Preview: UAH at #7 Minnesota State

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Dec 142017
 

Where: Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato, Minn.
When: Friday, 7:07 p.m.; Saturday, 7:07 p.m. (CST)
Watch: WCHA.tv
Team stats: UAH | Minnesota State

Jordan Uhelski

Jordan Uhelski’s .908 save percentage is 6th in the WCHA. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Charger update: UAH (6-10-2 overall, 5-5-2 WCHA) got two points after a tie and a loss at Bowling Green last week. The Chargers sit in sixth place in the WCHA standings, one point behind Ferris State and one point ahead of Alaska.

In the first game, Josh Kestner scored twice as the Chargers and Falcons battled to a 3-3 draw. UAH earned its first ever point after tie by winning the shootout. Madison Dunn scored the first goal.

UAH couldn’t muster much offense at all in game two, getting only 12 shots on goal in a 3-1 loss. Tyler Poulsen scored a third-period goal to put the Chargers in striking distance.

Jordan Uhelski stopped 39 of 42 Bowling Green shots to keep UAH in it on Saturday, and made a total of 63 saves on the weekend.

Kestner has 12 goals on the season, tying him for second for the WCHA lead and already matching the high for a Charger in the last 10 years. Ten of those 12 have come in conference play, which tops the conference. His overall 16 points is tied for sixth in the league.

This is the third of six stops for the Chargers in this long road swing. After taking next week off for the Christmas holiday, UAH goes to Bemidji State, Alaska, and Alaska Anchorage back-to-back-to-back.

Charger leaders:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 12 goals-4 assists-16 points in 18 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 4-10-14 in 17 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 7-4-11 in 18 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 7-4-11 in 18 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 3-5-8 in 18 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.86 goals against average, .908 save percentage in 15 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape Minnesota State
6-10-2 Overall record 11-5-0
5-5-2 WCHA record 9-3-0
3.08 (2nd) Goals/game 4.17 (1st)
3.08 (6th) Goals allowed/game 2.33 (3rd)
15.3 (3rd) Pen. minutes/game 16.8 (1st)
21.3% (3rd) Power play 28.6% (1st)
81.0% (6th) Penalty kill 84.1% (4th)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only

About the Mavericks: Minnesota State (11-5-0 overall, 9-3-0 WCHA) rolled all over the Lakers at Lake Superior State last weekend, winning 5-1 and 7-0. The Mavericks stand in second place of the WCHA, one point behind Bowling Green, but MSU has played two fewer games.

The Mavericks are ranked No. 7 in this week’s USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

The 12 goals last week boosted the Mavericks’ average in conference games to 4.17, leading the league by over a full goal over the second-place Chargers. Their overall scoring average of 3.75 puts them third in Division I.

Minnesota State has many offensive weapons, a big reason why the Mavericks were picked to win the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA regular-season champion. Eight players have double-digit points, and ten have at least four goals this season.

Leading them is Zeb Knutson, who has eight goals and 20 points, tied for the top in WCHA overall scoring. C.J. Seuss (formerly Franklin), a Winnipeg Jets prospect, is right behind him with a 18 points (fourth in the WCHA) and a team-leading 14 assists. Freshman Jake Jaremko’s 17 points gives the Mavericks three of the WCHA’s top five overall scorers.

Between the pipes, Connor LeCouvee, a senior transfer who played the last three seasons at Boston University, has a 2.02 goals against average (second in the WCHA) and .912 save percentage (fourth in the WCHA) in nine starts. Junior Jason Pawloski has a 2.47 GAA and .905 save percentage in seven starts.

Players to watch:
Zeb Knutson (Sr., F, 8-12-20 in 16 GP)
C.J. Seuss (Sr., F, 4-14-18 in 16 GP)
Jake Jaremko (Fr., F, 4-13-17 in 16 GP)
Daniel Brickley (Jr., D, 4-10-14 in 16 GP)
Marc Michaelis (So., F, 7-6-13 in 16 GP)
Ian Scheid (So., D, 7-3-10 in 16 GP)

Series notes: The Chargers and Mavericks have played 55 times, the fourth-most among UAH’s opponents. MSU leads the all-time series 29-19-7, including a 17-6-4 mark in Mankato. The Chargers haven’t beaten the Mavericks in the last 22 meetings (0-18-4), with the last UAH victory coming in 2002. Last season, MSU won 2-0 and 3-2 in Huntsville.

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

Friday, Dec. 15
UAH at #7 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 16
UAH at #7 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.

Falcons clamp down on Chargers, 3-1

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Dec 092017
 

UAH had very few chances to score Saturday night in a 3-1 loss at Bowling Green.

UAH (6-10-2 overall, 5-5-2 WCHA) only managed 12 shots on goal against the Falcons (8-5-6, 7-2-5), who dominated with 42.

BOX SCORE

It was the stellar play of Charger goaltender Jordan Uhelski and his 39 saves that UAH was even in it to the end.

The lone Charger goal came early in the third period by Tyler Poulsen on the power play, but that was all UAH could manage.

UAH leaves Ohio taking two of six points in the series. The Chargers got a 3-3 tie with a shootout point on Friday.

Bowling Green, which retained first place in the WCHA standings, scored the first goal again, as Alec Rauhauser found the net on a wrister from the left circle at the 8:44 mark of the game.

The Falcons made it 2-0 as Connor McDonald, just as he did on his goal Friday, launched the puck high from the right point through traffic. Jordan Uhelski never got a good look at it as it found the net with 2:02 remaining in the period.

The Chargers had two power plays in the first and the Falcons had none, but both opportunities found very few offensive chances. Bowling Green outshot UAH 11-4 in the opening frame.

It got worse in the second period, as the Chargers simply could not get any pressure on the Falcons and goaltender Ryan Bednard. UAH only had three shots on goal (and only six attempts) in the period.

Meanwhile, Bowling Green kept humming, thanks in part to four power plays. The Falcons had six shots on goal on the first one, matching UAH’s total for the whole game at the time, and had 17 for the second period.

Uhelski stopped all six in that power play, but was not so fortunate later. Back-to-back penalties by Brandon Parker and Cody Champagne put the Falcons two men up, and Stephen Baylis made them pay with a one-timer from the right circle for a 3-0 lead with 7:08 left in the second.

At 4:19 of the third, the Chargers finally got on the board after a Brandon Kruse high sticking penalty. Tyler Poulsen redirected a Levi Wunder shot from the left point for his fourth goal of the season.

Wunder’s assist was his second, and Cam Knight got his eighth helper of the year.

But the Falcons took control and fired away at Uhelski immediately afterward. The Chargers had a few chances late, including a Josh Kestner breakaway with about nine minutes left, but Bednard (11 saves) made the stop.

Uhelski continued to make huge saves to keep UAH within striking distance. With about five minutes left, he made a stop on Tyler Spezia’s breakaway, and then gloved the rebound attempt by Kruse immediately after.

Next up for the Chargers is a trip to Mankato, Minn., next week to face second-place Minnesota State. It’s the third of six straight road series.

Preview: UAH vs. Alaska Anchorage

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Nov 092017
 

Where: Propst Arena, Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala.
When: Friday, 7:07 p.m.; Saturday, 7:07 p.m.
Watch: Tickets | Promotions | WCHA.tv
Team stats: UAH | Alaska Anchorage

Brennan Saulnier

Brennan Saulnier (UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger update: UAH (2-6-0 overall, 1-1-0 WCHA) split the series at Arizona State, ending a stretch of eight road games to start the season. The Sun Devils won the first game 3-2 on Friday, and the Chargers came back with a 3-1 victory on Saturday.

Brennan Saulnier scored a goal in each game at ASU, and Kurt Gosselin had a goal and two assists for the series. Kestner secured Saturday’s win with an empty-net goal, giving him four on the season and tying Saulnier for the team lead.

Mark Sinclair made 19 saves in his second start on Friday. Jordan Uhelski was the netminder in the win as he stopped 18 of 19 shots.

The Chargers are ready to play at home for a while. They’ll spend the next six games in three weeks at the VBC.

Charger leaders:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 4 goals-2 assists-6 points in 8 games played)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 4-2-6 in 8 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 2-4-6 in 8 GP)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 3-2-5 in 7 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 3.35 goals against average, .896 save percentage in 6 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape Alaska Anchorage
2-6-0 Overall record 1-6-1
1-1-0 WCHA record 1-1-0
2.12 Goals/game 2.00
3.50 Goals allowed/game 3.25
14.5 Pen. minutes/game 13.6
15.4% Power play 15.4%
73.9% Penalty kill 82.5%

About the Seawolves: Alaska Anchorage (1-6-1 overall, 1-1-0 WCHA) played its first WCHA series last week at Lake Superior State and earned a split. The Seawolves lost 3-2 in overtime and won 4-1 to end a six-game losing streak.

Senior forward Austin Azurdia scored twice against Lake Superior last week to take the team’s scoring lead. Jeremiah Luedtke had a goal and two assists in the series.

Senior goaltender Olivier Mantha stopped 65 of 69 shots against the Lakers, including 34 in the Seawolves’ win on Saturday.

Players to watch:
Austin Azurdia (Sr., F, 3-4-7 in 8 GP)
Tad Kozun (Sr., F, 2-4-6 in 8 GP)
Jeremiah Luedtke (Jr., F, 2-3-5 in 8 GP)
Jordan Xavier (Fr., F, 3-0-3 in 8 GP)
Olivier Mantha (Sr., G, 3.26 GAA, .909 SV%, 8 GP)

Series notes: Alaska Anchorage holds a 20-7-2 edge in the all-time series, but UAH was won five of the last eight meetings with one tie. UAH is 4-6-2 against UAA at home. Last season, the teams played in Anchorage, with the Chargers sweeping by scores of 5-2 and 3-2.

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

Friday, Nov. 10
Alaska Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
#20 Northern Michigan at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
#10 Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 11
Alaska Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at #20 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
#10 Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.

Gosselin nets another WCHA weekly award

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Oct 232017
 

Kurt Gosselin

UAH junior defenseman Kurt Gosselin was named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday.

Gosselin had three points in UAH series split at then-No. 5 Michigan Tech. He had two assists in UAH’s 5-4 loss on Friday, and scored a power play goal in the Chargers’ 4-2 victory on Saturday. Defensively, Gosselin blocked six shots, one short of the WCHA leaders for the week.

It was the third time Gosselin got the award after winning it twice last season. It’s Gosselin’s fourth WCHA weekly award including his Rookie of the Week award in the 2015-16 season.

Three other Chargers were honorable mention in the WCHA’s weekly awards: Josh Kestner (goal and two assists) for Offensive Player of the Week (won by Alaska’s Colton Leiter); Jordan Uhelski (74 saves, 41 in the win) for Goaltender of the Week (won by Lake Superior State’s Nick Kossoff); and Christian Rajic (goal and two assists) for Rookie of the Week (won by Alaska’s Steven Jandric).

Hoof Beats: Notes from Notre Dame; Texan commits

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Oct 122017
 

With the Chargers off this week, here are some notes about last weekend’s series at Notre Dame:

  • Coach Mike Corbett told the Notre Dame broadcasters that he didn’t want the Chargers to have a special teams battle with the Irish. UAH was 57th of 60 Division I teams last year on power play opportunities, and 49th in penalty killing, and both aspects did not have great starts to the season. For the weekend, the Chargers were 1-for-10 on the power play, and the Irish was 3-for-9.
  • Tyler Poulsen’s two goals on Friday earned him the third star of the game. It was Poulsen’s second two-goal game of his UAH career.
  • Friday’s game was close to a repeat of history. The last (and only) time UAH has defeated a top-10 team was also a season opener and also at Notre Dame. The Chargers beat the fifth-ranked Irish 3-2 on Oct. 9, 2009. UAH led 3-2 at one point of the second period on Friday.
  • Saturday’s 4-0 loss wasn’t fun, but it didn’t appear to be as dominating as the score indicated. UAH had an advantage in shots on goal (34-31), while shots attempted were also close with the Irish with a slight 58-57 edge.
  • All five freshmen forwards played in both games, with Levi Wunder getting an assist on Friday. Freshman goaltender Mark Sinclair make his first start on Saturday, stopping 27 of 31 shots.
  • The Chargers may be feeling the effects of being without injured center Max McHugh in the faceoff dot. UAH won only 22 of 63 faceoffs on Friday and 20 of 53 on Saturday, or 36 percent for the series.
  • McHugh is the team’s captain, with Kurt Gosselin, Josh Kestner, and Brandon Parker being the alternate captains.
  • The UAH softball team was in attendance at Friday night’s game. Les Stuedeman and her squad were in South Bend to play the Irish and Western Michigan in fall practice games on Saturday. They were certainly heard at the Compton Family Ice Arena, particularly late in the game when the Chargers were threatening to score the tying goal.

The Chargers are off this week. Next week they head to Houghton, Mich., visiting Michigan Tech for their first WCHA series of the season.

Recruiting news and notes: Ben Allen, a ’97-born forward from Allen, Texas, recently committed to UAH for the 2018-2019 season. Allen is currently playing for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL after having spent the majority of last season with the Battleford North Stars in the SJHL. He’s not big at 5’9 and 175 lbs., but he makes up for it with an advanced hockey IQ and a relentless motor. With 11 forwards currently committed to play college hockey on Penticton’s roster, this should be a great year for Allen’s development. He’s currently got 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 games, and I expect his production will increase as he gets used to a new league and a new team. All-in-all, another solid commit for Coach Corbett and his staff.
Unfortunately, around the same time Allen committed to the Herd, it was confirmed that blue-chip defenseman Hank Sorensen had decided to open his recruitment back up. At this point in time, it’s unclear whether he’s still considering UAH. —Asher Kitchings

Single-game tickets now available: Reserved single-game tickets to the Chargers’ 14 home games are now for sale. They can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or through the Von Braun Center box office.

Season tickets are still available by calling 256-UAH-PUCK or through uahchargers.com.

The home opening series, which is also Homecoming, is Nov. 10-11 against Alaska Anchorage.

Around the WCHA: Michigan Tech scored a couple of crucial non-conference wins for the league by winning the Ice Breaker Tournament in Duluth, Minn. The Huskies defeated No. 16 Union 4-3 and host No. 6 Minnesota Duluth 4-3. Now at No. 15, Michigan Tech is the only WCHA team in the USCHO.com poll. … Minnesota State opened at home to a large crowd against in-state rival St. Cloud State, but the Mavericks lost 4-0 Saturday despite, like UAH, outshooting the Huskies 42-26. … Alaska Anchorage surprised No. 7 North Dakota at home on Friday with a 1-1 tie, but the Seawolves fell to the Fighting Hawks in overtime on Saturday, 3-2. … UAH alumnus Lance West made his debut as the head coach of the Alaska Nanooks, which took a loss and tie against Air Force in Fairbanks. … Ferris State split with Western Michigan, with each team winning at home. Western defeated Bowling Green 3-1 in Kalamazoo on Tuesday. … Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan split a non-conference home-and-home series.

Friday, October 13
* Northern Michigan at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* #15 Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Minnesota State at #2 Boston University, 6:30 p.m.
Michigan State at Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
#5 Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #6 St. Cloud State, 7:37 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Colorado College, 8:37 p.m.

Saturday, October 14
* Northern Michigan at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* #15 Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Minnesota State at #2 Boston University, 6:00 p.m.
Bowling Green at Michigan State, 6:05 p.m.
Bemidji State at #5 Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at #6 St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Colorado College, 8:07 p.m.