Michael Napier

Oct 202017

UAH has got to beat Michigan Tech sometime. The Chargers have now made it a habit of getting close, but still need that key goal.

Michigan Tech rallied to beat UAH 5-4 on Friday in Houghton, Mich. in the WCHA conference opener for the Chargers. The Huskies (4-1-1 overall, 2-0-1 WCHA) are now 13-0-2 all-time against UAH (0-3-0 overall, 0-1-0 WCHA).


The Chargers arguably played their best game against the 15th-ranked Huskies, and held a 4-3 lead at the halfway point of the third period. But UAH’s penalty kill struggles continued, allowing three power play goals, including the one that relinquished that lead.

Jordan Uhelski did all he could to keep victory within reach, making 33 saves, including some critical stops in the third.


The game started inauspiciously for UAH, which is now 0-8-1 at Tech’s MacInnes Ice Arena.

A boarding call on Cam Knight just 25 seconds into the contest quickly put the Chargers on the penalty kill, which has struggled so far this season. And the struggles continued as Dane Birks’s blast from the left point put the Huskies up 1-0 at 1:41.

UAH weathered a cross-checking penalty on Brennan Saulnier before finally asserting itself on offense.

On a 3-on-2 break, Christian Rajic took a shot on Tech goaltender Patrick Munson from the high slot. Munson made the save on it and to rebound tries by Kurt Gosselin. The puck squirted out of the scramble to Rajic, who poked it past Munson’s right to tie the game with 13:15 left in the first.

Rajic’s goal, his first collegiate point, was assisted by Gosselin and Cam Knight.

The Huskies looked to take over the game with two goals in the middle of the second period. Mitch Reinke scored from near the blue line at 9:14, and Joel L’Esperance made it 3-1 Tech with yet another power play goal at the 13:16 mark.

The Chargers did not go away quietly, posting two power play goals of their own to finish off the second period. In fact, UAH was solid on that side of special teams, going 3-for-4 with the man advantage.

With 3:24 left, Saulnier notched his first goal of the season from Munson’s doorstep, deflecting a Brandon Salerno pass from the left point. Gosselin also got an assist on the play.

Josh Kestner tied the game at 3-3 with 1:14 remaining in the period. Tyler Poulsen took the puck in the right circle, waited for an opening, then slid it to Kestner in the left circle. Kestner then fired it top shelf past Munson for this second tally of the year. Knight was also credited with an assist.

L’Esperance almost put Tech up again in the final minute of the second, but Uhelski snatched the puck with his glove for a critical save.

At the end of two, it was even in just about every category. Each team had 20 shots on goal, three penalties, and two power play goals. UAH had a slight edge in faceoffs, 26-22.

With 12:29 left in the third, UAH took its only lead by converting its third straight power play opportunity. Kestner made a nifty pass to Poulsen in the right circle, close to the goal line, and found an opening past Munson.

Then came the Michigan Tech rally. After Gosselin was sent of for interference, Justin Misiak was left all alone on Uhelski’s doorstep, and Mark Auk found him. Misiak easily put in the equalizer with 9:48 left.

Then with 5:29 remaining, Jake Lucchini, who was earlier denied by Uhelski on a breakaway, scored the game-winner for MTU.

The Huskies outshot the Chargers 18-8 in the third and 38-28 for the game. Munson made 24 saves in net for Tech.

Game two of the series is Saturday at 6:07 p.m. CDT and can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Oct 192017

Where: MacInnes Student Ice Arena, Houghton, Mich.
When: Friday, 6:07 p.m.; Saturday, 6:07 p.m. (CDT)
Watch: WCHA.tv

Tyler Poulsen (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger update: UAH (0-2-0 overall, WCHA 0-0-0) spent last week off. The Chargers were swept at then-No. 8 Notre Dame two weeks ago to start the season.

Tyler Poulsen scored twice to lead the Chargers in their opening 5-3 loss on Oct. 6. UAH mounted an upset attempt with a 3-2 lead in the second period, but could not hold on. Josh Kestner had a goal and an assist, and Jordan Uhelski stopped 35 of 39 shots.

The Chargers were shut out 4-0 in the second game despite outshooting the Irish 34-31. Mark Sinclair made 27 saves in his first collegiate start in net.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
Michigan Tech
0-2-0 Overall record 3-1-1
0-0-0 WCHA record 1-0-1
1.50 (T8th) Goals/game 3.60 (1st)
4.50 (10th) Goals allowed/game 2.80 (5th)
10.0 (7th) Pen. minutes/game 6.8 (10th)
10.0% (8th) Power play 38.1% (1st)
66.7% (10th) Penalty kill 75.0% (T6th)

About the Huskies: Michigan Tech (3-1-1 overall, 1-0-1 WCHA) is undefeated in its last four since opening the season with a loss at Wisconsin.  The Huskies beat No. 16 Union 4-3 and No. 6 Minnesota Duluth 4-3 to win the Ice Breaker Tournament, then opened their WCHA schedule with a win and tie (shootout win) at Lake Superior State last week.

MTU has moved up to No. 15 in the USCHO.com poll. The Huskies were picked to finish third in the WCHA in both the coaches’ and media preseason polls.

Sophomore defenseman Mitch Reinke picked up three assists last week against Lake Superior, and Gavin Gould picked up a couple of goals.

Players to watch:
Mark Auk (Sr., D, 2 goals-4 assists-6 points in 2017-18)
Joel L’Esperance (Sr., F, 4-1-5)
Mitch Reinke (So., D, 0-5-5)
Patrick Munson (Jr., G, 2.77 GAA, .907 SV%)

Series notes: UAH has never beaten Michigan Tech in 14 tries (0-12-2). The Chargers finally got a couple of points off the Huskies last season with two ties in the four meetings. In Houghton, UAH lost 7-3 and tied 1-1 (with MTU getting a point in the 3-on-3 overtime). In Huntsville, UAH lost 5-2 and tied 4-4 (with MTU getting a point for winning the shootout). UAH is 0-7-1 in Houghton.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, Oct. 20
* UAH at #15 Michgan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
* #14 Minnesota State at Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
Ferris State at Mercyhurst, 6:05 p.m.
#20 Air Force at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
#6 Wisconsin vs. Northern Michigan at Green Bay, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at #1 Denver, 8:05 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m. (non-conference)

Saturday, Oct. 21
* UAH at #15 Michgan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
* #14 Minnesota State at Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Mercyhurst, 1:35 p.m.
#6 Wisconsin vs. Northern Michigan at Green Bay, 5:07 p.m.
#20 Air Force at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at #1 Denver, 8:05 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m. (non-conference)

* WCHA conference game.

Oct 122017

With the Chargers off this week, here are some notes about last weekend’s series at Notre Dame:

  • Coach Mike Corbett told the Notre Dame broadcasters that he didn’t want the Chargers to have a special teams battle with the Irish. UAH was 57th of 60 Division I teams last year on power play opportunities, and 49th in penalty killing, and both aspects did not have great starts to the season. For the weekend, the Chargers were 1-for-10 on the power play, and the Irish was 3-for-9.
  • Tyler Poulsen’s two goals on Friday earned him the third star of the game. It was Poulsen’s second two-goal game of his UAH career.
  • Friday’s game was close to a repeat of history. The last (and only) time UAH has defeated a top-10 team was also a season opener and also at Notre Dame. The Chargers beat the fifth-ranked Irish 3-2 on Oct. 9, 2009. UAH led 3-2 at one point of the second period on Friday.
  • Saturday’s 4-0 loss wasn’t fun, but it didn’t appear to be as dominating as the score indicated. UAH had an advantage in shots on goal (34-31), while shots attempted were also close with the Irish with a slight 58-57 edge.
  • All five freshmen forwards played in both games, with Levi Wunder getting an assist on Friday. Freshman goaltender Mark Sinclair make his first start on Saturday, stopping 27 of 31 shots.
  • The Chargers may be feeling the effects of being without injured center Max McHugh in the faceoff dot. UAH won only 22 of 63 faceoffs on Friday and 20 of 53 on Saturday, or 36 percent for the series.
  • McHugh is the team’s captain, with Kurt Gosselin, Josh Kestner, and Brandon Parker being the alternate captains.
  • The UAH softball team was in attendance at Friday night’s game. Les Stuedeman and her squad were in South Bend to play the Irish and Western Michigan in fall practice games on Saturday. They were certainly heard at the Compton Family Ice Arena, particularly late in the game when the Chargers were threatening to score the tying goal.

The Chargers are off this week. Next week they head to Houghton, Mich., visiting Michigan Tech for their first WCHA series of the season.

Recruiting news and notes: Ben Allen, a ’97-born forward from Allen, Texas, recently committed to UAH for the 2018-2019 season. Allen is currently playing for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL after having spent the majority of last season with the Battleford North Stars in the SJHL. He’s not big at 5’9 and 175 lbs., but he makes up for it with an advanced hockey IQ and a relentless motor. With 11 forwards currently committed to play college hockey on Penticton’s roster, this should be a great year for Allen’s development. He’s currently got 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 games, and I expect his production will increase as he gets used to a new league and a new team. All-in-all, another solid commit for Coach Corbett and his staff.
Unfortunately, around the same time Allen committed to the Herd, it was confirmed that blue-chip defenseman Hank Sorensen had decided to open his recruitment back up. At this point in time, it’s unclear whether he’s still considering UAH. —Asher Kitchings

Single-game tickets now available: Reserved single-game tickets to the Chargers’ 14 home games are now for sale. They can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or through the Von Braun Center box office.

Season tickets are still available by calling 256-UAH-PUCK or through uahchargers.com.

The home opening series, which is also Homecoming, is Nov. 10-11 against Alaska Anchorage.

Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech scored a couple of crucial non-conference wins for the league by winning the Ice Breaker Tournament in Duluth, Minn. The Huskies defeated No. 16 Union 4-3 and host No. 6 Minnesota Duluth 4-3. Now at No. 15, Michigan Tech is the only WCHA team in the USCHO.com poll. … Minnesota State opened at home to a large crowd against in-state rival St. Cloud State, but the Mavericks lost 4-0 Saturday despite, like UAH, outshooting the Huskies 42-26. … Alaska Anchorage surprised No. 7 North Dakota at home on Friday with a 1-1 tie, but the Seawolves fell to the Fighting Hawks in overtime on Saturday, 3-2. … UAH alumnus Lance West made his debut as the head coach of the Alaska Nanooks, which took a loss and tie against Air Force in Fairbanks. … Ferris State split with Western Michigan, with each team winning at home. Western defeated Bowling Green 3-1 in Kalamazoo on Tuesday. … Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan split a non-conference home-and-home series.

Friday, October 13
* Northern Michigan at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* #15 Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Minnesota State at #2 Boston University, 6:30 p.m.
Michigan State at Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
#5 Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #6 St. Cloud State, 7:37 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Colorado College, 8:37 p.m.

Saturday, October 14
* Northern Michigan at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* #15 Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Minnesota State at #2 Boston University, 6:00 p.m.
Bowling Green at Michigan State, 6:05 p.m.
Bemidji State at #5 Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #6 St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Colorado College, 8:07 p.m.

Oct 072017

UAH had the shots against 8th-ranked Notre Dame, but not the goals. Not any.

The Chargers were shut out 4-0 on Saturday by touted freshman goaltender Dylan St. Cyr and the Fighting Irish, who completed the season-opening sweep.


UAH (0-2-0) had the benefit of 34 shots on goal and five power plays, but were bitten by last-second goals in the first and second periods by Notre Dame (2-0-0).

Mark Sinclair had 27 saves in his first collegiate start for the Chargers, who have next week off before travelling to Michigan Tech for their first WCHA series of the season.

The first period was set up nicely for UAH.

UAH had the benefit of three power plays in the first 10 minutes of the game, but could not convert. Indeed, it was Notre Dame which had the shots advantage at that point, including a couple of shorthanded opportunities.

The Chargers finally found some rhythm afterward, though, and was able to keep St. Cyr, the U.S. national development team product, busy. With about seven minutes left in the frame, St. Cyr denied a one-time shot by Josh Kestner after a great pass by Kurt Gosselin.

Despite the offensive charge by UAH, it could not find the net. But when Notre Dame finally got its first power play of the game with 33 seconds left in the period (a hooking call on Christian Rajic), the Irish, which had two power play goals on Friday, made them pay quickly.

Notre Dame pounced on a turnover, and Bobby Nardella found a wide open Andrew Oglevie in the left circle. Oglevie’s one-timer beat Sinclair with only a half second remaining in the first.

The Chargers had more shots in the first period, 15-11, but it was the Fighting Irish who led 1-0.

Notre Dame extended its lead to 2-0 on a similar play with 14:41 left in the second. Colin Thiesen on the right circle passed it to the left circle, where Jordan Gross, again wide open, released a one-timer past Sinclair.

UAH had 1:06 of two-man advantage after back-to-back penalties by way of Irish hits on Brennan Saulnier, but the Chargers couldn’t start a comeback. UAH finished 0-for-5 on the power play for the game and 1-for-10 in the series.

To make things sting even more, the Irish ended the second period with yet another goal in the final second. It was Oglevie who scored again, this time with just :00.1 left on the clock to make it 3-0 Notre Dame.

Matt Steeves added ND’s fourth goal with 10:11 to go, putting in a rebound as he was being tripped by Cody Champagne.

Hans Gorowsky had seven of the Chargers’ 34 shots on goal, which actually exceeded Notre Dame’s 31.

Cam Knight briefly went to the locker room after a collision with Notre Dame’s Dennis Gilbert laid him down on the ice for a couple of minutes. He returned late in the period and started the second period.

Oct 062017

Game No. 1,000 for UAH varsity hockey came close to being one of the program’s all-time upsets. While it came short of that, it did show that this Chargers team could have the tools to withstand some tough situations.

UAH never let No. 8 Notre Dame out of its sights on Friday, but the Chargers lost 5-3 in South Bend in the season opener for both teams.


Tyler Poulsen scored two goals for UAH in the see-saw affair, which saw the Chargers have a lead throughout a bulk of the second period.

Notre Dame had advantages in shots on goal (40-28) and particularly faceoffs (41-22). UAH senior goaltender Jordan Uhelski did his job to keep the upset chance alive with all the pressure around him, making 35 saves.

It was up and down for the first half of the first period, but the Fighting Irish asserted control in the second half. Notre Dame was able to get several close-range shots on Uhelski, who was up to the task with 16 saves in the period.

The Chargers were able to get nine shots on goal on Irish sophomore goalie Cale Morris, with Brennan Saulnier getting a couple to keep him on his toes.

The second period is when things went crazy, with six of the eight goals being scored and each team getting three.

Bobby Nardella finished off a power play from Brandon Parker’s hooking call late in the first to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead just 12 seconds in.

If you thought that may open the floodgates for the Irish, you were quickly corrected. UAH answered right back as Poulsen scored the Chargers’ first goal of the season just 36 seconds later, redirecting a Saulnier shot from the right circle.

Notre Dame quickly retook the lead at 3:01, with Colin Theisen splitting the defense and wristing the puck over Uhelski.

UAH bounced right back yet again. Josh Kestner tipped a Hans Gorowsky backhander through the slot, fooling Morris as the puck passed to his right and in the net. Levi Wunder got the second assist for his first collegiate point.

In a span of 4:44, four goals were scored and the game was tied at 2-2.

After Nardella was called for hooking during a Kestner breakaway, UAH notched its first power play goal and lead of the season. Kestner had a nifty backdoor pass to Poulsen, who wrapped the puck around an open net as the Chargers took a 3-2 lead at the 7:17 mark.

Notre Dame tied it up at 3-3 with 1:30 left in the second when Dennis Gilbert’s right point blast through traffic beat Uhelski.

In the third, the Irish regained the lead on their second power play goal. Connor James was called for high sticking at 5:30, and just 20 seconds later, Jake Evans tipped a Jordan Gross shot to make it 4-3 Irish.

The Irish went 2-for-5 on the power play Friday, as the penalty killing struggles seemed to continue from last season.

The Chargers had a big chance to tie it up before regulation. Gilbert was called for slashing with 1:06 left, and with Uhelski already pulled for an extra attacker, UAH had a 6-on-4 advantage. However, Evans was able to clear the puck down the length of the ice for a shorthanded empty net goal for the final 5-3 score.

Game two of the series is at 6:05 p.m. CDT, and can be seen online at NBCSports.com.