Michael Napier

Feb 232018
 
Feb 232018
 

Forget relying on others, the Chargers took care of business at home, and they are back in the WCHA playoffs.

Austin Beaulieu’s goal with 1:18 remaining lifted UAH to a 3-2 win over 15th-ranked Bowling Green on Friday, securing a postseason berth for the Chargers for the first time in three years.

BOX SCORE

UAH (11-20-2 overall, 10-15-2 WCHA) will finish the regular season Saturday at 3 p.m. for Senior Night. Then the Chargers will know their seeding and where they will head for the best-of-3 WCHA quarterfinals next weekend.

The Chargers have 33 points, in sixth place. Alaska could tie them with a win against Alaska Anchorage late. Ferris State defeated Lake Superior 4-1 to move provisionally into seventh with 31 points, leaving Lake Superior out of the top eight.

 

Bowling Green (19-10-6 overall, 16-6-5 WCHA), which had won seven of its last eight games, secured the third seed.

The Chargers withstood another frantic attack from the Falcons, who held a 32-23 shots on goal advantage. UAH got another great performance from goaltender Jordan Uhelski, who made 30 saves — the sixth time in the last seven games that he has stopped 30 or more shots.

There was no scoring in the first period, but Bowling Green had more scoring chances. The Falcons were dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 16 of 19, and had more shot attempts, 19-13, but UAH had more shots on goal, 9-5, at the first intermission.

The Chargers had a five-minute power play near the end of the first period after BG’s Brett D’Andrea hit John Teets hard in front of the UAH bench. D’Andrea was assessed a major checking from behind penalty with a game misconduct with 28 seconds left.

UAH capitalized on the power play early in the second. Falcon goaltender Ryan Bednard (20 saves) was caught behind his net, and the Chargers took advantage with a steal. Austin Beaulieu sent it to Max McHugh, who scored his second goal of the season at the 3:21 mark.

Bowling Green was able to snatch the lead away from UAH with two power play goals on four Charger penalties in the second period.

The first one followed a McHugh holding penalty, with Mitch McLain powering one from the right circle to tie the game at 1-1 with 9:47 left.

UAH withstood a five-minute boarding major on Beaulieu, but couldn’t on a Cody Champagne hooking minor late in the frame. Alec Rauhauser’s blast from inside the blue line made its way through traffic and past UAH goalie Jordan Uhelski to give Bowling Green its first lead at 2-1 with 1:27 remaining.

The Chargers tied the game at 2-2 with another power play goal of their own, this time converting on a 5-on-3 advantage after back-to-back penalties by the Falcons.

Josh Kestner scored his 21st goal of the season, one-timing a cross-ice pass by Brennan Saulnier, with 12:26 to go in regulation. Saulnier, back in action after being suspended for four games, got his seventh assist, and Tyler Poulsen notched his team-leading 15th assist.

Then came Beaulieu’s game winner, his third goal of the year, which came on a deflection in front of Bednard from a Christian Rajic shot. Champagne was also credited with a helper.

Feb 222018
 

Where: Propst Arena, Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala.
When: Friday, 6:07 p.m.; Saturday, 3:07 p.m.
Watch: WCHA.tv
Team stats: UAH | Bowling Green

Kurt Gosselin

Kurt Gosselin, who can throw a solid hip check, now has 16 career goals at UAH. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Charger update: UAH (10-20-2 overall, 9-15-2 WCHA) was off last week, but despite that and being swept by Minnesota State two weeks ago, the Chargers remain in sixth place in the WCHA standings (albeit now tied with Alaska).

In this final week of the regular season against Bowling Green, the Chargers need at least two points (or otherwise get help elsewhere) to qualify for the WCHA playoffs.

Against Minnesota State, which was ranked fifth in the USCHO poll at the time, UAH nearly pulled off an upset in the first game. Kurt Gosselin and Christian Rajic scored two quick goals early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead, but MSU rallied with a goal with 2:10 left in regulation and another 27 seconds into overtime to win. The Mavericks rolled 6-1 in the second game.

Josh Kestner had an assist in the first game to raise his point total to 27 for the season. He’s tied for the WCHA lead with Minnesota State’s C.J. Seuss with 18 goals in conference play and 20 goals overall.

Kestner will be one of eight players who will be finishing their UAH careers this season. They will be honored before Sunday’s home finale.

Brennan Saulnier can return to action after being suspended for four games.

Players to watch:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 20 goals-7 assists-27 points in 32 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 9-14-23 in 30 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 9-6-15 in 32 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 5-10-15 in 32 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.95 goals against average, .910 save percentage in 27 starts)

About the Falcons: Bowling Green (19-9-6 overall, 16-5-5 WCHA) comes to Huntsville winners of seven of its last eight games, including a sweep at Alaska Anchorage last week. The Falcons, sitting in third place in the WCHA standings three points behind Northern Michigan, have clinched home ice in the WCHA quarterfinals.

Three of the top six scorers for the Falcons are freshmen. Max Johnson has scored a goal in six of the last nine games. Brandon Kruse had two assists in the series against UAH at BG back in December.

Alec Rauhauser is second in the nation among defensemen in points per game with 0.97.

Mitchell McLain has 14 points in his last 13 games.

Players to watch:
Alec Rauhauser (So., D, 7-26-33 in 34 GP)
Mitchell McLain (Sr., F, 14-11-25 in 34 GP)
Brandon Kruse (Fr., F, 6-23-29 in 34 GP)
Max Johnson (Fr., F, 10-15-25 in 34 GP)
Adam Smith (Jr., D, 1-3-4 in 34 GP, Nashville Predators prospect)
Ryan Bednard (So., G, 2.32 GAA, .910 SV%, 1 SHO in 20 starts, Florida Panthers prospect)

UAH Tale of the tape
(per game averages)
Bowling Green
10-20-2 Overall record 19-9-6
9-15-2 WCHA record 16-5-5
2.54 (7th) Goals/game 3.15 (2nd)
3.12 (7th) Goals allowed/game 2.31 (T-3rd)
15.7 (3rd) Penalty minutes 17.0 (2nd)
16.4% (6th) Power play 19.5% (4th)
81.2% (7th) Penalty kill 84.3% (4th)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only

 

Series notes: Bowling Green leads the all-time series 22-2-4, and is 9-3-0 in Huntsville. The Falcons are 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings, with the last UAH win being a 7-5 decision on March 4, 2016. Back on Dec. 9 in Ohio, UAH tied Bowling Green 3-3 (UAH earning the extra WCHA point in the shootout) and lost 3-1.

Promotions: On Friday, the first 500 fans get a free UAH Hockey trading card set courtesy of Colonial Printing.

Free general admission for kids 12 and under is available to all home games, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

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

Friday, Feb. 23
#15 Bowling Green at UAH, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at #16 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at #4 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24
#15 Bowling Green at UAH, 3:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
#16 Northern Michigan at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at #4 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Feb 212018
 

Eight will be playing their final games at the Von Braun Center as UAH Chargers this weekend. They will be honored before Saturday afternoon’s home finale for Senior Night against Bowling Green.

Richard Buri
Richard Buri (Nitra, Slovakia) has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in 101 games as a defenseman. Buri has a career-best 39 blocks this season for a total 134 in his career.  Buri made the WCHA all-academic team in 2015-16 and was a WCHA scholar-athlete in 2016-17.

Cody Champagne
Cody Champagne (Brookfield, Conn.) has played 128 games as a defenseman. He has two goals and seven assists in his UAH career. Champagne leads this year’s team with 53 blocked shots, with a four-year total of 155. Champagne made the WCHA all-academic team in 2015-16 and was a WCHA scholar athlete in 2016-17.

Josh Kestner
Josh Kestner (Huntsville, Ala.) has 40 career goals at UAH, the sixth most in the Chargers’ modern Division I era. Twenty of those have come this season, the most in 13 years, to lead the WCHA. Kestner, an alternate captain, leads UAH in goals and points for the second straight season. Kestner made the WCHA all-academic team in 2015-16 and was a WCHA scholar-athlete in 2016-17.


Captain Max McHugh (Edgewood, Wash.) has 28 goals and 39 assists for 67 points in his UAH career. McHugh led the Chargers in scoring in his freshmen and sophomore years with 23 and 22 points, respectively. McHugh made the all-WCHA rookie team in 2014-15, when he set the UAH modern Division I record for goals by a freshman with a team-leading 12. McHugh is a three-time WCHA scholar athlete.


Brandon Parker
 
(Faribault, Minn.) has played 134 games at UAH, fifth all-time. The defenseman has nine goals and 40 assists for 49 career points. This season, the alternate captain has six assists. Parker has blocked a total of 213 shots. He is a three-time WCHA scholar-athlete.

Tyler Poulsen
Tyler Poulsen
(Arvada, Colo.) is a junior who will be finishing his eligibility with a breakout season, tallying 14 assists (leading the team) and 23 points (second on the team). Poulsen has career totals of 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 83 games played.


Brennan Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia) has 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points in four years at UAH, including a career-best eight goals this season. He was named the WCHA offensive player of the month for October 2015 for scoring six goals in five games. Saulnier has 325 penalty minutes, fifth all-time at UAH.

Jordan Uhelski
Jordan Uhelski (Flint, Mich.) has become one of the WCHA’s top goaltenders this season. Taking over the No. 1 job in his junior year, Uhelski has a goals against average of 2.88 (fifth all-time at UAH, second in the modern Division I era) and a .909 save percentage (fifth all-time and third in the D-I era) in 50 games played. Uhelski made the WCHA all-academic team in 2015-16 and was a WCHA scholar-athlete in 2016-17.

Individual photos by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography. Seniors photo by Doug Eagan/UAH Athletics.

Thomas goes to Washington: UAH assistant coach Matty Thomas will become the new hockey director and under-18 coach of the Washington Little Capitals, the youth club announced on Friday.

Thomas has spent the last five seasons as an assistant to head coach Mike Corbett and the Chargers, coaching defensemen and penalty kill units.

Blue Line Club luncheon: The last Blue Line Club luncheon of the season will be this Friday at noon in the Varsity Room at Spragins Hall. Several UAH seniors and coach Mike Corbett will discuss this weekend’s final home series against Bowling Green. Terranova’s will be catering.

Feb 182018
 
Charger celebration

Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography

A win and they’re in. That’s what the Chargers can do to clinch a playoff spot this weekend when they host Bowling Green at the Von Braun Center.

Here’s what we know about the WCHA playoff picture heading into the final week of the regular season:

  • Minnesota State needs just one point against Bemidji State to win the MacNaughton Cup as regular season champion and take the No. 1 seed.
  • Northern Michigan and Bowling Green will also host quarterfinal series.
  • The 4-5 matchup is set: Bemidji State will host Michigan Tech in the quarterfinals.

That leaves playoff spots six through eight up for grabs. For more detail on all the WCHA races, including probabilities, check out The WCHA Playoff Prediction Blog.

Pts Record 3/SO^ Final week
6 UAH 30 9-15-2 1 H vs BGSU
6 Alaska 30 9-15-2 1 H vs UAA
8 Ferris State 28 9-16-1 0 H vs LSSU
9 Lake Superior 27 8-15-3 0 A vs FSU

^ 3-on-3/shootout points after ties.

The Chargers are fighting Alaska, Ferris State, and Lake Superior State for the three remaining playoff spots. UAH and Alaska are tied for 6th with 30 points, Ferris State is in 8th with 28 points, and Lake Superior State is currently on the outside looking in with 27 points.

UAH only needs to finish ahead of one of those teams to make the playoffs.

Alaska hosts rival Alaska Anchorage, which is in 10th and eliminated from contention. Lake Superior State goes to Ferris State.

That LSSU and FSU play each other is important. If either team sweeps the other, the swept team can’t catch UAH, no matter what the Chargers do against Bowling Green.

If Ferris State and Lake Superior State split and UAH doesn’t get any points, then the Chargers are eliminated. FSU would have more points (31 to 30), and LSSU (who would tie UAH at 30 points) would win the “C” tiebreaker for having fewer conference losses (16 to 17).

But if UAH gets two points or more, it would be impossible for both FSU and LSSU to surpass the Chargers.

In summary, the Chargers are in if:

  • UAH gets two points or more against Bowling Green OR
  • Ferris State gets four points or more against Lake Superior OR
  • Lake Superior gets four points or more against Ferris State.

Or in even simpler terms: UAH gets a win, or Lake Superior and Ferris State do not split.

What about Alaska? Currently the Nanooks have the exact same conference record and points as the Chargers, and Alaska and UAH split the only two games played head-to-head. Alaska is thus in a similar situation: Lance West’s club needs only two points to secure a playoff berth, which is likely against Alaska Anchorage. Alaska has already beaten its hated rival four times (two conference and two non-conference) by a combined score of 19-8.

If the Chargers and Nanooks remain tied after the final games are played, Alaska would likely surpass UAH all the way at the “E” tiebreaker, which is points percentage against each WCHA team starting at the top. Alaska has a win over first-place Minnesota State, and UAH went 0-4 against MSU.

It should be an exciting final weekend in the WCHA, which, because not all teams make the conference tournament, sets itself apart from the other leagues in Division I.

WCHA final regular-season week schedule (all time Central):

Friday, Feb. 23
Bowling Green at UAH, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24
Bowling Green at UAH, 3:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.