Feb 112018
 

Josh Kestner battles with Minnesota State’s Daniel Brickley. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

The Chargers have more work to do to get into the WCHA playoffs, but for now, all we can do is watch.

Despite being swept by Minnesota State this weekend, UAH remains in sixth place in the league standings as Alaska was also swept by Northern Michigan and Ferris State was idle.

The top eight make the conference playoffs, with the top four hosting best-of-3 quarterfinal series.p

UAH is off next weekend. The Chargers host Bowling Green on Feb. 23-24 to finish the regular season, looking to get back into the WCHA playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Here’s what we know about the WCHA playoff picture with two weeks left in the regular season:

  • Northern Michigan, Minnesota State, and Bowling Green have clinched home-ice in the first round. One of these three will hoist the MacNaughton Cup as regular season champion.
  • Bemidji State and Michigan Tech have clinched playoff berths. These two are battling to have home-ice in the first round.
  • UAH, Alaska, Ferris State, and Lake Superior State are battling for the last three playoff spots.
  • Alaska Anchorage is eliminated from playoff contention.

Our focus is on the Chargers, so let’s see what’s left for them and the three teams they are jostling with:

Pts Record 3/SO^ Next week Final week
6 UAH 30 9-15-2 1 Idle H vs BGSU
7 Alaska 29 9-14-1 1 A vs BSU H vs UAA
8 Ferris State 28 9-14-1 0 A vs MSU H vs LSSU
9 Lake Superior 27 8-15-3 0 Idle A vs FSU

^ 3-on-3/shootout points after ties.

During the Chargers’ off week, UAH fans should root for Bemidji State (I know, I know) over Alaska and Minnesota State over Ferris State. We don’t know what UAH needs to stay ahead of Alaska and Ferris State until those series are played.

However, we have more certainty with Lake Superior State also idle this week. We only need UAH to finish ahead of one of these teams, and with UAH and LSSU only having two games left, we know that UAH gets in with these scenarios:

  • UAH gets at least four points against Bowling Green.
  • Ferris State gets at least four points against Lake Superior.

There’s a chance UAH gets in with only three points against Bowling Green, but both games would have to be ties AND Lake Superior cannot sweep Ferris State.

UAH falls hard against No. 5 MSU

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Feb 102018
 

Minnesota State, the fifth-ranked team in the country, breathed a sign of relief after needing overtime to beat UAH on Friday and avoid a major upset.

Saturday night, the Mavericks made sure there would not be another scare at the VBC, beating the Chargers 6-1 to complete the series sweep and win their seventh straight game.

BOX SCORE

UAH (10-20-2 overall, 9-15-2 WCHA) was swept at home for the first time this season, but still sits in sixth place in the WCHA standings, one point ahead of Alaska. Alaska was swept by Northern Michigan, which maintained its one-point lead over Minnesota State (23-7-0 overall, 19-5-0 WCHA) atop the standings.

The Chargers, still looking to secure a WCHA playoff spot, have next week off before finishing the regular season at home against Bowling Green.

Minnesota State scored its first goal at the 3:57 mark, when Nicolas Rivera poked in a rebound from a Brad McClure shot.

Then with 3:39 left in the first period, on a power play resulting from a John Teets cross-checking penalty, the Mavericks made it 2-0 when Dallas Gerads scored, also on a rebound.

UAH got on the board early in the second period, shorthanded after a Brandon Parker interference penalty.

Levi Wunder got a shot in the MSU zone, and the rebound off of Connor LeCouvee slowly entered the slot. Defenseman Richard Buri won the race for the puck, and sniped it past LeCouvee at 1:01.

It was Buri’s first goal of the season and sixth goal of the senior’s UAH career. Wunder got his seventh assist.

But the Mavericks never relented, and regained their two-goal advantage just 1:44 later. Right after Parker’s penalty expired, C.J. Seuss, who scored the overtime winner on Friday, scored on a backhander from goaltender Jordan Uhelski’s doorstep made it 3-1.

Minnesota State made it 4-1 on its second power play goal of the night. Marc Michaelis, who got the game-tying goal with 2:10 left in regulation on Friday, got the score on yet another rebound off Uhelski.

MSU scored their third power play goal at 1:30 of the third period on a blast by Daniel Brickley from the point. Jared Spooner made it 6-1 with 10:32 to go.

Uhelski finished with 29 saves after being pulled at that point. Freshman Mark Sinclair had one save in relief.

Minnesota State outshot UAH 36-24.

Notes: Minnesota State ran its unbeaten streak against UAH to 26 games (22-0-4) dating back to 2002. … Michigan Tech beat Bemidji State 5-1 on Saturday, giving fifth-place Tech 40 points in the WCHA standings. That ensured UAH, which can get no more than 36 points, can finish no higher than sixth.

Mavs deny UAH upset bid in OT

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Feb 092018
 

C.J. Seuss scored 27 seconds into overtime as Minnesota State beat UAH 3-2 on Friday night at the Von Braun Center.

The fifth-ranked Mavericks (22-7-0 overall, 18-5-0 WCHA) had tied the game at 2-2 with 2:10 left in regulation to win their sixth straight game and deny the Chargers a major upset.

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

UAH (10-19-2 overall, 9-14-2 WCHA) had quickly erased a 1-0 deficit with two goals on their first two shots of the third period, looking to end a 24-game winless streak against Minnesota State dating back to 2002.

The Chargers remain in sixth place in the WCHA with Alaska’s loss to Northern Michigan, who stayed one point ahead of Minnesota State atop the league standings.

 

The series finale is Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.

The Mavericks exercised their will with the puck early on, but could not find the net despite getting the first eight shots on Jordan Uhelski.

UAH did start to get in a groove late in the first, making MSU goaltender Connor LaCouvee get to work. The Chargers, thanks in part to a late power play, were able to pull even in shots, 10-10, at the end of the period.

The Mavericks dominated possession in the second period, outshooting the Chargers 17-2. They got help from four UAH penalties, including back-to-back calls against Tyler Poulsen and Brandon Parker that put MSU up two men with over a minute.

UAH survived that surge, thanks to Uhelski. Among his 16 saves in the period included an odd-man rush with Marc Michaelis out of the box after a Charger power play, a C.J. Seuss shorthanded chance on that same power play, and denying Brad McClure, Mcihaelis, and Seuss back-to-back-to-back in a matter of seconds.

However, Uhelski could not stop them all. With 4:22 left in the second, Uhelski saved a Dallas Gerads shot, but the rebound came right to a unabated, driving Parker Tuomie in the slot. Tumoie pounced and scored for a 1-0 Minnesota State lead.

UAH came out for the third period with two goals on two shots to quickly take the lead.

Kurt Gosselin scored his fifth goal of the season at the 1:14 mark, assisted by Jordan Larson (his first point of the season) and Hans Gorowsky (his seventh helper).

At 2:35, freshman Christian Rajic beat LaCouvee from the right circle for his ninth goal of the season. Madison Dunn and Josh Kestner with the assists.

UAH tried to survive the Maverick barrage as long as they could, but MSU tied the game with 2:10 left in regulation. Parker Tuomie found Marc Michaelis in the slot, and his deflection beat Uhelski high.

That set up Seuss and his 16th goal of the season on MSU’s first shot on goal in overtime, giving the Mavericks the sigh of relief. It was the first overtime game for MSU this season.

Uhelski finished with 39 saves, the fifth straight game he has made 30 or more. UAH was outshot 42-19.

Preview: UAH vs. #5 Minnesota State

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Feb 082018
 

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

Jordan Uhelski

Jordan Uhelski makes the save against NMU. (Photo by Todd Thompson / RiverCat Photography)

Charger update: UAH (10-18-2 overall, 9-13-2 WCHA) moved back into sixth place in the WCHA standings after a series split with No. 19 Northern Michigan at the VBC last weekend.

The Chargers lost the opener 4-3 on a late goal but rebounded to win the second game 4-2.

Josh Kestner scored three goals against NMU, two in Sunday’s win, to reach 20 for the season, becoming the first Charger in 13 years to do so. He leads the WCHA in goals scored.

Tyler Poulsen also had three goals against the Wildcats, along with an assist. Poulsen has a five-game point-scoring streak, totaling seven points in this stretch.

Jordan Uhelski made 31 saves on Saturday and 34 on Sunday. He has made 30-plus saves in four straight games. His .918 save percentage in conference play is second in the WCHA, and his .913 save percentage overall is first.

UAH can clinch a WCHA playoff spot with four points or if Lake Superior gives four points in the last four games.

Players to watch:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 20 goals-6 assists-26 points in 30 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 9-14-23 in 28 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 8-6-14 in 28 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 4-10-14 in 30 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 2.81 goals against average, .913 save percentage in 25 starts)

About the Mavericks: Minnesota State (21-7-0 overall, 17-5-0 WCHA) swept Alaska Anchorage at home last week to reach the 20-win plateau for the sixth straight season. MSU moved up to fifth in both the USCHO and USA Today polls.

The Mavericks, with home ice in the first round already locked down, sit in second place in the WCHA standings, one point behind Northern Michigan. MSU has two games in hand, however.

MSU hosted UAH back on Dec. 15-16, with the Mavericks handily dispatching the Chargers 5-1 and 3-0. C.J. Seuss scored four goals as the Mavericks outshot UAH 73-31 in the series.

The Mavericks sport five of the WCHA’s top eight scorers in conference play. Seuss leads the club in goals, Zeb Knutson leads in assists, and Jake Jaremko is likely running away with this season’s WCHA Rookie of the Year award. They lead an offense that is tops in the league by over a goal per game ahead of second-place Bowling Green and Northern Michigan.

Connor LaCouvee leads the league in overall goals against average and is just behind Uhelski in save percentage. Junior Jason Pawloski has made 11 starts between the pipes with a 2.56 goals against and two shutouts.

Defenseman Daniel Brickley is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He was hurt last Saturday against Alaska Anchorage.

Players to watch:
Zeb Knutson (Sr., F, 13-20-33 in 28 GP)
C.J. Seuss (Sr., F, 15-17-32 in 28 GP, Winnipeg Jets prospect)
Jake Jaremko (Fr., F, 10-19-29 in 29 GP)
Daniel Brickley (Jr., D, 7-19-26 in 28 GP)
Connor LaCouvee (Sr., G, 1.81 GAA, .913 SV%, 3 SHO in 17 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape
(per game averages)
Minnesota State
10-18-2 Overall record 21-7-0
9-13-2 WCHA record 17-5-0
2.62 (7th) Goals/game 4.18 (1st)
3.00 (T-6th) Goals allowed/game 2.23 (T-1st)
15.9 (3rd) Penalty minutes 15.6 (5th)
17.5% (6th) Power play 28.6% (1st)
81.7% (6th) Penalty kill 84.9% (1st)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only

 

Series notes: Minnesota State leads the overall series 31-19-7. The Mavericks are 20-0-4 in the last 24 meetings against the Chargers, who last won on Jan. 4, 2002. UAH still maintains a 13-12-3 advantage in Huntsville.

Promotions: On Friday, the first 500 fans get a free UAH Hockey trading card set courtesy of Colonial Printing.

On Saturday, the first 500 fans get a free UAH Hockey team photo courtesy of SportsMED Orthopedics.

Free general admission is available to all home games, courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

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

Friday, Feb. 9
#5 Minnesota State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska at #20 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 10
#5 Minnesota State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Michigan Tech, 4:07 p.m.
Alaska at #20 Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.