Michael Napier

Dec 012017

Two shorthanded goals late in the second period were the Chargers’ downfall Friday in a 3-1 loss at Northern Michigan.

UAH (5-9-1 overall, 4-4-1 WCHA) got a goal early in the second by Christian Rajic, but made turnovers on two power plays led to the Chargers’ seventh loss in eight series openers this season. UAH will try to salvage a split on Saturday, where the Chargers are 4-2-1 this year.


NMU (8-7-0, 6-3-0) ended a three-game losing streak while outshooting the Chargers 32-16.

The Chargers were very fortunate to get out of the first period unscathed. Most of the action was in the UAH zone, and the Wildcats had a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal.

Jordan Uhelski made all the saves, including one where he was caught out of position and dove back to make a stop on NMU’s Troy Loggins.

But he also needed a little help. During the first of two Wildcat power plays in the period, the net was left open again. Adam Rockwood tried to take advantage with a wraparound, but Madison Dunn was there in the crease to keep the game scoreless.

The second period started well enough, as the Chargers took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Christian Rajic, who sneaked one past NMU goalie Mathias Israelsson. His seventh goal of the season, assisted by Connor Merkley and Tyler Poulsen, came with 10:43 left.

UAH had the benefit of back-to-back slashing penalties by the Wildcats, but not only did the Chargers not convert, they gave up back-to-back shorthanded goals and the lead.

With 3:05 left in the period, Denver Pierce finished off a 2-on-1 break with Rockwood following a bad pass in the UAH end to tie the game. Then with 1:12 left, Rockwood was found all alone in front of the UAH net to make it 2-1 UAH.

Northern Michigan extended its lead to 3-1 on the power play at the 5:03 mark of the third period. After a Josh Kestner slashing penalty, Zach Diamontoni sneaked the puck between Uhelski’s legs from the slot.

Uhelski finished with 29 saves.

UAH now finds itself tied for fifth in the WCHA standings with Ferris State, which also has a 4-4 league record and 13 points. NMU is in fourth place with 18 points.

Defenseman Cam Knight was back in the UAH lineup after missing last week’s series against Ferris State with a small injury.

Nov 302017

Where: Berry Events Center, Marquette, Mich.
When: Friday, 6:07 p.m.; Saturday, 6:07 p.m. (CST)
Watch: WCHA.tv
Team stats: UAH | Northern Michigan

Brandon Salerno (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Charger update: UAH (5-8-1 overall, 4-3-1 WCHA) gutted out a split against Ferris State last week to finish its six-game homestand. After allowing six unanswered goals in a 6-2 loss on Friday, the Chargers overcame bumps, bruises, and two deficits to win 5-3 on Saturday. UAH finished the homestand 3-2-1, and is 4-2-1 in its last seven games overall.

Northern Michigan is the first of six road series in seven weeks. The Chargers won’t play at home until Jan. 26.

Brandon Salerno scored twice in Saturday’s victory, including the game-winning goal with 7:06 remaining in regulation.

Josh Kestner got a goal in each game to raise his season total to eight to lead all the team. Kestner is third in the WCHA in overall goals. He has 12 points on the season, tied with Tyler Poulsen.

Poulsen had two assists on Saturday, give him a team-leading nine (tied for seventh in the WCHA).

Freshman goaltender Mark Sinclair made his third start of the season on Friday, making 29 saves. Senior goalie Jordan Uhelski was back between the pipes Saturday, stopping 32 of 35 FSU shots in the win.

Charger leaders:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 8 goals-4 assists-12 points in 14 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 3-9-12 in 13 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 7-4-11 in 14 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 6-3-9 in 14 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 3-5-8 in 14 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.90 goals against average, .907 save percentage in 11 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape Northern Michigan
5-8-1 Overall record 7-7-0
4-3-1 WCHA record 5-3-0
3.62 (2nd) Goals/game 2.38 (T-8th)
3.25 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.12 (1st)
15.9 (4th) Pen. minutes/game 14.4 (6th)
26.3% (2nd) Power play 16.2% (8th)
80.9% (6th) Penalty kill 89.7% (3rd)
WCHA rank in parentheses, league games only

About the Wildcats: Northern Michigan (7-7-0 overall, 5-3-0 WCHA) has lost three in a row after being swept in a non-conference series at Omaha. It was NMU’s first time being swept this season, following a strong start that included splits with then-No. 6 Wisconsin and then-No. 9 Minnesota State.

Robbie Payne has been the main offensive force for the Wildcats, with 12 goals in 14 games this season. The senior captain is tied for the WCHA lead in overall goals and tied for second in overall points (16). NMU is 6-1-0 when Payne has scored a goal this season.

Phillip Beaulieu (no relation to UAH’s Austin Beaulieu) is tied for fifth in the league in defenseman scoring with 10 points.

Junior Atte Tolvanen is their top netminder, whose 2.43 goals against average is third in the WCHA and .916 save percentage is second. He posted a 35-save shutout at Ferris State on Oct. 14 and a 19-save shutout against Michigan Tech on Nov. 11.

Players to watch:
Robbie Payne (Sr., F, 12-4-16 in 14 GP)
Troy Loggins (Jr., F, 3-9-12 in 14 GP)
Darien Craighead (So., F, 4-7-11 in 13 GP)
Philip Beaulieu (So., D, 4-6-10 in 14 GP)
Atte Tolvanen (Jr., G, 2.43 GAA, .916 SV%, 2 SO in 10 starts)

Series notes: Northern Michigan leads the all time series 11-4-3 (going back to 2003), including a 7-2-1 record in Marquette. However, those two Charger wins at NMU came last season in December by scores of 4-1 and 3-1.

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

Friday, Dec. 1
UAH at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 2
UAH at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.

Nov 252017

UAH got a much-needed win to finish its home stand in up-and-down fashion, beating Ferris State 5-3 Saturday night at the Von Braun Center for a series split.

UAH (5-8-1 overall, 4-3-1 WCHA) got two goals from Brandon Salerno to finish 3-2-1 on its six-game home stand before embarking on a 12-game road swing.


The next home game for the Chargers is January 26 against Bemidji State.

Ferris State (6-9-1, 3-4-1) held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in both intermissions, but both were erased by two-goal bursts by the Chargers in the second and third periods.


The Bulldogs continued where they left off Friday, when they scored six unanswered goals to win 6-2, and had control of most of the first period.

It took only 1:13 for the Bulldogs to take a 1-0. Corey Mackin’s tip of Nate Kallen’s shot up the middle bounced over UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski like a bad bounce through an baseball infielder. It was Mackin’s second goal for the series.

UAH had a couple of power play chances, including a five-minute opportunity when Tyler Dorantes drew a major penalty for cross-checking Brennan Saulnier into the boards late in the first.

The power play continued into the start of the second period, and the Chargers finally capitalized. Josh Kestner ripped a one-timer from the left circle to tie the game at 1-1 at the 1:21.

It was Kestner’s team-leading eighth goal of the season, assisted by Brandon Parker on the pass from the high slot, and Tyler Poulsen.

The major power play was cut short on Kestner’s tripping penalty, resulting on some 4-on-4 hockey before a Ferris State power play.

Eight seconds into the FSU advantage, before the Bulldogs could get possession, Saulnier found Salerno in front of the FSU net. Salerno deked FSU goaltender Darren Smith and scored his first goal of the season to give UAH a 2-1 lead at the 3:34 mark.

UAH almost made it 3-1 on a Kestner breakaway, and the goal light went on, but the referee waved it off. Video replay confirmed the no goal as the puck hit the pipe.

Just as quickly as UAH took the lead, Ferris State took it right back.

The Bulldogs converted a Parker tripping penalty into the tying goal by Zac Tierney with 2:58 left in the second. Then Mitch Maloney, who had a hat trick in FSU’s win Friday, made it 3-2 Bulldogs on a breakaway goal with 41 seconds left.

UAH regained the lead with another two-goal spurt halfway through the third.

At 10:06, John Teets scored from near the blue line for his second goal of the season to tie the game at 3-3, with Madison Dunn and Hans Gorowsky getting the assists.

Salerno got his second goal of the game just 2:48 later, taking a nice feed from Poulsen as the Chargers regained the lead again at 4-3.

UAH made sure it would keep that lead for good as Gorowsky converted a two-on-one with Kestner with 1:55 remaining.

The Chargers withstood one final flourish from the Bulldogs, who pulled Smith with about a minute left and got a power play after UAH was assessed a delay of game penalty for intentionally knocking its goal off the mooring.

Uhelski finished with 32 saves in his 11th start of the season. Ferris State outshot UAH 35-26.

With 13 points, the Chargers head into their long road stretch in fifth place in the WCHA standings. The first stop is Northern Michigan next weekend.

Three stars of the game:
1. Brandon Salerno (2 goals)
2. Hans Gorowsky (goal, assist)
3. Tyler Poulsen (2 assists)

Notes: UAH is 4-2-1 on Saturdays this season, but 1-6-0 on Fridays. … FSU defenseman Cam Clarke left the game after taking a puck to the head in the second period.

Nov 242017

Ferris State scored six straight unanswered goals Friday to defeat the Chargers 6-2 at the Von Braun Center.

UAH (4-8-1 overall, 3-3-1 WCHA) got first-period goals from Adam Wilcox and Josh Kestner to take a 2-0 lead.


Then Ferris State (6-8-1, 3-3-1) scored one in the first, two in the second, and three in the third, all by Mitch Maloney, to put the Chargers away en route to the Bulldogs’ third straight WCHA victory.

Game two of the series is Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. in Propst Arena. It will finish off a six-game homestand for the Chargers before they start a run of 12 straight on the road. The next home series will be in late January.


The Chargers got on the board first with a Georgia connection. Wilcox (of Alpharetta) with an odd angle shot put in a rebound from Connor Wood (of Buford) for his first goal of the season at the 6:31 mark. It was Wood’s third assist.

UAH made it 2-0 two-and-a-half minutes later thanks to Huntsville native Kestner. He scored his seventh of the season, assisted by Brandon Parker (his second).

Liam MacDougall scored with 6:05 left in the first to cut UAH’s lead to 2-1.

Ferris State put the pedal down in the second period and took the lead.

At the 10:49 mark, Jasen Fernsler tied the game at 2-2 as UAH goalie Mark Sinclair went down after making an initial save on Zach Yoder’s shot. The Bulldogs had a 10-3 shots advantage in the second period at that point.

It was 3-2 Bulldogs with 2:34 left in the second when their captain, Corey Mackin, put in the rebound on Tyler Dorantes’ shot all alone from the slot.

UAH had 25 seconds of power play to start the third period, followed by a 5-on-3 situation, but couldn’t convert any of them. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs added three more, a natural hat trick by Mitch Maloney.

Maloney’s first goal of the game right after the partial power play expired to make it 4-2. Then Maloney got his second with 12:44 to go, then got the third with 7:26 left. He now has 11 goals on the season.

FSU goaltender Darren Smith stopped 31 of 33 UAH shots in the win. Sinclair made 29 saves, but allowed all six goals.

Both teams were scoreless on the power play: Six opportunities for UAH, five for Ferris State.