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Chargers picked 7th and 9th in WCHA preseason polls

UAH is picked to finish ninth in the WCHA according to the preseason coaches’ poll, while the media expects the Chargers to finish seventh again. The polls were released during Monday’s WCHA preseason media call.

Despite the tempered expectations for the Chargers, head coach Mike Corbett likes what he’s seen so far from his team.

“Sometimes progress is never as fast as you want, but we’re looking to continue taking positive strides for our program this year,” Chargers head coach Mike Corbett said. “I’m excited for our group moving forward.”

Corbett cited a leadership group of defensemen Kurt Gosselin (who was third-team all-WCHA in 2017 and received votes for preseason all-WCHA in media poll) and John Teets, and forwards Madison Dunn and Hans Gorowsky. Corbett said more players stayed in Huntsville this summer to prepare than ever before in his tenure, now entering its sixth season.

The questions for UAH are the goaltending, which will be unproven to start, and who will pick up the slack offensively with the departures of Josh Kester (24 goals) and Tyler Poulsen, who “always had timely points that are important in our league,” Corbett said.

Corbett has confidence in the goaltenders who will vie for the No. 1 spot left by Jordan Uhelski, who is now a graduate transfer at Miami. Mark Sinclair played seven games as a freshman last season, and Jake Theut is a graduate transfer from Northeastern.

Timeliness of goals will be crucial for the Chargers to exceed expectations and continue to climb the WCHA standings, according to Corbett.  “It’s going to be attention to detail. We’re a bit unproven on who’s going to score and stop the puck. We have to win battles in front of the nets, we have to have some fight in our game. Timely goals will be the biggest thing.”

UAH begins the 2018-19 season on Oct. 6-7 at Miami. The Chargers have their home opening series Oct. 19-20 against Arizona State.

Minnesota State is picked to win the MacNaughton Cup again in both polls. The Mavericks took seven of the first-place votes by the coaches, with Northern Michigan getting two votes and Michigan Tech one.

The votes were more split in the media poll, with MSU taking 13 of 19 first-place votes, Northern Michigan five, and Bowling Green one. Although NMU took the second-most first-place votes, the Wildcats finished third overall in the media poll.

The media poll was conducted by Geof Morris of UAHHockey.com. The coaches’ poll was conducted by Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press.

Three WCHA teams are ranked in the USCHO.com preseason poll. Minnesota State starts the season 10th, with Michigan Tech 18th and Northern Michigan 20th.

2018-19 UAHHockey.com WCHA Preseason Media Poll
First-place votes in parentheses.

  1. Minnesota State (13), 182 points
  2. Bowling Green (1), 159
  3. Northern Michigan (5), 150
  4. Michigan Tech, 133
  5. Bemidji State, 110
  6. Ferris State, 102
  7. UAH, 69
  8. Lake Superior State, 57
  9. Alaska, 47
  10. Alaska Anchorage, 28

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
Troy Loggins, Sr., F, Northern Michigan

Others receiving votes: Jake Jaremko, So., F, Minnesota State; Marc Michaelis, Jr., F, Minnesota State; Adam Rockwood, Sr., F, Northern Michigan; Atte Tolvanen, Sr., G, Northern Michigan.

Preseason All-WCHA First Team
Marc Michaelis, Jr., F, Minnesota State
Jake Jaremko, Fr., F, Minnesota State
Troy Loggins, Sr., F, Northern Michigan
Alec Rauhauser, Jr., D, Bowling Green
Philip Beaulieu, Jr., D, Northern Michigan
Atte Tolvanen, Sr., G, Northern Michigan

Preseason All-WCHA Second Team
Adam Rockwood, Sr., F, Northern Michigan
Jake Lucchini, Sr., F, Michigan Tech
Darien Craighead, Jr., F, Northern Michigan (tie)
Brandon Kruse, So., F, Bowling Green (tie)
Parker Tuomie, Jr., F, Minnesota State (tie)
Ian Scheid, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Chris Pohlkamp, Sr., D, Bowling Green
Ryan Bednard, Jr., G, Bowling Green

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Stephen Baylis, Sr., Bowling Green; Jay Dickman, Sr., Bemidji State; Gavin Gould, Jr., Michigan Tech; Jake Jackson, Sr., Michigan Tech; Steven Jandric, So., Alaska; Reggie Lutz, So., Minnesota State; Corey Mackin, Sr., Ferris State. Defensemen – Justin Baudry, Sr., Bemidji State; Kurt Gosselin, Sr., Alabama Huntsville; Ryker Killins, Sr., Ferris State; Mitch Meek, So., Michigan Tech; Nolan Nicholas, Jr., Alaska Anchorage. Goaltenders – Zach Driscoll, So., Bemidji State; Nick Kossoff, Sr., Lake Superior State.


2018-19 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First-place votes in parentheses.

  1. Minnesota State (7), 88 points
  2. Northern Michigan (2), 80
  3. Bowling Green, 76
  4. Michigan Tech (1), 64
  5. Bemidji State, 54
  6. Ferris State, 49
  7. Lake Superior State, 40
  8. Alaska, 36
  9. UAH, 35
  10. Alaska Anchorage 18

WCHA Preseason Player of the Year
Adam Rockwood, Sr., F, Northern Michigan (4)

Others receiving votes: Jake Jaremko, So., F, Minnesota State (3); Marc Michaelis, Jr., F, Minnesota State (2); Troy Loggins, Sr. F, Northern Michigan (1).

WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year
Cooper Zech, D, Ferris State (5)

Others receiving votes: Dryden McKay, G, Minnesota State (2); Griffin Loughran, F, Northern Michigan (1); Tim Theocharidis, D, Bowling Green (1); Chris Van Os-Shaw, F, Minnesota State (1).

Preseason All-WCHA Team
Adam Rockwood, Sr., F, Northern Michigan
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State
Troy Loggins, Sr., F, Northern Michigan
Alec Rauhauser, Jr., D, Bowling Green
Philip Beaulieu, Jr., D, Northern Michigan
Atte Tolvanen, Sr., G, Northern Michigan

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Jake Jaremko, So., Minnesota State; Brandon Kruse, So., Bowling Green; Jake Lucchini, Sr., Michigan Tech; Corey Mackin, Sr., Ferris State. Defensemen – Ryker Killins, Sr., Ferris State; Connor Mackey, So., Minnesota State; Ian Scheid, Jr., Minnesota State. Goaltender – Ryan Bednard, Jr., Bowling Green.
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Hoof Beats: Roster breakdown and pro update

The Chargers have announced the 10 newcomers to the program last week, bringing the total roster to 28 players for the 2018-19 season as preseason practice gets under way.

The newcomers feature eight freshmen and two transfers — Jake Theut from Northeastern and Jesper Öhrvall from Rensselaer — to make up for the nine players lost from last season’s team.

The roster consists of 15 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goaltenders. The classes are somewhat balanced, with eight seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores, and eight freshmen.

The Chargers return 56 percent of points scored from last season. The top returning point scorer is senior defenseman Kurt Gosselin (16 in 2017-18). The top returning goal scorer is sophomore Christian Rajic, who had nine.

Mark Sinclair, a sophomore, is the only returning goaltender that saw action last season, posting a 3.67 goals against and .876 save percentage, but seeing improvement over the seven games he played. Theut played in two games last season for Northeastern last year.

Pro update: Here’s a rundown of where former Chargers will be applying their wares professionally this season.

Cam Talbot (2007-10) is heading into his sixth NHL season and fourth with Edmonton. Talbot is looking to rebound after posting a below-average goals against average (3.02) and save percentage (.908) last season as the Oilers missed the playoffs.

Josh Kestner (2014-18) earned a contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies after his tryout in the spring. After tying a UAH modern Division I-era record with 24 goals last season, he scored a goal in three games with the Marlies.

Tyler Poulsen (2015-18) also got a pro contract after a tryout with the ECHL’s Allen Americans. Poulsen scored a goal for the Americans after a netting 26 points in his final season with the Chargers.

Brennan Saulnier (2014-18) spent three games with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) after scoring nine goals in his senior season at UAH. He signed with the Florida Everblades last month.

Matt Salhany (2013-17) switched ECHL teams for this season. After a goal and two assists in 20 games with South Carolina last season, Salhany signed with the Adirondack Thunder.

Carmine Guerriero (2013-17) is continuing his pro career in France, goaltending for HC Brest. Guerriero split time with five teams in the ECHL last season.

Cody Dion (2010-11) switched teams in the SPHL, signing with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dogs on Aug. 22. Dion spent the bulk of three seasons with Peoria, where he scored 12 regular-season goals and two playoff goals last season.

Cody Campbell (2008-11) is starting his seventh season with Les Ducs d’Angers in France. Last season, he started all 44 games, scoring nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points.

Matti Järvinen (2009-10) is entering his second season with Tappara in his native Finland. He had 23 points in 60 games in the regular season last year and three goals in the playoffs, helping Tappara reach the league championship series again.

Clarke Saunders (2010-12) will play his second season in Slovenia, minding the net again for HDD Jesenice. His club won the Slovenian championship last season. He had a 2.16 goals against average in the regular season and 2.12 GAA in the playoffs.

Latest commitments: The Chargers have secured two commitments for the 2019-20 season.

Adrian Danchenko is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward from Palm City, Fla. He played for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the NAHL the last two seasons, scoring 12 goals in 55 regular-season games last year. He’ll move to the USHL this season, playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Neutral Zone has Danchenko as a 3.5-star recruit, saying he “has good speed/size combo with vision. Values possession and is tough to defend.”

UAH picked up another 3.5-star goaltender in David Fessenden, who plays for the Northeast Generals of the NAHL. The Parker, Colo., native posted a 3.18 goals against average and .912 save percentage in 35 starts.

Says Neutral Zone: “Huge frame [6-foot-6, 220 pounds] and has consistently improved in the last year. Has faced adversity but has proven resilient. Still a project but has a high ceiling.”

Club team joining SECHC: The new UAH club hockey team will join the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference in the 2019-20 season.

The SECHC is primarily comprised of SEC schools with ACHA Div. III club teams (Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt), but will be expanding by at least four teams next fall. In addition to UAH, the SECHC has announced that Clemson, Florida State, and Middle Tennessee State will also be joining the league.

Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee State, Auburn, and Ole Miss are on UAH’s 2018-19 schedule.

For more information on UAH’s club team, visit uahclubhockey.com.

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2018-19 season tickets on sale now

Season tickets for the 2018-19 UAH hockey campaign are on sale now.

A lower-level, reserved-seat season ticket costs $199 for 16 home games — 14 WCHA conference games and a non-conference series against Arizona State.

FlexTix packages also return for $99. A FlexTix is a booklet of 10 coupons redeemable at the door for individual game tickets at any home game.

Last year’s season ticket holders and Blue Line Club members received renewal brochures last week. The deadline for same-seat season ticket renewals is September 1.

The Blue Line Club is the booster club of UAH hockey. Blue Line Club memberships start at $1,000 and include season tickets, VIP parking at the Von Braun Center, access to the hospitality room and special events, and a tax deduction.

Season tickets and Blue Line Club memberships can be ordered by mailing in the order form or calling 256-UAH-PUCK. Individual game tickets will be available at a later date.

The Chargers have their opening home series on Oct. 19-20 against Arizona State. Special festivities are being planned to celebrate the 40th season of ice hockey at UAH, which began with the original club team that began play in 1979.

The homecoming series is the following weekend, Oct. 26-27 against Lake Superior State to start WCHA play.

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Hoof Beats: OT rules, All American Scholars highlight July

In case you missed it, here’s a wrap-up of news and notes around UAH and college hockey in July, as the summer off-season drags on.

WCHA gets to keep OT format: The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panels approved a proposal that will allow conferences to use 3-on-3 and shootout formats after the regular 5-on-5 overtime period to award points in league standings.

This allows the WCHA and NCHC to continue its format of the past two seasons. Each conference game is worth three points, and a game is officially a tie if no one scores during the 5-on-5 overtime, with each team getting a league point. A 5-minute, 3-on-3 sudden death overtime period is played, and if the game is still tied, a sudden death shootout determines which team gets a second league point.

Alternatively, conference may use just a shootout without the 3-on-3 period. The Big Ten uses this format.

Neither format can be used for non-conference games. Only the mandatory five-minute, 5-on-5 overtime is allowed, although 20-minute sudden death overtimes can be used for regular-season tournament games that require a winner.

Earlier this summer, a proposal was pushed to eliminate all formats following the 5-on-5 overtime. Eastern leagues (Hockey East, ECAC, Atlantic Hockey) do not have extra overtime procedures for conference games.

Other NCAA rule updates: The panel also approved the following rule changes:

  • Officials can now review video to determine whether a player may be ejected.
  • Slashing has been redefined: “Any forceful or powerful chop with the stick on an opponent’s body, the opponent’s stick, or on or near the opponent’s hands that, in the judgment of the referee, is not an attempt to play the puck, should be penalized as slashing.”
  • A player coming off the ice must be within five feet of the bench before a substituting player hits the ice.
  • Each team will have one timeout in overtime, regardless of whether a team used its timeout in regulation.
  • Teams can now dress up to 19 skaters, up from 18.
  • A player who catches the puck must place it on the ice for play to continue legally. A minor penalty will be assessed if the player conceals or throws the puck after catching it.
  • Coaches must use a challenge to review goals scored where a potential high stick is involved or if the puck might have touched the netting out of play and leads to a goal.

Beaulieu, Teets named All American Scholars: Sophomore forward Austin Beaulieu and junior defenseman John Teets were named Krampade All American Scholars on Monday by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

All American Scholars earned at least a 3.6 grade-point average each semester and played 40 percent of their school’s games last season. Beaulieu and Teets played all 37 games for the Chargers in 2017-18, each scoring three goals and six assists.

Adeniye commits: Ayodele Adeniye announced his commitment to UAH on July 12. The Columbus, Ohio defenseman is expected to join the Chargers in 2019.

Last season, Adeniye had eight points in 33 games for the Ohio Blue Jackets U18 club. He will play for the Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL), which had current Chargers Andrew Dodson and Connor Merkley and will have UAH commits Peyton Francis and Ryland Mosley.

Neutral Zone has a 3.5-star rating on Adeniye: “[Adeniye] uses his 6’5” frame to defend. Takes good angles and gets sticks on pucks. Hits and hits often. Smart positionally and makes simple outlets. Athletic player with a solid upside. B grade at NHL Cup.”

Schedule changes: Three home games had their start times changed. The Jan. 19 game against Alaska Anchorage will start at 3 p.m., and the Feb. 8-9 series against Northern Michigan will have the puck drop at 6 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Club team schedule released: The re-launched UAH club hockey team released its 2018-19 season schedule on Monday.

The team, which will compete in ACHA Division 3, will play 17 games. The Chargers will play four home games at the Huntsville IcePlex, opening the season on Oct. 26-27 against UAB. UAH will host Middle Tennessee on Feb. 15-16.

Zirnis joins Nanooks as assistant: Alaska is going from one UAH alum to another on its coaching staff. Karlis Zirnis joined the Nanooks as an assistant for first-year head coach Erik Largen.

Zirnis, who scored 119 points for the Chargers from 1999-2003, was most recently the head coach at Shreveport of the NAHL, leading the junior club to the Robertson Cup championship. He coached for his native Latvia at the 2014 and 2015 World championships and at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

Alaska had former Charger Lance West as interim head coach last season and as an assistant coach for nine years prior. West joined Mike Corbett’s staff at UAH in June after Alaska hired Largen as head coach.

West returns to UAH as assistant coach

Lance West will be back behind the UAH bench this fall, joining Mike Corbett’s staff as an assistant coach, the school announced Monday.

West was the interim head coach at Alaska last season. He was a finalist to be the permanent head coach, but Alaska hired Erik Largen, who was one of West’s assistants. West was an assistant coach at Alaska under Dallas Ferguson for nine seasons prior.

West played for the Chargers from 1991-95, scoring 113 points in 108 games.

After graduating from UAH in 1995, West served as a volunteer assistant for the Chargers from 1995-1998, when the Chargers captured two Division II national championships. He served as an assistant coach under Doug Ross from 2000 to 2007.

West takes the place of Matt Thomas, who was named director and under-18 coach for the Washington Little Capitals.

Quenneville named club team coach: Mike Quenneville, who played and coached for UAH’s varsity program, will be the head coach of the new club hockey team.

Quenneville was a two-time SECHC and ACHA Div. III Coach of the Year for the club team at Alabama, where he was head coach from 2010-16.

Quenneville played for the Chargers from 1987-89, scoring seven goals and 30 points in 53 games. He was an assistant coach for Doug Ross from 1996-98, during UAH’s two NCAA Division II national championships.

The club team is currently raising funds for its first season this fall.

WCHA gets new streaming deal: The WCHA on Monday announced a multiyear partnership with FloSports to stream every game hosted by a WCHA member institution live and on-demand.

FloSports takes the place of Stretch Internet. To watch WCHA games online, a monthly or annual pro subscription to FloHockey.tv will be required.