Feb 092017
 
CATCHING THE GAMES
Friday, Feb. 10, 7:07 p.m.
First 500 get free cell phone wallets
Saturday, Feb. 11, 3:07 p.m.
First 500 get UAH hockey trading cards
Ticket information
Kids 12-under get free admission
Season stats: UAH | Bemidji State

The Chargers close out the home regular season schedule against rival Bemidji State at the Von Braun Center on Friday and Saturday.

UAH will try to pull some upsets on the Beavers in order to secure their WCHA playoff position. Bemidji State is a win away from clinching the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA regular season champion.

All-time series: The Chargers and Beavers will be meeting for the 81st and 82nd time. Bemidji State leads overall 46-29-5, while UAH leads 19-17-3 in Huntsville.

This is the only regular season meeting between the programs this season. Last season, Bemidji State won three of the four meetings (the other being a tie).

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner has 9 goals and 22 points on the season. (UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger recap: UAH (8-19-3 overall, 8-13-3 WCHA) snapped a nine-game winless streak Saturday with a 4-1 victory in Alaska, earning a split with the and staying in eighth place in the WCHA standings. Alaska won the first game, 3-0.

Josh Kestner scored his ninth goal of the season, tying him with Kurt Gosselin for the team lead. Brennan Saulnier, Matt Salhany, and Sean Rappleyea scored the other goals for UAH.

Kestner leads the Chargers with 22 points, followed by Gosselin and Max McHugh with 18. Cam Knight has 17 points, buoyed by a team-leading 14 assists.

Connor James earned his two collegiate points with a pair of assists.

Jordan Uhelski made 30 saves on 31 shots in the win over Alaska, and 61 saves for the weekend. His goals against average is now at 2.75 and his save percentage up to .907. He is 6-7-3 in 17 starts.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA games only)
Bemidji State
8-19-3 Overall record 18-11-3
8-13-3-0
(27 pts, 8th)
WCHA record 18-4-2-2
(58 pts, 1st)
2.54 (7th) Goals/game 2.62 (6th)
3.38 (10th) Goals allowed/game 1.42 (1st)
15.0 (5th) Pen. minutes/game 10.0 (10th)
14.8% (T5th) Power play 20.4% (1st)
78.3% (10th) Penalty kill 93.5% (1st)

About the Beavers: Bemidji State (18-11-3 overall, 18-4-2 WCHA) can clinch the WCHA regular season title with a win over the Chargers or a Michigan Tech loss to Ferris State. The Beavers swept Tech by scores of 4-2 and 3-0 last week.

The Beavers are not a high-powered offense, but they don’t need to be with a defense that ranks the best in all of Division I in goals per game (1.81). Anchoring the defense is junior goaltender Michael Bitzer, who leads the nation with a 1.61 goals against average, is sixth in the country with a .935 save percentage, and is tied for the D-I lead with five shutouts.

Also tough to penetrate is BSU’s penalty kill, which also ranks the best in the country at 89.5 percent. That’s for the rare time they need it, as the Beavers are one of the least penalized teams in the nation.

Senior Phillip Marinaccio leads Bemidji State with 23 points on nine goals and 14 assists. The goal-scoring leader is junior Kyle Bauman, who has 11.

Around the WCHA: Series to watch as we head to the final stretch toward the playoffs:

Ferris State at Michigan Tech: Ferris State is tied for 6th, two points ahead of UAH. Michigan Tech has a six-point lead for 2nd, but needs to win and Bemidji State to lose to stay in contention for the MacNaughton Cup.

Alaska at Northern Michigan: Alaska is in 5th, just three points ahead of UAH. Northern Michigan is 9th but only two points behind the Chargers.

Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State: Anchorge is in 10th, but the Seawolves are not out of it, only five points behind UAH for 8th. Lake Superior is tied with Ferris State for 6th, also two points ahead of the Chargers.

All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, February 10
* Bemidji State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
* Alaska at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.

Saturday, February 11
* Bemidji State at UAH, 3:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Michigan Tech, 4:07 p.m.
* Alaska at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Alaska Anchorage at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
Mercyhurst at Bowling Green, 4:07 p.m.

Feb 042017
 

The Chargers went to Fairbanks looking to solidify its playoff position, and nothing went UAH’s way Friday in the first game of the series with Alaska.

UAH lost 3-0, getting shut out for the fourth time this season. The Chargers (7-19-3 overall, 7-13-3 WCHA) haven’t won since Dec. 10, winless in their last seven WCHA contests and nine overall.

BOX SCORE

The Chargers’ hold of the eighth and final WCHA playoff spot became all the more tenuous. Northern Michigan and Alaska Anchorage both won Friday, cutting the gap to UAH to just two points with the Chargers only having five games left. Both NMU and UAA have two games in hand.

Complicating matters for UAH is the loss of defenseman Kurt Gosselin, who left the game in the first period after a contact to the head by Alaska’s Zach Frye.

The Chargers were stymied, mostly in the third period, by Nanooks goaltender Davis Jones, who made 31 saves (18 in the third period) for the shutout.

Alaska improved to 9-15-3 overall and 8-10-3 in the WCHA, moving into sole possession of fifth place.

The Nanooks got the first goal at 4:31 from John Mullally, who was on the doorstep for a wide open net. UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski could not pick up a rebound from a Zach Frye shot.

Alaska went up 2-0 at 12:35 when Chad Staley drove to the net alone and coaxed the puck around Uhelski’s left.

The Chargers had their chances in the first period, but had nothing to show for it. UAH had the benefit of over three minutes of power play time after Frye’s hit on Gosselin got him a major contact to the head penalty and a game misconduct.

Gosselin was escorted to the locker room by the UAH training staff and did not return.

Meanwhile, Jones made the saves on a 3-on-1 Charger break and a Max McHugh point-blank shot.

The second period saw no scoring, but Alaska maintained most of the puck possession and offensive chances to prevent the Chargers from rallying. The Nanooks outshot the Chargers 13-6 for the period.

Alaska had some golden opportunities to extend its lead, however, thanks to a couple of UAH turnovers. Kylar Hope had a steal behind the net and tried a wraparound, and the shot rebounded to Troy Van Tetering, who missed a wide open net.

Van Tetering had another chance late in the frame, as he took a loose puck in the UAH zone. Uhelski would deflect his shot out of play to keep the Chargers within two.

That didn’t stay long to start the third. Nikolas Koberstein put Alaska up 3-0 just 29 seconds in with a writer from the high slot.

The Nanooks nearly made it 4-0, but Staley was called for a major charging the goalie penalty. For the second time, UAH hindered itself by committing a penalty, this time by Cam Knight, shaving two minutes off its man advantage.

When they did get the power play back, the Chargers had at least six shots on goal. Jones made the saves to preserve the shutout.

In fact, the third period is when UAH finally put the pressure on. The Chargers had 18 shots on goal in the final frame, and Jones seemed to be everywhere with the glove and the pads.

In the end, Alaska still outshot UAH 34-31. Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power play.

Game two of the series is Saturday night at 10:07 p.m.

Jan 262017
 
CATCHING THE GAMES
Friday, Jan. 27, 7:07 p.m.
First 500 get UAH stadium cups
Saturday, Jan. 28, 7:07 p.m.
First 500 get UAH trading cards
Kids 12-under get in free to both games
Season stats: UAH | Michigan Tech

Desperately needing wins, the struggling Chargers return to the VBC on Friday and Saturday night against Michigan Tech.

All-time series: UAH is 0-11-1 against the Huskies, with the one tie coming earlier this season, a 1-1 draw in Houghton on Oct. 15 (following a 7-3 Michigan Tech win the night before). MTU has won all four games in Huntsville.

Charger recap: UAH (7-17-2 overall, 7-11-2 WCHA) has lost six straight games and 10 of its last 13 after being swept at Lake Superior State last week. The Lakers won by scores of 5-4, needing a late third-period goal after the Chargers rallied from three down, and 4-1.

Jost Kestner scored twice on Friday, giving him eight on the season, tying him for the team lead. Kurt Gosselin also netted his eighth goal, joining him with Kestner and Max McHugh.

Kestner’s 12th assist on Friday gives him 20 points. Cam Knight leads the team in helpers with 13.

The Chargers will be without Gosselin, Knight, and Brennan Saulnier for Friday’s game against Michigan Tech. Each was handed game disqualification penalties last Saturday for their actions in fights occurring after the game against Lake Superior.

The Chargers have fallen into eighth place — and the last playoff position — in the WCHA standings, four points ahead of Alaska Anchorage and Northern Michigan.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA games only)
Michigan Tech
7-17-2 Overall record 15-9-6
7-11-2-0
(23 pts, 8th)
WCHA record 12-3-5-2
(43 pts, 2nd)
2.55 (6th) Goals/game 2.80 (4th)
3.40 (10th) Goals allowed/game 1.70 (2nd)
15.3 (6th) Pen. minutes/game 16.3 (4th)
14.3% (6th) Power play 20.6% (2nd)
77.9% (10th) Penalty kill 91.3% (2nd)

About the Huskies: Michigan Tech (15-9-6 overall, 12-3-5 WCHA) is on a 2-0-3 stretch in its last five, earning a tie (1 point) and a win at Minnesota State last week. The Huskies, who have clinched a spot in the WCHA playoffs, have moved into second place in the league, trailing Bemidji State by nine points.

The Huskies are second in the league in defense, allowing only 1.70 goals per game. A big reason is freshman goaltender Angus Redmond, who has a 1.50 goals against average and .933 save percentage with three shutouts in 22 starts. Redmond was only a backup when UAH visited Michigan Tech back in October, only playing 12:08 of mop-up duty in the Huskies’ 7-3 win.

Tech has a balanced and deep offense, with many options for points. Twelve players have 10 points or more, with Jake Lucchini leading the club with 17. Lucchini also paces the Huskies with nine goals.

Michigan Tech also excels in special teams, scoring on over 20 percent of power plays and killing 91.3 percent of shorthanded situations.

Around the WCHA: All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, January 27
* Michigan Tech at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
* Bowling Green at Ferris State, 7:37 p.m.
#20 Bemidji State vs. St. Cloud State, 4 p.m. (North Star Cup, St. Paul)

Saturday, January 28
* Michigan Tech at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* Bowling Green at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#20 Bemidji State vs. #2 Minnesota Duluth/#6 Minnesota, 4 or 7 p.m. (North Star Cup, St. Paul)

Nov 122016
 

“Why isn’t Carmine Guerriero playing?”

This is a common question to Michael and me, and since we’ve never addressed it here, let’s do this:

  1. Carmine Guerriero told me back in September that he didn’t think that he’d play Division I hockey.  He was bound for D-III or CIS hockey.  UAH needed a third, and they knew the truth as well as anyone: with our favorite fighting Frenchman (okay, French-Canadian) having been born on 1992-02-20, would be ineligible for a year of NCAA hockey for having played 12 games for the CCHL’s Hawkesbury Hawks in his final year in juniors.
  2. Carmine came here anyway and has had a couple okay games along the way.  True, last year’s campaign was not what he or anyone else wanted, but he’s a fine young man, a valuable part of the team, and a good student.
  3. UAH and Guerriero appealed to the NCAA in the offseason for Carmine to get some eligibility for this season.  The argument was effective, but Guerriero’s grant of a fourth year came at the cost of missing 12 games at the beginning of the season, one for each of the games played over age.

UAH was never at risk of forfeiting games, as some have feared — Guerriero was simply awarded more eligibility than would otherwise have been afforded him by NCAA rules.  All parties involved recognized this: giving Carmine another year of hockey eligibility allows him to hone his skills for play at any further level but far more importantly gives him a chance to complete his degree on time.

I’d say that Jordan Uhelski earned the Friday start based on his body of work during those 12 games, but I expect that we’ll see 35 soon enough.  This isn’t a situation where the NCAA missed the ball (that one still completely boggles me because hockeydb is right over there, bro) but is one where everyone went in with clear eyes and good intentions, both in the past and this summer.

See ya soon, Carm.  Don’t throw away your shot.

Nov 062016
 

Matt Salhany scored with 1:06 left in overtime, salvaging a 3-2 UAH victory and a series sweep over Alaska Anchorage.

It was first-ever sweep in Anchorage for UAH (4-7-1 overall, 4-3-1 WCHA), which swept a second road series in a season for the first time since 2004-05. With 13 points, the Chargers moved into third place in the WCHA standings.

BOX SCORE

UAH had a 2-0 lead and was in control throughout most of the first two periods, but Anchorage (1-7-0 overall, 0-4-0 WCHA) rallied for two in the third to force overtime. The Chargers outshot the Seawolves 34-16.

 

The first period was similar to Friday’s first period, except on Saturday there were no goals. The Chargers kept most of the action in the Seawolf end, but the difference was UAA didn’t make the critical mistakes, and goaltender Olivier Mantha made the stops — 14 in fact. Meanwhiel, UAA only mustered three shots on goal in the period.

The second period was full of penalties, the most crucial being a vicious hit on Brennan Saulnier by UAA’s Mason Mitchell. Saulnier was on his back for a few minutes as Mitchell received a five-minute major penalty for contact to the head, a two-minute penalty for roughing, and a game misconduct.

Saulnier was able to go to the bench on his own power, and was back in action on the ice as the Chargers had over six minutes of power play time to work with. He was quickly stoned by Mantha, who pounced on a wrap-around attempt.

UAH would finally not be denied on the major power play. Hans Gorowsky, from the left circle, ricocheted the puck off the left post and in at the 8:26 mark of the second period. It was Gorowsky’s third goal of the season, with Max McHugh got the primary assist, his fourth, for his nice pass from the slot. Josh Kestner also notched his fifth helper.

The power play would end on a too many men on the ice penalty on UAH, and Adam Wilcox’s elbowing call gave the Seawolves a chance to equalize with a two-man advantage. However, the Chargers were able to cleanly kill those penalties.

A penalty was called on each team in the final minutes of the period, and on the ensuing 4-on-4, Kurt Gosselin wristed a shot to beat Mantha with 48 seconds left to give UAH a 2-0 lead. The goal was confirmed on a lengthy video review, although the referee confused matters as he made a wave-off motion as he came back on the ice, followed by a point to center ice for the face off.

McHugh and Cam Knight got the assists on Gosselin’s goal.

UAA thought it got its first goal at 2:39 of the third period, but Jarrett Brown’s shot was found to hit just the cross bar and was ruled no goal.

The Seawolves did get their first score for sure at 5:19. Matt Anholt puts in a rebound UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski could not catch or cover a high save on Jarrett Brown’s shot, cutting UAH’s lead to 2-1.

UAA would tie an a costly turnover. The Chargers turned it over in their own zone while on the power play, and Nick Rygaard got the puck all alone in front, beating Uhelski to tie the game at 2-2 with 5:53 left in regulation.

In overtime, Salhany drove to the net, and around Anholt, beating Mantha high, for the game winner. It was Salhany’s second goal of the season. Gosselin got the assist after a steal that led to the winning play.

Uhelski finished with 14 saves.

The Chargers, after playing five of their first six series on the road, play their next three series at home over the next four weeks. UAH hosts Alaska next Friday and Saturday.