Chargers explode for seven goals in upset of Bowling Green

The Chargers, playing for pride in their last series of the 2015-16 season, scored four third-period goals to beat Bowling Green 7-5 on Friday night at the Von Braun Center.

UAH (7-20-6 overall, 5-16-6 WCHA) scored seven goals for the first time since 2008, six of them against the top goaltender in the WCHA in Bowling Green’s Chris Nell.

BOX SCORE

Bowling Green (19-12-6 overall, 15-7-5 WCHA) was eliminated from the race for the MacNaughton Cup as regular season champions. The Falcons will be the third seed, hosting a first-round playoff series in the WCHA tournament.

Bowling Green scored first at only the 1:47 mark, when Kevin Dufour scored for his third straight game. He put in a rebound past UAH goaltender Matt Larose off a Scott Walker shot from the point.

The Falcons had the first five shots on goal, but then somehow UAH went on a burst, scoring three unanswered goals on just eight shots.

The first came at 7:03, when the captain, Brent Fletcher, took the puck behind the net, wrapping around Nell’s right and scored his fourth goal of the season. He was assisted by Regan Soquila.

Then Soquila gave the Chargers the lead at 9:53, when on a delayed penalty call (a slash by Dufour), deflecting a Brandon Carlson shot past Nell while camped in front. Adam Wilcox also assisted on Soquila’s third goal of the season.

Almost five minutes later, UAH made it 3-1. Hans Gorowsky, on a two-on-one with Jetlan Houcher, beat Nell stick-side from the slot for his second goal. Chad Brears was credited with his ninth assist. That’s how the first period ended.

The second period was all Falcons, who awakened with three unanswered goals of their own to retake the lead.

Again, BG struck quickly, this time at 1:31, as Tyler Spezia rushes down the left side and beats Larose five hole to cut UAH’s lead to 3-2.

Following a Carlson hooking penalty, the Falcons tied the game on the power play with 6:49 remaining in the period. In a scramble in front of the net, Stephen Baylis, while being taken down, somehow put the puck in. While the goal light went on, the officials did not see it, but called a goal following a lengthy video review.

Bowling Green took a 4-3 lead with 1:42 left in the 2nd, as Brandon Hawkins sniped one past Larose from between the top of the circles.

The Falcons outshot the Chargers 15-4 in the period.

So if UAH’s first period was good and its second period was bad, what about the third period?

Fabulous. The Chargers scored four times.

Matt Salhany got things started, picking Adam Smith’s pocket and turned on the jets for a breakaway, scoring at the 8:13 mark to tie the game at 4-4.

After a scramble in the UAH net that lead to another review of a potential Bowling Green goal — this time no — the Chargers got another power play. Josh Kestner‘s one-timer from the left circle gave UAH the lead again at 5-4 with 8:53 left. Cam Knight made the pass from the right point to set up Kestner’s sixth goal of the season, and Jack Prince got the secondary assist.

A minute 20 later, Max McHugh scored his seventh goal of the season, taking the puck from center ice and beating Nell stick side, to make it 6-4 Chargers.

Bowling Green would get one back with 4:42 left on a goal by Sean Walker.

The Falcons pulled Nell for the extra attacker with 1:43 left and on the power play (after a boarding penalty on Kestner). But after the power play was killed, Kestner was able to sink the empty-net goal, his second of the game, for the final 7-5 result.

Seven goals, despite UAH being outshot 32-20 for the game. The last time UAH scored seven goals in a game was Feb. 1, 2008, also a 7-5 win at Robert Morris. That was also the last time the Chargers scored four goals in a period.

Larose had 27 saves in the contest, while Nell only stopped 13 of 19.

The season finale is Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. at the Von Braun Center. Four UAH seniors will be honored before the game.

Series Preview: vs. Bowling Green, March 4-5

CATCHING THE GAMES
Friday, March 4, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free UAH Hockey trading cards
Saturday, March 5, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get UAH space capsules
Kids 12-under get free gen. admission to both games
Team statistics: UAH | Bowling Green

UAH will finish off the 2015-16 season at the Von Braun Center this weekend against Bowling Green.

On Friday, the first 500 fans receive a free set of UAH Hockey trading cards. On Saturday, the first 500 fans receive a free UAH space capsule, courtesy of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Kids 12 and under get free admission to both games.

Saturday is also Senior Night, as Anderson White, Frank Misuraca, Chad Brears, and Jack Prince will play their final college games.

Matchup history: Bowling Green is 16-3-1 all time against the Chargers, including a 6-2-0 record in Huntsville. The two UAH wins at the VBC came in 2000. Earlier this season, Bowling Green swept the Chargers in Ohio, winning 3-2 in overtime and 4-3.

Charger recap: UAH (6-20-6 overall, 4-16-6 WCHA) went up to Bemidji State last week, looking to keep alive slim WCHA playoff chances.

On Friday, Madison Dunn scored late in the second period, but the Beavers tied the game with 7:34 left in the third. The Chargers had a power play and a penalty shot in overtime but could not find the winning goal as the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

On Saturday, Bemidji State scored three in the first period and took a 4-0 lead in the second, cruising to a 6-2 victory and officially ending UAH’s playoff hopes. Brandon Parker and Dunn scored the UAH goals.

Matt Larose played both games in goal, stopping 36 of 37 shots on Friday, and making 31 saves on Saturday.

LEADING SCORERS: Max McHugh (So., 6-15–21, 32 GP), Chad Brears (Sr., 9-8–17, 28 GP), Brennan Saulnier (So., 6-11–17, 28 GP), Brandon Parker (So., 3-9–12, 32 GP), Jetlan Houcher (Fr., 4-5–9, 25 GP), Matt Salhany (Jr., 3-6–9, 31 GP), Kurt Gosselin (Fr., 2-7–9, 25 GP)

GOALTENDING: Carmine Guerriero (Jr., 3.10 GAA, .904 SV%, 17 GP), Matt Larose (Jr., 2.44 GAA, .926 SV%, 16 GP)

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
Bowling Green
6-20-6 Overall record 19-11-6
4-16-6 (10th) WCHA record 15-6-5 (T-2nd)
2.06 (9th) Goals/game 2.67 (T-2nd)
3.00 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.11 (2nd)
13.3 (3rd) Pen. minutes/game 9.8 (10th)
10.9% (9th) Power play 15.2% (4th)
82.6% (7th) Penalty kill 85.2% (6th)

About the Falcons: Bowling Green  (19-11-6 overall, 15-6-5 WCHA) is playing for a WCHA regular-season championship this weekend. The Falcons enter the final series of the regular season two points behind Minnesota State in the race for the MacNaughton Cup. They are tied with Michigan Tech in second place.

BG has won three straight after losing four of five. Last week, the Falcons swept Ferris State 4-3 and 6-2.

Chris Nell has become the best goaltender in the WCHA in his sophomore season. He leads the conference with a 1.82 goals against average (5th in Division I) and a .933 save percentage (4th in Division I), and was recently named a Mike Richter Award nominee last week for the nation’s best goaltender.

Mark Cooper’s 24 points is tied for 6th in the conference, and his 14 goals are tied for second. Sean Walker and Mark Friedman (Flyers prospect) are tied for 6th in assists with 16. Mitch McLain is on a roll, scoring two goals and two assists against Ferris State to earn WCHA Offensive Player of the Week honors. Kevin Dufour had three goals against Ferris to increase his total to 12 on the season.

LEADING SCORERS: Mark Cooper (Sr., 14-10–24, 36 GP), Matt Pohlkamp (Jr., 7-15–22, 36 GP), Brandon Hawkins (So., 10-10–20, 35 GP), Mark Friedman (So., 4-16–20, 36 GP), Sean Walker (Jr., 3-16–19, 36 GP), Kevin Dufour (Jr., 12-6–18, 34 GP)

GOALTENDING: Chris Nell (So., 1.82 GAA, .933 SV%, 31 GP), Tommy Burke (Sr., 2.88 GAA, .896 SV%, 7 GP)

Around the WCHA: 

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

Friday, March 4
Bowling Green at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #13 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at #16 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, March 5
Bowling Green at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #13 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at #16 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska Anchorage at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Hoof Beats: Four seniors to be honored in season finale

2015-16 Seniors

Jack Prince, Anderson White, Frank Misuraca, and Chad Brears finish their UAH careers this weekend. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

They committed to UAH when the hockey program was an independent with an uncertain future. This weekend, they will skate off the Von Braun Center ice one final time as Chargers, finishing their four-year odyssey.

Chad Brears, Frank Misuraca, Jack Prince, and Anderson White will be honored Saturday for Senior Night as the Chargers finish the 2015-16 season. UAH will host Bowling Green on Friday and Saturday, each game starting at 7:07 p.m.

Brears, an alternate captain from Cold Lake, Alberta, leads this year’s team with nine goals, and is tied for second with 17 points. In 124 career games at UAH, he has 19 goals and 25 assists for 44 points. A three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and two-time WCHA All-Academic, Brears was the WCHA’s Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year for 2013-14.

Misuraca, another alternate captain from Clinton Township, Michigan, has a goal and four assists this season. The defenseman has 30 assists in 126 career games. Of his 11 UAH goals, the most memorable is his blast from the right point with four seconds left in overtime at Bowling Green in 2013, giving the Chargers their first WCHA victory. Two-time WCHA All-Academic Team.

Prince, a forward from Leicester, England, has played 102 games for the Chargers, scoring 13 goals and 22 assists. He lead the 2013-14 squad with eight goals and 13 points, and last year was on Great Britain’s national team at the World Championships in the Netherlands. Named to the WCHA All-Academic Team for 2014-15.

White, a defenseman from Caledon, Ontario, has played in 72 games for UAH, scoring four assists. White was named a WCHA Scholar Athlete three times and was named to the WCHA All-Academic Team twice.

This week’s festivities: The final home series of the season is presented by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

On Friday, the first 500 fans receive the final set of UAH hockey trading cards. On Saturday, the first 500 fans get UAH hockey space capsules.

Kids 12 and under get free general admission, courtesy Huntsville International Airport.

The Blue Line Club lunch will take place Friday at noon at the Varsity Room of Spragins Hall. Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron and the UAH coaching staff will be there to talk about this week’s series. Lenny’s Subs will be catering.

Commit for ’17: The Chargers got a verbal commitment on Monday from Christian Rajic, a forward for the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

The Oakville, Ontario native will play for UAH starting in the 2017-18 season. Rajic has 61 points in 42 games this season with the Blades, good for 12th in the OJHL.

For more information on future Chargers, visit the Commitments page.

Chargers eliminated with 6-2 loss at Bemidji State

There will officially be no postseason for the Chargers, who lost 6-2 to Bemidji State in Minnesota on Saturday.

UAH (6-20-6 overall, 4-16-6 WCHA), on a seven-game winless streak, will wrap up the 2015-16 season next week at home against Bowling Green. Next Saturday night will be Senior Night.

BOX SCORE

Bemidji State (15-13-6 overall, 10-11-5 WCHA) punched a ticket to the WCHA playoffs Friday, and sit in sole possession of sixth place.

The Beavers took control at the opening bell, scoring just 11 seconds in as John Parker drove down the right side of the Charger zone and beat goaltender Matt Larose high.

UAH regrouped and found some offensive pressure of their own, peppering BSU netminder Michael Bitzer with a few shots on goal, but that was the most the Chargers could muster in the first period.

With 5:53 left in the period, UAH’s Madison Dunn tripped BSU’s Kyle Bauman in the neutral zone, giving the Beavers a power play. A quick turnover gave Matt Salhany a shorthanded breakaway. Salhany, who missed a penalty shot on Friday, hit the post.

After that, it all fell apart for UAH.

The Beavers then converted their power play for a 2-0 lead. Gerry Fitzgerald scored on a one-timer blast from the left point.

Then with 49.6 seconds left in the first, Brennan Saulnier leveled Graeme McCormack without the puck in the corner of the Bemidji zone. Saulnier got a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct — Saulnier’s fourth misconduct or game misconduct of the season.

BSU scored on the major power play just 17 seconds in, with Myles Fitzgerald making it 3-0 after one.

The Beavers tacked another on the power play at 3:41 of the second for a 4-0 lead. John Parker’s second goal of the night from the slot.

Brandon Parker gets UAH on the board at the halfway point of the game, scoring his third goal of the season from the right circle. Jack Prince got his fifth assist of the year on the play, and Brandon Carlson got his first helper.

But Bemidji State regained the four-goal lead with Myles Fitzgerald’s second goal of the game, driving to the net right from the draw with 4:03 left in the second.

Madison Dunn scored UAH’s second goal with 13:30 left, taking the puck bounced off the boards behind the Bemidji net and scoring from the slot to cut BSU’s lead to 5-2.

UAH had a chance to make it interesting with a power play with under 10 minutes to go, but Bemidji State capitalized on a 2-on-1 shorthanded opportunity to put the game away for good. Charlie O’Connor had the final goal.

The Beavers outshot UAH 38-17, and went 3-for-7 on the power play. Larose made 32 saves, while Bitzer stopped 15 for BSU.

The long-shot path to the playoffs for UAH

This probably calls for your favorite “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” meme.

Following UAH’s 1-1 tie at Bemidji State on Friday night, along with both Alaska and Alaska Anchorage losing, the Chargers still have a chance to make the WCHA playoffs, but a lot of things have to go their way.

WCHA Standings (3 games left) W-L-T Pts
8. Alaska Anchorage 8-15-2 18
9. Alaska 6-15-4 16
10. UAH 4-15-6 14

For the Chargers to make the postseason, the following must happen:

  • UAH beats Bemidji State tonight
  • Alaska loses to Michigan Tech tonight
  • Alaska Anchorage loses to Minnesota State tonight
  • UAH sweeps Bowling Green next week
  • Alaska takes exactly three points from Alaska Anchorage next week

This would put UAH in eight place with 20 points, with Alaska and Alaska Anchorage tied at 19 points. The Chargers won’t be able to take any tiebreakers, so they must have more points outright. Alaska Anchorage has the tiebreaker edge over UAH with its 2-1-1 record over the Chargers this season, and in the event of a three-way tie, UAA will have more conference wins.

Meanwhile, the race for the MacNaughton Cup is getting interesting between Minnesota State, Michigan Tech, and Bowling Green. For more on all the WCHA races, visit The WCHA Playoff Prediction Blog.