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Chargers’ special teams show the way in win over Seawolves

The Chargers’ special teams took center stage Saturday in a 6-3 win over Alaska-Anchorage.

UAH scored a pair of short-handed goals – the team’s first of the season – and a power-play goal in a four-goal second period en route to the win and a sweep of the weekend series.

“This was a shot in the arm for our special teams,” said UAH head coach Mike Corbett. “That’s where the special teams’ play is huge.”

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

It was UAH’s first series sweep of the season and the first since the 2016-17 season.

Kurt Gosselin and Hans Gorowsky each scored twice to lift the Chargers to 6-11-1 in the WCHA and 6-19-1 overall. Gosselin’s goals lift him to fourth all-time among UAH defensemen in the Division I era with 19.

Gorowsky and Gosselin each scored a short-handed and a power play goal. Gorowsky’s tally was UAH’s first short-handed goal of the season. Cam Knight had a goal and an assist for the Chargers and Jesper Ohrvall also scored. Gosselin had an assist to go with his two goals and Austin Beaulieu added two assists.

“The special teams were working together,” Gosselin said. “We watched the film and we’re able to adapt.”

The Chargers trailed 1-0 and were outshot 13-5 after the first period that more resembled the opening game of a series, instead of the second game.

“It was our typical Friday start,” Corbett said of the Chargers’ sluggish first period. “We’re lucky we weren’t down 3-0.”

Goaltender Mark Sinclair finished the game with 26 saves in posting his fourth win of the season and back-to-back victories this weekend.

It was a rare back-to-back start for the sophomore netminder but Corbett said he was up to the task.

“We felt he played well (Friday) and we needed him to play well (Saturday),” he said.

The Seawolves (1-16-1, 2-21-1) opened the scoring with a power play goal at 11:11 of the first period.

While they were sluggish in the opening period, the Chargers came out and played a solid second period.

Just three minutes into the period, Knight put a backhand shot past UAA goaltender Kristian Stead to tie the score at 1-1.

But the tie was short-lived as the Seawolves regained the lead just 42 seconds later.

With 5:02 gone in the period and UAH on the power play, Gosselin’s slap shot from the blue line evaded Stead to tie the game at 2-2.

About midway through the period with John Teets in the penalty box for cross-checking, Gorowsky took a breakout pass from Gosselin and put the puck over Stead for a 3-2 lead. It was the Chargers’ first short-handed goal of the season.

Gosselin ran the count to 4-2 with 16 seconds left in the period as he scored on a 2-on-1 break with Andrew Dodson. It was UAH’s second short-handed goal of the game and season.

“We had a good second period,” Corbett said. The Chargers outshot UAA 19-5.

“We knew we started out slow,” said Gosselin. “We figured it out between (the first and second) periods.”

After the Seawolves scored in the third to cut UAH’s lead to 4-3, Gorowsky scored an empty-netter with 1:05 left in the game. Ohrvall scored the finale with just 9.5 seconds to play for the final 6-3 count.

With the win, the Chargers are tied for eighth place in the WCHA with Alaska-Fairbanks, which hosts Bowling Green Saturday night. UAH and the Nanooks (6-10-1) each have 20 points.

The Chargers host Alaska-Fairbanks next Friday and Saturday nights.

“Fairbanks is bigger and stronger (than UAA),” Gosselin said. “We’re a hard-working team … we’ll be ready for them.”

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Chargers power way to 6-2 win over UAA

The Chargers rode a three-goal second period and three power play goals to cruise to a 6-2 win over Alaska Anchorage at the Von Braun Center on Friday.

UAH (5-19-1, 5-11-1-1 WCHA) scored six goals for the first time in nearly three years. The Chargers will go for their first sweep of the season in the rematch Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

“It’s preparation throughout the week,” said UAH senior captain Kurt Gosselin, who had a goal and two assists. “As a team we always got together after and before practice to make sure who we were focused on who we were playing and what their game plan was.

“They have a pretty simple forecheck, and we were able to counter it and get up the ice. All of our offense was from our forwards working hard and getting low. In the last couple of games, shooting the puck is where we’re getting our success.”

Alaska Anchorage fell to 2-20-1 overall and 1-15-1-0 in WCHA play.

The Chargers wanted to perform better in the first period on Fridays, trying to score the first goal and guard against defensive breakdowns.

UAH outshot Anchorage 13-8, generating a few scoring chances inside and out. And the Chargers did get that first goal, as Connor Wood put UAH up 1-0 at the 9:32 mark. Cam Knight and Adam Wilcox had the assists.

However, they allowed Nicolas Erb-Ekholm to tie it up with 2:11 left in the period.

“We started out the first 10 minutes, then they took the next five to seven, then we had the last good two to three,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “I thought it was going to be a little tighter of a game”

The Chargers really took control in the second period with three goals.

The first was by freshman Jack Jeffers, who took the team lead in goals with his sixth after a nifty move leading to a wrister to roof the puck over Carlson for a 2-1 UAH lead at 4:40. Kurt Gosselin and Madison Dunn with the assists.

UAH made it 3-1 just over a minute later, when Andrew Dodson scored his first collegiate goal. He knocked in a centering pass by Connor James, with Brandon Salerno getting the second helper.

Then some tic-tac-toe action, Bauer Neudecker to Austin Beaulieu to Hans Gorowsky, to make it 4-1 with 1:08 remaining. It was Gorowsky’s fourth goal of the season.

“Bauer Neudecker had some great patience on the half-wall, and he saw an opening to get it down to Austin Beaulieu on the goal line,” Gorowsky said. “Austin waited for his player to come to me, and I had a wide open shot. Once again, they did all the work and I got the reward.”

Gosselin added a power play goal two minutes into the third, burying a second chance effort for a 5-1 advantage. Gorowsky and Knight with the apples.

“We were able to do some things in the second period that we wanted to practice all week and it’s nice to see the guys execute,” Corbett said.

Another UAH power play goal extended its lead to 6-1, when Gorowsky put in the rebound of Gosselin’s shot from the slot for his second goal of the game. Neudecker also got the assist.

In all, 13 Chargers got points, driving home that this team uses scoring by committee.

“It’s awesome, because it makes it easier for every line,” Gorowsky said. “We expect it on this team. We don’t have any guys that are going to score 25 goals this season. We need it from all four lines.”

UAH, ranked 60th in Division I on the power play this season, finished 3-for-5 with the advantage.

“We need that (power play) to be able to get us some offense,” Corbett said. “They’re moving the puck and they’re shooting. There’s no great formula: Get the puck to the net and get some bodies to the net and we made some plays.”

“Our special teams have been getting together besides practice, going over game film, drawing it out on the board, and making sure we’re all on the same page,” Gosselin said. “Just trying to keep it simple. Our success was us sticking to our structure and getting pucks on net.”

Anchorage cut UAH’s lead to 6-2 with 4:09 to go on a goal by Carmine Buono.

With a Friday success under their belt, the Chargers need to guard against a Saturday letdown.

“This team has to learn how to finish,” Corbett said. “We’ve got to guard against tomorrow. We have the opportunity to get six points and we’ve got to take advantage of that.

“This team hasn’t been in this situation very often. I know we have a hungry group, and we’re going to make sure that they’re ready.”

“The guys should get some rest and have the same tenacity for tomorrow,” Gosselin said. “We’ve got to come out hot like we did.”

The Chargers outshot the Seawolves 32-23.

Mark Sinclair made 21 saves for the victory for UAH. Carlson made 26 saves for UAA.

Three Stars:
1. Hans Gorowsky, UAH (2 goals, 1 assist)
2. Kurt Gosselin, UAH (1 goal, 2 assists)
3. Bauer Neudecker, UAH (2 assists)

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Preview: Alaska Anchorage at UAH

Where: Propst Arena at Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala.
When: Friday, 7:07 p.m.; Saturday, 3:07 p.m.
Watch: Ticket information | FloHockey.tv (subscription required)
Promotions: Kids 12 and under can get free general admission tickets, courtesy Huntsville International Airport, at the VBC box office on game days.

Charger update: UAH (4-19-1 overall, 4-11-1-1 WCHA) had a 7-2 loss and a 1-1 tie at 18th-ranked Lake Superior State last week. The Chargers earned two WCHA points in the tie after winning the shootout.

After an awful first period in the first game Friday where they allowed six goals, the Chargers bared down the five periods after.

UAH had a 1-0 lead in the third period Saturday thanks to Madison Dunn until the Lakers tied it up with 1:57 remaining in regulation.

Goaltender Mark Sinclair had a great night Saturday, stopping 36 of 37 shots. He also played the majority of Friday’s game, relieving Jake Theut halfway through the first.

Austin Beaulieu scored on Friday to tie Jack Jeffers for the team lead with five.

“The last five periods of last weekend was pretty good for us,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “We just gained confidence every period. Hopefully we can move forward with that.”

The Chargers have started to turn things around somewhat, going 3-3-1-1 in their last seven WCHA games after a 1-8-0-0 start.

“Right now, we’re getting points every weekend,” Corbett said. “We’ve scored some goals and done some things that we were hoping what was going to happen at the start of the year.

“The buy-in of our players is exactly what we wanted it to be. We had some type of a disconnect on what was needed for us to be successful and win. Now our kids are executing that way and they’re competing a lot harder, too.”

The next two weekends are a prime opportunity for UAH to rack up some points at home. After last-place Alaska Anchorage visits the VBC this week, the Chargers host the team just ahead of them in seventh, Alaska, next week.

“We say not to talk about (the standings), but they all look at it,” Corbett said. “I want you to look at it and be hungry and make sure these next four games count at home. This is a weekend where we have to take care of our business.”

The Chargers’ penalty kill remained strong, keeping the Lakers off the scoreboard in 10 power play opportunities. UAH is now sixth in Division I and second in the WCHA at 88 percent penalty killing efficiency.

UAH 2018-19 statistics

About the Seawolves: Alaska Anchorage (2-19-1 overall, 1-14-1-0 WCHA) is in full rebuilding mode for first-year head coach Matt Curley. The Seawolves are in last place in the WCHA.

The Seawolves have had greater struggles on offense than the Chargers have, with only 24 goals in 22 games. UAA’s top goal scorers are seniors: Jeremiah Luedtke (five), Nicolas Erb-Ekholm (four) and Nils Rygaard (three).

UAA has split goaltending duties among three youngsters: Two sophomores and a freshman. Brodys Claeys has put up the best numbers in nine games, posting a 2.33 goals against average and .921 save percentage with a shutout.

Alaska Anchorage 2018-19 statistics

Series notes:
Overall: UAA leads 21-9-3 (first meeting: Dec. 7, 1987).
In Anchorage: UAA leads 15-4-0.
Trend: UAH is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings, and 7-3-2 in the last 12.
Last meeting: Jan. 12-13, 2018 in Anchorage. UAH won 4-2, UAA won 2-1.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. All WCHA home games can be seen on FloHockey.tv.

Friday, January 18
Alaska Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
#18 Lake Superior State at #6 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m. (outdoor game on Lake Bemidji)
#9 Bowling Green at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, January 19
Alaska Anchorage at UAH, 3:07 p.m.
#18 Lake Superior State at #6 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Michigan Tech at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.
#9 Bowling Green at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.