Michael Napier

Sep 252017
 

Kurt Gosselin (Photo by UAH Athletics)

The UAH Chargers were picked to finish ninth in the WCHA this season, according to both the media and coaches preseason polls released Monday.

The Chargers just missed the WCHA playoffs with a ninth-place finish last season.

Both the media and coaches’ polls were identical in ranking the teams. Minnesota State, which returns many of the major players in their league-leading offense, is the overwhelming favorite, with defending MacNaughton Cup champion Bemidji State in second.

In the media poll, UAH’s Kurt Gosselin was named to the preseason all-WCHA first team. Gosselin, who was named all-WCHA third team at the end of last season, received votes for preseason all-WCHA among the coaches.

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

2017-18 UAHHockey.com WCHA Men’s Preseason Media Poll
First-place votes in parentheses.

  1. Minnesota State (12), 137 pts.
  2. Bemidji State, 115
  3. Michigan Tech (1), 110
  4. Bowling Green (1), 108
  5. Ferris State, 81
  6. Lake Superior State, 62
  7. Northern Michigan, 59
  8. Alaska, 43
  9. UAH, 36
  10. Alaska Anchorage, 19

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year:
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State

Preseason All-WCHA First Team:
Mitch McLain, Sr., F, Bowling Green
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State
Corey Mackin, Jr., F, Ferris State
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Kurt Gosselin, Jr., D, UAH
Michael Bitzer, Sr., G, Bemidji State

Preseason All-WCHA Second Team:
Gerry Fitzgerald, Sr., F, Bemidji State
C.J. Seuss, Sr., F, Minnesota State
Joel L’Esperance, Sr., F, Michigan Tech
Mitch Reinke, So., D, Michigan Tech
Mark Auk, Sr., D, Michigan Tech
Atte Tolvanen, Jr., G, Northern Michigan

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Kyle Bauman, Sr., Bemidji State; Gavin Gould, So., Michigan Tech; J.T. Henke, Sr., Lake Superior State; Max Humitz, So., Lake Superior State; Brad McClure, Sr., Minnesota State; Tyler Spezia, Sr., Bowling Green. Defensemen – Clint Lewis, Sr., Minnesota State; Alec Rauhauser, So., Bowling Green; Joe Rutkowski, So., Ferris State; Collin Saccoman, So., Lake Superior State; Ian Scheid, So., Minnesota State; David Trinkberger, So., Alaska Anchorage; Zach Whitecloud, So., Bemidji State; Justin Woods, Sr., Alaska. Goaltenders – Justin Kapelmaster, So., Ferris State; Olivier Mantha, Sr., Alaska Anchorage; Jason Pawloski, Jr., Minnesota State.

2017-18 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First-place votes in parentheses.

  1. Minnesota State (9), 90 pts.
  2. Bemidji State (1), 81
  3. Michigan Tech, 70
  4. Bowling Green, 67
  5. Ferris State, 59
  6. Lake Superior State, 51
  7. Northern Michigan, 40
  8. Alaska, 35
  9. UAH, 29
  10. Alaska Anchorage, 18

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: 
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year:
Jake Jaremko, F, Minnesota State

Preseason All-WCHA Team:
Mitch McLain, Sr., F, Bowling Green
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State
C.J. Seuss, Sr., F, Minnesota State
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Mark Auk, Sr., D, Michigan Tech
Michael Bitzer, Sr., G, Bemidji State

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Gerry Fitzgerald, Sr., Bemidji State; J.T. Henke, Sr., Lake Superior State; Corey Mackin, Jr., Ferris State; Tyler Spezia, Sr., Bowling Green. Defensemen – Zach Frye, Sr., D, Alaska; Kurt Gosselin, Jr., Alabama Huntsville; Mitch Reinke, So., Michigan Tech; Ian Scheid, So., Minnesota State. Goaltender – Olivier Mantha, Sr., Alaska Anchorage.

Sep 052017
 

UAHHockey.com, created to provide in-depth coverage of Charger hockey, runs on the contributions of unpaid volunteers. We’re looking for writing help for the 2017-18 season!

If you would like to help out, here’s what we need. No experience is necessary: All you need just a passion for UAH hockey.

Home game coverage

We need staff writers to attend UAH home games at the Von Braun Center. Responsibilities include:

  • Attending and covering games from the press box in a professional manner.
  • Attending post-game interview sessions with players and staff.
  • Submitting a game story in a timely fashion following the game.

Columns and features

We are open to having regular features or columns on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. These can include:

  • Weekend series wrap-ups
  • Recruiting news
  • WCHA and/or NCAA news

If you are interested or have any questions or suggestions, please email Geof Morris at g@uahhockey.com or Michael Napier at m@uahhockey.com.

Aug 222017
 

UAH announced eight signees for the 2017-18 season on Tuesday. Here are some tidbits about these new Chargers:

Josh Astorino (G, 6-2, 175): Astorino committed to UAH last month as one of two goaltenders in this year’s signing class. Astorino was the Ontario Junior Hockey League goaltender of the year with a 1.93 goals against average and .936 save percentage.

Andrew Dodson (F, 5-9, 180): Dodson played the last four seasons with the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL. Dodson, who committed to UAH last winter, is the Canadians’ captain and leads the team with 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists) last season.

Connor Merkley (F, 6-1, 190): Merkley was an alternate captain at Carleton Place last season, announcing his commitment to UAH in May. He was named to the CCHL Second All-Star Team last season with 66 points (29 goals) in 61 games.

Dodson and Merkley will reunite with UAH forward Jordan Larson, who played for Carleton Place from 2014-16.

Christian Rajic (F, 5-10, 165): Rajic played the last four seasons with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL, committing to UAH in 2016. He scored 124 points the last two seasons.

Ted Rotenberger (D, 5-11, 180): The eighth Huntsville native to play at UAH, Rotenberger comes home after a year with the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs, who are coached by Charger alum Karlis Zirnis. With Josh Kestner, this will be the third time UAH will have two Huntsville natives on the roster. Rotenberger committed to UAH back in 2013 when he played for another UAH alum, Nathan Bowen, with the TPH Thunder AAA midget program.

Mark Sinclair (G, 5-11, 170): Sinclair had 2.59 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 45 regular-season games last season with Chilliwack of the BCHL. In the postseason, he had a 2.22 GAA and .923 save percentage in 23 games.

Connor Wood (F, 5-8, 180): Wood will be the fifth native of the state of Georgia to play for the Chargers, hailing from Buford (current UAH forward Adam Wilcox is from Alpharetta). Wood committed to UAH in 2014, and was also a product of TPH Thunder. He had 20 points in 48 games with Odessa of the NAHL last season.

Levi Wunder (F, 5-9, 165): Wunder was a teammate of Wood’s at Odessa last season, with six goals and 13 points in 35 games. He also scored eight points in 22 games with Lone Star.

The current UAH roster features 15 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders. In addition to the eight freshmen, there are five sophomores, seven juniors, and seven seniors.

The 2017-18 season begins Oct. 6 at Notre Dame.

Aug 112017
 

Season tickets and Blue Line Club memberships for the 2017-18 season are now available. Existing BLC members should be receiving renewal brochures in the mail.

The price for season tickets remains the same as last year at $192 for 14 home games. FlexTix packages, a set of 10 tickets that can be used for any game you choose, return for a price of $99.

The Blue Line Club is the UAH hockey booster club. Members get many great benefits, including multiple season tickets and FlexTix packs, VIP parking at the VBC, VBC hospitality room access, coaches’ luncheons, special events, and more.

For more information, order tickets, or join the Blue Line Club, call 256-UAH-PUCK (256-824-7825). Or, download and return the Blue Line Club and season ticket brochure.

Tickets to individual games will be available through Ticketmaster and the Von Braun Center box office at a later date. Check back on our tickets page for updates.

The Chargers start the season with four straight road series, beginning with Notre Dame on Oct. 6-7. The home opening series is Nov. 10-11 against Alaska Anchorage.

Aug 012017
 

Some news and notes regarding current and former Chargers this past month:

Saulnier in Canadiens camp: Senior forward Brennan Saulnier spent the first week of July in the Montreal Canadiens development camp. On the third day, Saulnier had a nice assist.

He also mixed it up with a familiar WCHA opponent: Alaska’s Nikolas Koberstein:

Saulnier’s comment:

Guerriero signs with South Carolina: Goaltender Carmine Guerriero will begin his professional hockey career with the South Carolina Stingrays, the ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals.

Guerriero played in nine games, starting seven, in his senior season at UAH, posting a 3.77 goals against average and a .872 save percentage. In his Charger career (77 games with 72 starts), he had a .910 save percentage, which was the second highest in UAH’s modern Division I history and fourth all-time. His 3.19 career goals against average was fourth in UAH’s modern Division I history and seventh overall.

Wolitski named Alumnus of Achievement: Former Charger defenseman Sheldon Wolitski was named a UAH’s Alumnus of Achievement. He was to be honored by the UAH Alumni Association on Tuesday, August 1.

Wolitski is the founder and owner of The Select Group, which unites top companies with highly skilled candidates for managed services and contingent staffing and provides specialized IT services. Wolitski, who was on the 1996 NCAA Division II national championship team and is UAH’s all-time leading scorer for defensemen with 113 career points, announced a donation of $500,000 to the program in January.

West named head coach in Fairbanks: UAH alumnus Lance West was promoted to head coach at Alaska after Dallas Ferguson left to lead the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.

West was the assistant coach for the Nanooks for the past nine seasons. Before going to Fairbanks, West was an assistant coach for Doug Ross from 2000-07. Last season, Alaska was 12-20-4 overall and 11-13-4 in the WCHA, finishing 6th in the conference. Alaska went 2-1-1 against the Chargers.

West had 113 points (45 goals and 68 assists) in 108 games for the Chargers from 1991-95.

New commitments: The Chargers got two commitments in July.

Josh Astorino of the Georgetown Raiders is expected to join UAH for this season, giving the Chargers a third goaltender along with senior Jordan Uhelski and newcomer Mark Sinclair. Astorino was the Ontario Junior Hockey League goaltender of the year with a 1.93 goals against average and .936 save percentage.

Hank Sorensen, a defenseman of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, will join the Chargers in 2018-19. He had four goals and 14 points in 41 regular-season games for Waterloo last season.

With the signing period ending Aug. 1, a formal release of signees for the 2017-18 season is expected soon.