Michael Napier

Kestner makes Second Team All-WCHA

 Posted by  Comments Off on Kestner makes Second Team All-WCHA
Mar 082018
Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Josh Kestner was named to the All-WCHA Second Team on Thursday, becoming the first Charger to reach that high in all-league honors.

Kestner tied the UAH modern Division I era record with 24 goals this season. The senior’s 32 points were the most by a Charger since the 2006-07 season. Kestner tied for the WCHA lead with 19 goals in conference play, while scoring a league-best nine goals on the power play.

Kestner finished his UAH career with 44 goals, sixth most in the modern Division I era.

It marks the second straight year a Charger made the all-WCHA teams. Kurt Gosselin became the first with third team honors last season, and Max McHugh made the all-rookie team for 2014-15.

Kestner signed an amateur tryout contract with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, the Maple Leafs’ top affiliate.

In addition, 15 UAH players made the 2017-18 WCHA All-Academic Team. These Chargers have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 for the previous two semesters, or an overall GPA of at least 3.0 for all terms:

Austin Beaulieu (So., F, Coral Springs, Fla.); Richard Buri (Sr., D, Nitra, Slovakia); Cody Champagne (Sr., D, Brookfield, Conn.); Hans Gorowsky (Jr., F, Lino Lakes, Minn.); Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, Brighton, Mich.); Connor James (So., D, Wainwright, Alberta); Josh Kestner (Sr., F, Huntsville, Ala.); Cam Knight (Jr., D, North Reading, Mass.); Max McHugh (Sr., F, Seattle, Wash.); Brandon Parker (Sr., D, Fairbault, Minn.); Sean Rappleyea (So., D, Sayreville, NJ); Teddy Rotenberger (Fr., D, Huntsville, Ala.); Brandon Salerno (So., F, Toronto, Ontario); John Teets (Jr., D, Fairbanks, Alaska); Jordan Uhleski (Sr., G, Flint, Mich.); Adam Wilcox (Jr., F, Alpharetta, Ga.).

Chargers’ season ends with 5-2 loss to NMU

 Posted by  Comments Off on Chargers’ season ends with 5-2 loss to NMU
Mar 042018

Two quick power play goals in the second period were the difference in UAH’s 5-2 loss Sunday to Northern Michigan in the deciding third game of the WCHA quarterfinal series.

The Chargers, who were trying to become the first seventh seed to upset the second seed in the current WCHA playoff format, finish the season at 12-23-2. The 12 victories were the most by UAH since the 2009-10 season.


The 19th-ranked Wildcats (23-13-3) move on to the WCHA semifinals, where they will host third seed Bowling Green next weekend.

Northern Michigan scored the first goal for the third time in the series. Denver Pierce, who scored twice in game one, drove into the UAH zone on the right side and beat Jordan Uhelski high and glove side just 2:45 in.

The Chargers did not panic, and was able to generate some scoring chances themselves. They tied the game 1-1 at the 10:54 mark, when Tyler Poulsen skated around a Wildcat defenseman, tapped it to a trailing Josh Kestner, who deposited the puck past Atte Tolvanen’s right for his third goal of the series.

It was Kestner’s 24th goal of the season, tying the UAH modern Division I record held by Bruce Mulherin from the 2004-05 season.

For Poulsen, it was his 17th assist of the year, the most by a Charger since Brandon Roshko had that many in the 2007-08 campaign.

UAH took the lead at 2-1 right off the bat in the second period, when Max McHugh tipped in a Kurt Gosselin blast on the power play seconds only 53 seconds in. It was McHugh’s third goal of the year.

Mitchel Slattery tied the game at 2-2 with 6:41 left in the 2nd, and then the Wildcats took the lead after a questionable call.

Cam Knight made contact to the head with the elbow on NMU’s Robbie Payne. It didn’t look egregious by any stretch, but Knight was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct anyway.

The officials have little if any room for discretion, according to the NCAA rulebook (45.1): “Any contact directly with the player’s head and neck area must be penalized with a major penalty and a game misconduct or disqualification.”

NMU quickly scored twice on the major power play to take a 4-2 lead. First a one-timer by Troy Loggins, then Pierce on a rebound. The Chargers called time out to regroup.

Two minutes of the power play were cut by a Payne tripping penalty, and UAH was able to kill the rest of the penalty, but the damage was already done.

The Chargers managed only two shots on goal in the third period, albeit not for lack of attempts. They had one final stand in the final minute when Pierce was called for slashing and UAH had pulled Uhelski for the extra attacker with under a minute to go.

However, Loggins was able to mount a breakaway toward the empty net. Kestner hauled him down, which immediately gives the empty net goal to Loggins for the final 5-2 score.

Uhelski finished with 28 saves.

It marked the final games in Charger uniforms for Richard Buri, Cody Champagne, Kestner, McHugh, Brandon Parker (who tied the UAH record with his 139th game played), Poulsen, Brennan Saulnier, and Uhelski.

Saulnier returned to the lineup after sitting out game two for getting his fourth game misconduct of the season in game one.

Kestner, UAH beat NMU 3-2 to force Game 3

 Posted by  Comments Off on Kestner, UAH beat NMU 3-2 to force Game 3
Mar 032018

Josh Kestner scored twice, including the game-winner with 29 seconds remaining, as UAH defeated No. 19 Northern Michigan 3-2 in Marquette on Saturday to force a deciding third game in the WCHA quarterfinal series.

UAH (12-22-2) earned its first-ever WCHA playoff victory by rallying twice from one-goal deficits.


Game 3 is Sunday at 6:07 p.m. The Chargers will try to become the first seventh seed to advance to the WCHA semifinals in the league’s current alignment that began in 2013-14.

Northern Michigan, the second seed, fell to 22-13-3 overall and hurt its chances of getting an NCAA at-large bid.


The Chargers played a much better defensively this time than in Game 1, when the Wildcats scored four times in the first nine minutes to win 7-1.

Senior goaltender Jordan Uhelski was big between the pipes, withstanding a barrage of shots in the second and third periods. He finished with 22 saves on 24 NMU shots.

The first period did not have a lot going on. There was a lot of up-and-down skating, but not many scoring opportunities, nor were there any penalties or power plays.

There were only eight shots on goal for both teams, with UAH getting five of them.

The biggest concern was the health of Christian Rajic, who slid hard legs-first into the boards near the NMU net. Rajic had to be carried by teammates off the ice.

The first turning point occurred in a more eventful second period, when on a 4-on-4 situation, Josh Kestner had a shorthanded breakaway. He had NMU goaltender Atte Tolvanen beat, but the puck hit the right post, crossed the crease, tapped Tolvanen’s right pad and out.

Going the other way, Troy Loggins blasted one past Jordan Uhelski from the high slot for a 1-0 lead at the 3:52 mark.

Kestner would get his goal at 11:47, when he found the upper right corner over Tolvanen from the right circle to tie the game at 1-1. It was Kestner’s 22nd goal of the season, assisted by Max McHugh (third).

That seemed to awaken the Wildcats, and they started pounding the pads of Uhelski. One eventually got through off the stick of Mitchel Slattery, who deflected a Philip Beaulieu pass to regain the lead for NMU at 2-1 at 14:18.

But UAH tied the game again with 2:38 left in the second, as Adam Wilcox poked a puck coming off the end boards in the left circle past Tolvanen. Tyler Poulsen notched his 16th assist.

The Wildcats had a flurry of chances throughout the third period, but Uhelski was up to the task, as well as that tighter Charger defense.

But it was UAH who had the last flurry, as Josh Kestner found a puck in the right circle and wristed it home for his second goal of the game and a 3-2 Charger lead.

Kester now has 23 goals on the year, setting a UAH modern Division I-era record for season goals by a senior, set by Jared Ross’s 22 in the 2004-05 season. He is one goal way from tying the overall Division I-era season record at UAH, which is 24 by Bruce Mulherin, also in 2004-05.

The Chargers are now 3-3 against Northern Michigan this season, and 2-2 in Marquette. UAH rebounded from losing the first game to winning the second game in each series.

Northern Michigan blasts UAH 7-1 in playoff opener

 Posted by  Comments Off on Northern Michigan blasts UAH 7-1 in playoff opener
Mar 022018

Northern Michigan scored four goals in the first 8:50 and cruised to a 7-1 win over UAH in game one of the WCHA quarterfinals Friday in Marquette, Mich.

UAH (11-22-2) will need to regroup and start fresh Saturday to avoid elimination in the best-of-3 series. But the Chargers will need to find some offense after being outshot 39-14.


They will have to do it without senior forward Brennan Saulnier, who got his fourth game misconduct of the season for verbal abuse of officials in the second period. By NCAA rule, he will sit out Saturday, and perhaps more games if the WCHA suspends him further and UAH extends the series.

Northern Michigan, ranked 19th in the USCHO poll and the second seed of the WCHA playoffs, improved to 22-12-3.

The first nine minutes was nightmarish for the Chargers, and the game was decided then.

UAH had the first power play at the 1:34 mark, but gave up a shorthanded goal at 1:59 when Troy Loggins had a steal and scored on a give-and-go with Adam Rockwood.

This appeared to throw the Chargers out of whack, and the game quickly got away from them.

It became 2-0 NMU when Demico Hannoun took a feed and beat Charger goaltender Jordan Uhelski from the low left circle, just 4:47 in.

It became 3-0 NMU when Robbie Payne had an easy empty net just 48 seconds later.

It became 4-0 NMU when Denver Pierce took a Philip Beaulieu backhanded pass to another open goal at the 8:50 mark.

An angry Uhelski, making only four saves on eight shots, was pulled for freshman Mark Sinclair.

Sinclair was solid in relief. He made 28 saves on 31 shots, including 15 of 16 in the second period.

Late in the second, Brennan Saulnier collided with Pierce, and both were slow to get up. Saulnier was assessed an interference penalty.

NMU answered on the power play with 2:41 left in the second, and it was Pierce scoring with a quick snipe from the slot to make it 5-0 Wildcats.

Saulnier got a cross-checking penalty with 2:32 remaining in the period. He took exception with the officials, and some words got him another misconduct penalty, and then a game misconduct and ejected.

In a very chippy third period, Philip Beaulieu made it 6-0 with 13:09 left. Then Payne scored his second of the game 29 seconds later to make it 7-0.

UAH finally got on the board on the power play with 1:02 to go, as Brandon Parker blasts one from inside the blue line for his first goal of the season and the Chargers’ first ever in a WCHA playoff game.

Madison Dunn and Josh Kestner got the assists.

Preview: UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, WCHA quarterfinals

 Posted by  Comments Off on Preview: UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, WCHA quarterfinals
Mar 012018

Where: Berry Events Center, Marquette, Mich.
When: Game 1, Friday, 6:07 p.m. CST; Game 2, Saturday, 6:07 p.m. CST; Game 3 (if necessary), Sunday, 6:07 p.m. CST.
Watch: WCHA.tv
Listen: RRNSports.com (NMU)
Team stats: UAH | Northern Michigan

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner closes in on Bowling Green State goalie with the puck. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Charger update: UAH (11-21-2 overall, 10-16-2 WCHA) secured a spot in the WCHA playoffs with a 3-2 win over Bowling Green last Friday at the Von Braun Center. Austin Beaulieu’s goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation was the game-winner.

The Chargers lost 3-0 in the regular-season finale, and finished seventh in the WCHA standings.

Josh Kestner scored his 21st goal of the season, tied for most in the WCHA, in the third period on Friday, with Tyler Poulsen earning his team-leading 15th assist. Captain Max McHugh tallied his second goal, giving him four points in eight games since his return from injury.

Jordan Uhelski continues to make big saves for the Chargers. He stopped 30 shots on Friday and 28 on Saturday against Bowling Green. His .915 save percentage in conference play is fourth in the WCHA.

The Chargers return to the WCHA playoffs for the first time since 2015, when they were also a seventh seed. UAH was swept in two games, one in triple overtime, without scoring that season.

However, UAH went 2-2 against Northern Michigan during the regular season, which gives the Chargers some confidence going into this best-of-3 quarterfinal series in Marquette.

Players to watch:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 21 goals-7 assists-28 points in 34 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 9-15-24 in 32 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 9-6-15 in 34 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 5-10-15 in 34 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 8-7-15 in 28 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.92 goals against average, .911 save percentage in 29 starts)

About the Wildcats: Northern Michigan (21-12-3 overall, 19-7-2 WCHA) finished second in the WCHA, much higher than their predicted seventh place in the preseason polls. The Wildcats have been strong in the second half, winning 10 of their last 12 games.

Last weekend, NMU split a home-and-home series with arch rival Michigan Tech, winning 2-1 at home and losing 3-2 on the road.

NMU boasts three dangerous goal scorers that will need to be contained for the Chargers to advance. Robbie Payne (20 goals), Troy Loggins (17 goals), Darien Craighead (17 goals) combined for five goals and 11 points in the four games against UAH this season.

And that doesn’t include the Wildcats’ leading scorer, Adam Rockwood, who has 30 assists (fourth in Division I) and 38 points this season. Rockwood had a goal and four assists against the Chargers.

The Wildcats will have all-WCHA goaltender Atte Tolvanen between the pipes. He did not dress against UAH in the series in Marquette, but has started every game since returning from injury on Dec. 15. Tolvanen allowed six goals on 29 shots in the two games in Huntsville.

Players to watch:
Adam Rockwood (Jr., F, 8-30-38 in 36 GP)
Robbie Payne (Sr., F, 20-9-29 in 36 GP)
Troy Loggins (Jr.,, F, 17-20-37 in 36 GP)
Darien Craighead (So., F, 17-14-31 in 35 GP)
Philip Beaulieu (So., D, 9-22-31 in 36 GP)
Atte Tolvanen (Jr., G, 2.41 GAA, .905 SV%, 2 shutouts in 28 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape
(per game averages)
Northern Michigan
11-21-2 Overall record 21-12-3
10-16-2 WCHA record 19-7-2
2.46 (7th) Goals/game 3.04 (3rd)
3.07 (T-7th) Goals allowed/game 2.29 (4th)
15.2 (4th) Penalty minutes 13.1 (9th)
16.9% (6th) Power play 21.6% (2nd)
80.1% (7th) Penalty kill 83.2% (4th)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only


Series notes: Northern Michigan leads the all-time series 13-6-3, including an 8-3-1 mark in Marquette. UAH has won four of the last six meetings overall, and three of the last four at NMU. This season, both series in Huntsville and Marquette were splits.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. All WCHA playoff games can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, March 2 (Game 1)
UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at #17 Bowling Green, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, March 3 (Game 2)
UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at #17 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

Sunday, March 4 (Game 3 if necessary)
UAH at #19 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 5:07 p.m.
Ferris State at #17 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at #3 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.