Say Goodbye to Your 2012-13 Chargers

These guys ran the gauntlet: 10 of 11 Division I weekends on the road, constantly on the road, including six weekends straight. They didn’t know if the team would ever get in a Division I conference again, and there was a lot of uncertainty as to what that might be a program.

What was certain was that these guys didn’t quit.  What’s certain now is that UAH Hockey lives to fight another year.  The boys are in their first stable Division I home after 20 years of life as an independent and in the ill-fated College Hockey America.  Now UAH has made it.  These guys are a big reason why.

2012-13 Team Photo Postseason

So here’s to Steve, Chad, Jack, Anderson, Jeff, Steve, Lasse, and Graeme; to Mike, Frank, Jamie, Ben, Alex, and Mat; to CJ, Craig, Justin, Brice, Johnny, Doug, Curtis, Gregg, and Sebastian; to Kyle, who’s doing work in Atlanta; to Coach Kleinendorst, Coach Garber, Coach Morgan, and Tim Flynn.

Here’s to success not always being measured in wins, and here’s to those successes garnering more wins next year like you know the boys want to see.

Here’s to Charger Hockey.

2013 UAH Hockey Banquet — Friday, April 5th

I am woefully overdue in getting you this information.  Here’s the details on the 2013 UAH Hockey Banquet from Tim Flynn, Director of Hockey Operations:

Our staff wanted to make sure all of our alumni, boosters and loyal fans were included in our invitations to this year’s banquet. It’s an exciting time as we conclude the independent era of the UAH Hockey program and look forward to a new begining in the WCHA next season. We’d love to have everyone come out and see some familiar faces and support the program as we begin to rebuild the great hockey tradition you all helped build at UAH. I have attached this years registration form please fill it out and send back at your earliest convienence. The event details are below.

What: 2013 UAH Hockey Banquet and Award Ceremony
Where: Holiday Inn – Downtown Huntsville
When: Friday April 5, 7 PM.
There will be both a live and silent auction along with dinner followed by an awards ceremony.

We are also looking for alumni who would be able to present an award, if you are coming and would like to participate please send me an e-mail.

We have set a date for our Annual Golf Tournament, it will be June 8 at 8 AM over at Hampton Cove. We will have more details available at the banquet.

The banquet is always a lot of fun, and I really suggest that you attend, even if all you do is buy dinner and watch.  This is a great way to send off our seniors and celebrate a program that we all believe is on the rise.

If you want to attend, here’s the banquet invitation and banquet flyer that Tim sent the boosters.

I hope to see you there!

UMD 4, UAH 0

Anyone who’s ever studied calculus — which is most UAH alumni — knows the concept of the inflection point.  It’s the point on a curve where the sign changes.  Tonight’s game against Duluth probably wasn’t an inflection point, but winter 2013 has been.

Anyone who’s looked at the records of this university’s varsity hockey program over the last decade has seen a trend: After a peak in mid-decade, it’s been a steady downward trend ever since, two NCAA postseason trips notwithstanding.  We all know the story by now: league disbands, league denies, independent life, Portera ends it, Altenkirch saves it, league accepts.  It’s easy to see that this should be an inflection point: When we’ve played against a stable conference, we’ve been a good Division I hockey program.  There’s no reason to believe that this shouldn’t be one again.

I think that these last four games are a part of that.  Consider what they are: four final games for the last members of the second tournament team; a chance to play Penn State and measure ourselves against a team that has a one-year lead on building for the future; and a chance to finish strong against Duluth, an opponent of the quality that we’ll likely see in the WCHA next season (although UMD will be in the NCHC).

What did we see?  A tough 4-0 loss in State College powered by a David Glen hat trick followed by a tight 4-3 loss the next night to lose the one and only #IndependentLeagueMegabowl.  Last night we had a 4-2 loss to the Dogs, and tonight it was 4-0.  All of these were well-fought efforts, and the important thing here is that the boys finished strong and didn’t just play out the string.  It would’ve been easy to let up knowing that the clean slate was coming, but they didn’t.  The values they showed, the commitment to the program no matter the pain: maintaining that is the steel that makes that inflection point happen.

Tonight’s in-game inflection point was a major penalty and game misconduct to Graeme Strukoff in the 2nd period.  Duluth would end up scoring twice, taking what was a tight 1-0 game to a wide lead.  Losing the sophomore defenseman also put the Chargers down to five blueliners, and the Bulldogs pressed the advantage with speedy breakouts and tight forechecking.  The boys kept battling and showed flashes, but the puck was never consistently in the UMD end after the major power play.

Senior John Griggs picks up 42 saves in his final UAH start.  The senior is joined by Justin Cseter, Curtis deBruyn, and Sebastian Geoffrion in a class that has worked hard to maintain the traditions of the program through the stormy waters of being an independent program.  Gentlemen, we are in your debt.

Minnesota-Duluth 4, UAH 2

uahvsumdUAH came out of the gate strong, but two power play goals propelled Minnesota-Duluth to a 4-2 win Friday night in Duluth to open the Chargers’ final series of the season.

The Chargers kept the Bulldog faithful quiet throughout most of the first period, and took the first lead at the 8:16 mark. Lasse Uusivirta scored his first goal of the season on a wide-open net, fed with a cross-ice pass by Graeme Strukoff. It was Strukoff’s sixth assist of the season, and Steven Koskey also got his fifth helper.

But it was Duluth who dominated the period with 20 shots on goal to UAH’s nine. Johnny Griggs had to make several sprawling saves, but a big rebound allowed the Bulldogs to tie the game late. Joe Basaraba’s shot bounced off Griggs, then Tony Cameranesi’s knocked in the rebound to even the score at one with seven seconds to go.

Although UMD couldn’t apply as much pressure in the second period, the Bulldogs still came away with two goals.  Chris Casto rifled one just under the crossbar over Griggs’ glove at 2:25 for a 2-1 Duluth lead. Cody Danberg then backhanded a loose puck past Griggs with 3:20 left in the period to make it 3-1 UMD.

UAH cut the lead to 3-2 early in the third, as Doug Reid was fortunate after flipping it on net from an awkward angle closer to the corner.

But the Bulldogs regained the two-goal advantage on the power play. Cal Decowski’s pass across the crease found Justin Crandall on the doorstep.

Griggs got a workout, making 38 saves on 42 Bulldog shots on goal.

The boys face off with UMD tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. to finish the 2012-13 season.

Catching the Game: at Minnesota-Duluth, March 1-2

uahvsumdAfter another three-week break, UAH finishes up the 2012-13 campaign at Minnesota Duluth on Friday and Saturday. The boys will be looking to send the program into the WCHA on a high note.

The Chargers and Bulldogs met for the first time last season in Duluth. UMD was the defending national champion and top-ranked team in the country, but UAH played them close and lost 2-1 and 4-3.

Duluth isn’t ranked this time around, sporting a losing record (10-17-5) and holding ninth place in its last season in the WCHA. The Bulldogs, who will join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season, are winless in their last nine games.

The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. CT both nights. Live video, live stats, and live tweets will be available.