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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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Hoof Beats: Beaulieu named WCHA forward of the week

After lifting the Chargers to a Saturday win and scoring four points on the weekend, Austin Beaulieu was named the WCHA Forward of the Week on Monday.

Beaulieu had a hand in all three goals that rallied UAH from being two goals down late in the third to victory in overtime on Saturday.

Beaulieu’s tally with 3:25 remaining in regulation cut FSU’s lead to 3-2. Beaulieu made a critical interception to keep the Chargers onside, and then assisted Brandon Salerno’s game-tying goal with 11 seconds to go. Beaulieu then tipped Cam Knight’s shot to score in overtime for the 4-3 UAH win.

Beaulieu also scored a goal in UAH’s 6-5 overtime loss on Friday.

The junior from Coral Springs, Fla. has four goals and six points on the season.

New commitments: Last Monday, we looked at how UAH’s recruits have been faring in juniors during the first half of the season. Since then, the Chargers got three more commitments.

On Dec. 31, forward William Zapernick announced his commitment to join UAH in 2020. The Edmonton native is currently with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL, with 19 goals and 34 points in 36 games this season.

On Wednesday, forward Liam Izyk of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) declared his commitment to UAH. The 20-year-old forward from Strathmore, Alberta is in his third season with the Oil Barons, has five goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 31 games this year. Izyk is expected to arrive in 2019.

On Friday, defenseman Max Coyle of Tillsonsburg, Ontario announced his commitment. In 40 games this season with the Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL), Coyle has 11 points on two goals and nine assists. He is also expected to join UAH next season.

Check out our commitments page for a running list of future Charger recruits.

New announcer coming: UAH hockey will have a new play-by-play voice for the Chargers’ final six home games on FloHockey.tv.

Peyton Turnage will take over calling duties beginning with UAH’s next home game, Jan. 18 against Alaska Anchorage.

Turnage, a member of the Penalty Box Radio crew, has spent the last five years broadcasting junior hockey (Nashville Jr. Predators) and club-level college hockey, primarily Vanderbilt and the SECHC. He resides in Louisville, Ky.

Turnage takes over for Zachary Bryan, another Penalty Box Radio alum who called UAH home games online for the last three years. His final game was Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win. Bryan will be taking a new broadcasting job in Oklahoma.

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Hoof Beats: Kestner off to solid start in ECHL

Josh Kestner, who led UAH with a modern Division I-era school-record-tying 24 goals last season, is playing well in his first full pro season with the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.

The season started a little late for Kestner, who was on injured reserve, but he scored two breakaway goals in his second game back in a 3-2 loss to Brampton on Oct. 27. The Huntsville native scored seven goals in his first eight games with the Growlers. Kestner has seven assists to give him 14 points in 15 games.

Kestner signed a tryout contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies after his career at UAH ended in March. He was assigned to Newfoundland during the preseason.

Other former Chargers in the ECHL: Matt Salhany scored twice for Adirondack on Oct. 17 against Newfoundland, but spending time on injured reserve has limited his action to five games this season. He recently returned to the lineup and has already produced a goal and an assist.

Tyler Poulsen started the season on the reserve list for Rapid City. He has an assist in nine games since his return.

Also in the North American minor leagues, Cody Dion (2010-11) has three goals and five assists in 10 games for Roanoke of the SPHL.

in the big leagues, the 2018-19 season has been a struggle for Cam Talbot, who is in his coldest spell of his NHL career. The Oilers netminder has a .873 save percentage in his last six starts, all losses, allowing 23 goals. Edmonton has been playing Mikko Koskinen in goal more over Talbot, who has a 3.29 goals against average and .889 save percentage in 15 starts.

Danchenko signs NLI: The Chargers got their first player in the new signing period on Tuesday when Adrian Danchenko signed his National Letter of Intent.

Danchenko, who announced his commitment to UAH on August 25, is a forward with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the NAHL. has 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists) in 18 games this season. The Palm City, Fla., native had 12 goals in 55 regular-season games with the Knights season.

The signing period for all Division I and II sports except football and basketball started on November 14, and will go all the way to August 1, 2019.

Sinclair named WCHA goaltender of the week: UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair was named the WCHA Goaltender of the Week on Nov. 19 for his performance in the Chargers’ 3-1 win at Alaska on Nov. 16. Sinclair stopped 44 of 45 shots, the most saves in Division I that week. It was the first collegiate victory for Sinclair.

Club team update: The UAH club hockey team’s first season back since 1985 is in full swing.

The Chargers (2-5-0) began their first season in October with a two-game series against UAB at the Huntsville IcePlex. The Chargers lost 9-3 in the first game, then the Blazers rallied late to win 6-5 in the second game.

UAH played three games at the Scholar Shootout at Vanderbilt from Nov. 9-11, losing 8-1 to Michigan, winning 3-1 to Clemson, and falling 3-2 to Vanderbilt. In the Chargers’ first victory, Alex Reichle stopped 62 of 63 Clemson shots. The Chargers split a two-game series at Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 16-17, winning 5-2 and losing 6-3.

Alexander McLeod has nine goals in UAH’s last five games.

UAH’s next action is Jan. 11-12 at Auburn. The Chargers host Middle Tennessee State at the IcePlex on Feb. 15-16. The Chargers will play more home games starting next season when they join the Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference (SECHC).

For more information on the UAH Chargers club hockey team, visit uahclubhockey.com.

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Hoof Beats: Roster breakdown and pro update

The Chargers have announced the 10 newcomers to the program last week, bringing the total roster to 28 players for the 2018-19 season as preseason practice gets under way.

The newcomers feature eight freshmen and two transfers — Jake Theut from Northeastern and Jesper Öhrvall from Rensselaer — to make up for the nine players lost from last season’s team.

The roster consists of 15 forwards, 10 defensemen, and three goaltenders. The classes are somewhat balanced, with eight seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores, and eight freshmen.

The Chargers return 56 percent of points scored from last season. The top returning point scorer is senior defenseman Kurt Gosselin (16 in 2017-18). The top returning goal scorer is sophomore Christian Rajic, who had nine.

Mark Sinclair, a sophomore, is the only returning goaltender that saw action last season, posting a 3.67 goals against and .876 save percentage, but seeing improvement over the seven games he played. Theut played in two games last season for Northeastern last year.

Pro update: Here’s a rundown of where former Chargers will be applying their wares professionally this season.

Cam Talbot (2007-10) is heading into his sixth NHL season and fourth with Edmonton. Talbot is looking to rebound after posting a below-average goals against average (3.02) and save percentage (.908) last season as the Oilers missed the playoffs.

Josh Kestner (2014-18) earned a contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies after his tryout in the spring. After tying a UAH modern Division I-era record with 24 goals last season, he scored a goal in three games with the Marlies.

Tyler Poulsen (2015-18) also got a pro contract after a tryout with the ECHL’s Allen Americans. Poulsen scored a goal for the Americans after a netting 26 points in his final season with the Chargers.

Brennan Saulnier (2014-18) spent three games with the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) after scoring nine goals in his senior season at UAH. He signed with the Florida Everblades last month.

Matt Salhany (2013-17) switched ECHL teams for this season. After a goal and two assists in 20 games with South Carolina last season, Salhany signed with the Adirondack Thunder.

Carmine Guerriero (2013-17) is continuing his pro career in France, goaltending for HC Brest. Guerriero split time with five teams in the ECHL last season.

Cody Dion (2010-11) switched teams in the SPHL, signing with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dogs on Aug. 22. Dion spent the bulk of three seasons with Peoria, where he scored 12 regular-season goals and two playoff goals last season.

Cody Campbell (2008-11) is starting his seventh season with Les Ducs d’Angers in France. Last season, he started all 44 games, scoring nine goals and 29 assists for 38 points.

Matti Järvinen (2009-10) is entering his second season with Tappara in his native Finland. He had 23 points in 60 games in the regular season last year and three goals in the playoffs, helping Tappara reach the league championship series again.

Clarke Saunders (2010-12) will play his second season in Slovenia, minding the net again for HDD Jesenice. His club won the Slovenian championship last season. He had a 2.16 goals against average in the regular season and 2.12 GAA in the playoffs.

Latest commitments: The Chargers have secured two commitments for the 2019-20 season.

Adrian Danchenko is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward from Palm City, Fla. He played for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the NAHL the last two seasons, scoring 12 goals in 55 regular-season games last year. He’ll move to the USHL this season, playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Neutral Zone has Danchenko as a 3.5-star recruit, saying he “has good speed/size combo with vision. Values possession and is tough to defend.”

UAH picked up another 3.5-star goaltender in David Fessenden, who plays for the Northeast Generals of the NAHL. The Parker, Colo., native posted a 3.18 goals against average and .912 save percentage in 35 starts.

Says Neutral Zone: “Huge frame [6-foot-6, 220 pounds] and has consistently improved in the last year. Has faced adversity but has proven resilient. Still a project but has a high ceiling.”

Club team joining SECHC: The new UAH club hockey team will join the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference in the 2019-20 season.

The SECHC is primarily comprised of SEC schools with ACHA Div. III club teams (Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt), but will be expanding by at least four teams next fall. In addition to UAH, the SECHC has announced that Clemson, Florida State, and Middle Tennessee State will also be joining the league.

Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee State, Auburn, and Ole Miss are on UAH’s 2018-19 schedule.

For more information on UAH’s club team, visit uahclubhockey.com.

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2018-19 season tickets on sale now

Season tickets for the 2018-19 UAH hockey campaign are on sale now.

A lower-level, reserved-seat season ticket costs $199 for 16 home games — 14 WCHA conference games and a non-conference series against Arizona State.

FlexTix packages also return for $99. A FlexTix is a booklet of 10 coupons redeemable at the door for individual game tickets at any home game.

Last year’s season ticket holders and Blue Line Club members received renewal brochures last week. The deadline for same-seat season ticket renewals is September 1.

The Blue Line Club is the booster club of UAH hockey. Blue Line Club memberships start at $1,000 and include season tickets, VIP parking at the Von Braun Center, access to the hospitality room and special events, and a tax deduction.

Season tickets and Blue Line Club memberships can be ordered by mailing in the order form or calling 256-UAH-PUCK. Individual game tickets will be available at a later date.

The Chargers have their opening home series on Oct. 19-20 against Arizona State. Special festivities are being planned to celebrate the 40th season of ice hockey at UAH, which began with the original club team that began play in 1979.

The homecoming series is the following weekend, Oct. 26-27 against Lake Superior State to start WCHA play.