Michael Napier

Dec 092017
 

UAH had very few chances to score Saturday night in a 3-1 loss at Bowling Green.

UAH (6-10-2 overall, 5-5-2 WCHA) only managed 12 shots on goal against the Falcons (8-5-6, 7-2-5), who dominated with 42.

BOX SCORE

It was the stellar play of Charger goaltender Jordan Uhelski and his 39 saves that UAH was even in it to the end.

The lone Charger goal came early in the third period by Tyler Poulsen on the power play, but that was all UAH could manage.

UAH leaves Ohio taking two of six points in the series. The Chargers got a 3-3 tie with a shootout point on Friday.

Bowling Green, which retained first place in the WCHA standings, scored the first goal again, as Alec Rauhauser found the net on a wrister from the left circle at the 8:44 mark of the game.

The Falcons made it 2-0 as Connor McDonald, just as he did on his goal Friday, launched the puck high from the right point through traffic. Jordan Uhelski never got a good look at it as it found the net with 2:02 remaining in the period.

The Chargers had two power plays in the first and the Falcons had none, but both opportunities found very few offensive chances. Bowling Green outshot UAH 11-4 in the opening frame.

It got worse in the second period, as the Chargers simply could not get any pressure on the Falcons and goaltender Ryan Bednard. UAH only had three shots on goal (and only six attempts) in the period.

Meanwhile, Bowling Green kept humming, thanks in part to four power plays. The Falcons had six shots on goal on the first one, matching UAH’s total for the whole game at the time, and had 17 for the second period.

Uhelski stopped all six in that power play, but was not so fortunate later. Back-to-back penalties by Brandon Parker and Cody Champagne put the Falcons two men up, and Stephen Baylis made them pay with a one-timer from the right circle for a 3-0 lead with 7:08 left in the second.

At 4:19 of the third, the Chargers finally got on the board after a Brandon Kruse high sticking penalty. Tyler Poulsen redirected a Levi Wunder shot from the left point for his fourth goal of the season.

Wunder’s assist was his second, and Cam Knight got his eighth helper of the year.

But the Falcons took control and fired away at Uhelski immediately afterward. The Chargers had a few chances late, including a Josh Kestner breakaway with about nine minutes left, but Bednard (11 saves) made the stop.

Uhelski continued to make huge saves to keep UAH within striking distance. With about five minutes left, he made a stop on Tyler Spezia’s breakaway, and then gloved the rebound attempt by Kruse immediately after.

Next up for the Chargers is a trip to Mankato, Minn., next week to face second-place Minnesota State. It’s the third of six straight road series.

Dec 082017
 

Josh Kestner scored two goals for the second straight game as the Chargers earned a 3-3 tie Friday night at Bowling Green.

UAH (6-9-2 overall, 5-4-2 WCHA) got two points in the WCHA standings after earning its first-ever shootout victory (2-1).

BOX SCORE

Bowling Green (7-5-6 overall, 6-2-5 WCHA) got one point with its third tie in four games, staying in first place by that one point over Minnesota State.

UAH started with a defensive lapse and Bowling Green quickly pounced. Mitch McLain easily scored on a wide open net after a shot rebound came right to him all alone and Jordan Uhelski out of position. McLain easily made it 1-0 Falcons at 1:16.

 

The Chargers got on the board at 5:37, as Madison Dunn unleashed a blast from the left point for his third goal of the season. Richard Buri’s pass from the boards earned the primary assist. Cody Champagne also got an assist for his first point of the season.

The Chargers then started hitting. Kurt Gosselin put on a vicious hip check on Niko Coffman, but it only earned him a minor roughing penalty that UAH was able to kill off. Coffman did not return to the game.

Cam Knight was not so fortunate after checking Lukas Craggs from behind into the boards. Knight got five minutes and a game misconduct at 9:52, ending his night early.

Nearly a minute and a half into the major Falcon power play, Jacob Dalton give the UAH penalty kill a break with an interference penalty.

During the 4-on-4, Kestner picked up a loose puck and beat BGSU goaltender Eric Dop glove side to give the Chargers their first lead at 2-1.

UAH killed the remainder of the power play after it resumed, but the Falcons tied the game while the Chargers were on the power play. Stephen Baylis scored from the slot after a turnover with 3:13 remaining in the first and it was 2-2.

Two shorthanded goals were the killer for UAH in last Friday’s 3-2 loss at Northern Michigan. The Chargers have allowed five shorthanded goals this season, three in the last two series.

The second period was mostly lax until late, when both Uhelski and Dop put on a goaltending exhibition. Each made huge pad and glove saves on 2-on-1 rushes and breakaways to keep the score tied at the second intermission.

Kestner’s second goal of the game gave UAH a 3-2 lead just 2:08 into the third. He worked his way around Falcon defenseman Connor McDonald, then beat Dop high with an odd-angle shot for his 12th of the season.

McDonald tied the game at 3-3 with 10:10 to go, as his shot from the left point glanced off of John Teets’ arm in a screen and over Uhelski.

From there, it was the Uhelski (24 saves) and Dop (21 saves) show to keep the game equal through regulation. Dop made one final save on Dunn with nine seconds left.

The goalies stayed strong through the regular overtime (to make the game an official tie), and through the 3-on-3 overtime to determine who gets a second point WCHA standings.

In the shootout, Christian Rajic and Brandon Salerno beat Dop. Max Johnson scored in the first round, but Uhelski stopped Brandon Kruse to secure the point after tie.

It was UAH’s first point after tie in five tries since the WCHA instituted the tie-breaking procedure last season.

Dec 072017
 

Where: Slater Family Ice Arena, Bowling Green, Ohio
When: Friday, 6:07 p.m.; Saturday, 6:07 p.m. (CST)
Watch: WCHA.tv
Team stats: UAH | Bowling Green

Tyler Poulsen leads the Chargers with 10 assists. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCatPhotography)

Charger update: UAH (6-9-1 overall, 5-4-1 WCHA) earned its third straight series split last week at Northern Michigan. The Chargers are tied for fifth place in the WCHA with 16 points.

On Friday, Christian Rajic scored the game’s first goal, the seventh of the season for the freshman, but NMU scored two straight shorthanded goals and held off the Chargers, 3-1. Tyler Poulsen had his team-leading 10th assist.

On Saturday, Josh Kestner scored the game-tying goal late in the second period and the game-winner early in the third as UAH won 3-2. The senior Huntsville native now has 10 goals to lead the team. John Teets scored his third goal of the season, and Madison Dunn pitched in two assists.

Jordan Uhelski started both games in net, making 51 saves on 56 shots.

This is the second of six straight road series for the Chargers.

Charger leaders:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 10 goals-4 assists-14 points in 16 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 3-10-13 in 15 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 7-4-11 in 16 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 7-4-11 in 16 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 3-5-8 in 16 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.85 goals against average, .907 save percentage in 13 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape Bowling Green
6-9-1 Overall record 7-5-5
5-4-1 WCHA record 6-2-4
3.30 (2nd) Goals/game 2.67 (6th)
3.10 (T-7th) Goals allowed/game 2.25 (3rd)
15.1 (4th) Pen. minutes/game 16.3 (2nd)
25.0% (1st) Power play 18.0% (7th)
80.4% (7th) Penalty kill 81.8% (T-4th)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only

About the Falcons: Bowling Green (7-5-5 overall, 6-2-4 WCHA) earned four points at home against Bemidji State last week, winning 3-1 and tying 3-3 (losing the point after in a shootout). The Falcons moved ahead of idle Minnesota State atop the WCHA standings with 24 points.

Mitch McLain, a first-team all-WCHA forward last season, leads the Falcons with six goals. He got the empty-netter to cinch BGSU’s win over Bemidji State last Friday.

Sophomore goaltender Ryan Bedard, a Florida Panthers prospect, leads the WCHA and is ranked ninth in Division I in both save percentage (.927) and goals against average (2.02). The Falcons also have freshman Eric Dop, who earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors for last week’s 24-save, one-goal-allowed performance in the win over Bemidji State.

Players to watch:
Cameron Wright (Fr., F, 5-10-15 in 17 GP)
Stephen Baylis (Jr., F, 5-9-14 in 16 GP)
Alec Rauhauser (So., D, 4-10-14 in 17 GP)
Mitchell McLain (Sr., F, 6-3-9 in 17 GP)
Ryan Bedard (So., G, 2.02 GAA, .927 SV% in 9 starts)

Series notes: Bowling Green holds a 21-4-1 advantage in the all-time series with UAH dating back to 2000, and is 11-1-1 at BGSU. Since both programs joined the WCHA, Bowling Green has won 14 of 16 meetings, including the last five. The last two games were in Huntsville to end the 2016-17 season, with the Falcons winning 7-0 and 2-0. The last Charger win was a 7-5 decision in Huntsville on March 4, 2016.

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

Friday, Dec. 8
UAH at Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
#8 Minnesota State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 9
UAH at Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
#8 Minnesota State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Dec 042017
 
Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner has been on a goal-scoring pace not seen at UAH in over a decade. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Some statistical analysis as we hit the halfway point of the season:

• The 6-9-1 overall record may not seem like much, but it is the Chargers’ best 16-game start since the 2005-06 season, when they started 8-7-1.

• UAH is only 1-7-0 on Fridays, with the lone win coming against last-place Alaska Anchorage at home. The Chargers are 5-2-1 on Saturdays, with the two losses coming against non-conference foes Notre Dame and Cornell on the road and both currently ranked in the top six. Five of the eight series this season have been win-loss splits, including the last three weeks.

• The Chargers are scoring 3.30 goals per game in WCHA play, second in the league behind Minnesota State (3.80). UAH is tops in power play efficiency in conference games at 25.0 percent.

• Josh Kestner has 10 goals in 16 games this season, already a career high for him and more than his team-leading nine goals last year. He’s the first Charger to reach double-digit goals at this point of the season since both Jared Ross and Bruce Mulherin did it in the 2004-05 season. Kestner is third in the WCHA in overall goals scored and first in power play goals with five. Nationally, Kestner is 19th in goals per game (0.62) and tied for fourth in power play goals (five).

• Now that Jordan Uhelski has played over 1,500 career minutes at UAH, he qualifies for ranking in the program’s all-time leader boards. His .907 save percentage would be sixth all-time and fourth in the modern Division I era, just behind Cam Talbot (2007-10). His 2.81 goals against average would edge him over Steve Briere (1997-2000) for fourth all-time and second in the modern Division I era (behind Scott Munroe’s 2.76).

• For those of you who still care about goaltender win-loss records, Uhelski already has 12 career victories in two seasons, matching Carmine Guerriero’s four-year total. Uhelski has made 33 starts, while Guerriero made 72. Uhelski is getting more goal support now that the Chargers are scoring about a half goal per game more than last season, and about 1.5 goals per game more than Guerriero’s first season (2013-14).

Recruiting update: Last week, UAH received a commitment from Drew Lennon, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defenseman playing for the Lone Star Brahmas in the NAHL. Lennon, who is originally from Illinois, has played junior hockey all over the continent these past few years. After starring with Rocky Mountain Roughriders U16 AAA team in 2014-15, he went on to play for the Connecticut Oilers in the EHL in 2015-16, and the Prince George Spruce Kings in the BCHL last season. Drew is known for his strong defensive play and skating ability. His size and reach make him difficult to play against, and he’s yet to reach his offensive ceiling. Through 27 games this season, he has two goals and five assists, but has a goal and three assists in his last eight games, so he’s starting to heat up.

Bauer Neudecker signed his National Letter of Intent with UAH, so he’ll be a member of the 2018-19 freshmen class. He has five points in 17 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, the same team the produced UAH captain Max McHugh.

Tyr Thompson, another forward expected in the 2018-19 recruiting class, has been playing at a near point-per-game pace this season (31 points in 29 games) for his Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) squad. Thompson and Neudecker headline what is shaping up to be another solid recruiting class for Coach Corbert and his staff. — Asher Kitchings

WCHA media poll: The Chargers are currently sixth in the latest WCHA Media Poll, conducted by Tech Hockey Guide. UAH fell a spot from fifth after the Chargers split at Northern Michigan over the weekend.

UAHHockey.com has a vote in the poll, which has a representative covering each WCHA program.

Dec 022017
 

Josh Kestner scored two goals as the Chargers forced another series split with a 3-2 win on Saturday over Northern Michigan in Marquette.

UAH (6-9-1 overall, 5-4-1 WCHA) has split five of the eight series this season, all of them with the Chargers winning the Saturday contest. UAH is 5-2-1 on Saturdays and 1-7-0 on Fridays.

BOX SCORE

UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski allowed two first-period goals, but was on the ball the rest of the way toward a 22-save night in sending Northern Michigan (8-8-0, 6-4-0) to its fourth loss in five games.

The Chargers completed the first of six straight road series. Their next stop is next week at Bowling Green.

Northern Michigan scored the first goal on the power play. Ryan Black’s blast from the right point was wide, but bounced off the boards behind the UAH net to Darien Craighead, who had an open net on Jordan Uhelski.

UAH tied the game at 1-1 as John Teets scored from the slot on a centering pass from the left side by Austin Beaulieu. Teets third goal of the season came with 2:59 left in the period.

NMU quickly gained the lead 57 seconds later. Troy Loggins scored from the left wing on an outlet pass from Jordan Klimek.

The Chargers equalized again with just three seconds left in the first after Jordan Klimek cross-checked Austin Beaulieu. On the power play, Connor Merkley found Josh Kestner in the left circle, who unleashed a one-timer for a 2-2 game at the first intermission.

Kestner struck again at 1:48 of the second period to give UAH its first lead of the night. He took a pass from behind the goal line by Christian Rajic, and scored alone from the slot.

It was Kestner’s 10th goal of the season, surpassing his team-leading total from all of last year.

The Wildcats amped up their offensive pressure in the third period, but Uhelski stopped all eight shots, including a couple while NMU netminder Mathias Israelsson (18 saves) was pulled for the extra attacker for almost the final two minutes.