10-3-1.
First meeting: Dec. 11-12, 1987 at Fairbanks. Alaska won 10-6 and 5-4.
Last meeting: Jan. 5-6, 2018 at Fairbanks. Alaska won 3-2, UAH won 3-1.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. All WCHA home games can be seen on FloHockey.tv.
* Denotes conference game.

Friday, November 16
* UAH at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
* Alaska Anchorage at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior at #10 Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
* Ferris State at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Clarkson, 6 p.m.
Bemidji State at #2 St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, November 17
* UAH at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
* Alaska Anchorage at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior at #10 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Clarkson, 6 p.m.
Bemidji State at #2 St. Cloud State, 6:07 p.m.

PHOTO GALLERY: UAH vs. Michigan Tech, Nov. 3, 2018

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UAH can’t stop slide in another loss to Tech

The Chargers played a stronger game in the series finale with Michigan Tech, but their first victory eluded them again as their scoring woes continued.

Michigan Tech defeated UAH 4-1 Saturday at the Von Braun Center, dropping the Chargers to 0-10-0 overall on the season and 0-4-0 in WCHA play.

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

The Chargers will get an off week after starting the season with five straight series. Their next action is against Alaska, also currently winless at 0-7-1, in Fairbanks on Nov. 16-17.

The Huskies improved to 3-3-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the WCHA. They didn’t dominate possession like they did in their 2-1 win on Friday, outshooting the Chargers by a slimmer margin at 29-23.

However, the Chargers mustered only one late goal, and have only scored nine goals in their 10 games.

The first period was relatively quiet, with the closest either team came to scoring was during the Michigan Tech power play. UAH goalie Mark Sinclair lost sight of the puck after a shot sent it into the air. A Husky had poked the puck past Sinclair, but a referee, having also lost sight of the puck, blew the whistle to end play beforehand.

Michigan Tech scored the first goal 47 seconds into the second period. Jake Lucchini made a drop pass to Keegan Ford, who blasted the puck from the right point, beating Sinclair high stick side.

After Connor Merkley was called for a delay of game penalty for a faceoff violation, the Huskies struck again. Lucchini found the net from the left side for a 2-0 Tech lead with 12:33 left in the second.

The Chargers had a strong power play following, with three shots on goal, but Tech goaltender Matt Jurusik was there to stop them all.

Jurusik was also there to stop Madison Dunn’s shot on a two-on-none shorthanded opportunity to keep UAH off the board.

The Huskies started the third period with a power play after a Christian Rajic slashing penalty with one second left in the second, and they used it to make it 3-0. Sinclair couldn’t stop Grayson Reitmeier’s deflection in the slot of a Seamus Donohue shot up the middle.

UAH avoided the shutout with 5:53 remaining on just its second power play goal of the season. Hans Gorowsky found Madison Dunn from the right circle to the right doorstep of Jurusik, and Dunn buried it for his first goal of the season. John Teets also netted his first assist.

It was just the second power play goal of the season for UAH in 40 opportunities.

Lucchini scored an empty net goal with 12 seconds to go after Sinclair (25 saves) was pulled for one final push.