Hoof Beats: Chargers sport five jerseys, including ’96 throwbacks

The UAH locker room at the Von Braun Center, displaying the five sweaters the Chargers will wear this season.

The UAH locker room at the Von Braun Center, displaying the five sweaters the Chargers will wear this season. (Photo by UAH Athletics)

UAH revealed the jerseys the Chargers will wear in the 2015-16 season in a photo of their Von Braun Center locker room on Tuesday.

The Chargers will wear five different sweaters this season:

  • Home white: A couple of alterations were made to the white jerseys the Chargers wore the last two seasons. The shoulder yoke is now blue, and the blue stripe on the sleeve and waist is thicker.
  • Road blue: Unchanged.
  • Alternate gray: Unchanged.
  • Alternate black: Black version of the road sweater, with a blue shoulder yoke like  the one on the home white.
  • Throwback: For the first time in program history, the Chargers will wear throwback jerseys. These are the home whites to honor the 20th anniversary of the 1995-96 NCAA Division II national champions.

Michael’s opinion: The home whites look better simply because there is more blue, but I still think there’s too much black with “UAH” and the player number for my taste. I’m thrilled we still have the glorious road blues, because I don’t care much for the alternate blacks at all, although I bet I’m in the minority.

The 1996 Division II national champions. (Photo by UAH Athletics)

The 1996 Division II national champions. (Photo by UAH Athletics)

The throwbacks honoring the 1995-96 Chargers aren’t exact replicas. The throwbacks have the red stripe on the waste along the bottom of the sweater, whereas it was sandwiched between blue stripes in the original. The holes in the word “Alabama” were filled in with red 20 years ago, but not in the throwback (this is an improvement, in my opinion). Also, the number and “C”/”A” on the front suggest the throwback will have the same font as the other current jerseys, not the font from the original. Still, it’s great to see the effort to honor the undefeated national champions in this way. It should stir great memories for longtime UAH fans.

Guerriero on CHN’s All-America team: College Hockey News named UAH’s Carmine Guerriero to its preseason All-America team on Tuesday. The junior was selected as the second-team goaltender.

“Had a .927 save percentage last season while facing more shots per minute than any goaltender in the country. Edges out [Michigan Tech’s] Jamie Phillips and [Boston College’s] Thatcher Demko, who had offseason hip surgery and may miss the early part of the season.”

Chargers on TV: UAH’s home game with Alaska on Jan. 8 will be televised by American Sports Network, select affiliates of the Sinclair Networks Group and on several regional sports networks around the country.

The game is one of two WCHA contests ASN will broadcast as part of a deal to televise 30 college hockey games this season. The deal also includes Hockey East, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and ECAC Hockey.

UAH picked to finish 8th in WCHA preseason polls

At least the Chargers are expected to make the playoffs this time.

The WCHA preseason coaches and media polls were released during the league’s media teleconference Monday, and UAH finished eighth in both polls.

“We’re still building our foundation, but I like what our foundation is right now,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “We brought in a few extra players to bring depth to our program.

“As for the polls, they’re great. They’re motivational. They’re going up on our board, and we’re going to continue to use them as motivation. Respect is something you’ve got to earn day to day. We did some nice things last year, but now we’ve got to earn it all over again.”

The Chargers were picked to finish last in their first two seasons in the WCHA. UAH did finish last in 2013-14, but finished eighth last season to earn its first WCHA playoff berth, where the Chargers swept at Michigan Tech in two games. The first game was three-overtime thriller, won by the Huskies 1-0 as Carmine Guerriero made a WCHA-record 76 saves.

Guerriero did receive a vote in each poll for preseason all-WCHA. “He’s the guy who carried the load last year,” Corbett said. “With our added depth and the experience the players have gotten in our league, he doesn’t have to make 40 (saves) a night, but the great thing for us is we know he can.”

In the coaches poll, Minnesota State was the clear favorite to win the MacNaughton Cup again, getting eight first-place votes. Bowling Green and Michigan Tech got each of the other two first-place votes.

Minnesota State also took first in the media poll, but did not get a majority. The Mavericks had 12, Michigan Tech had nine, and Bowling Green got eight.

UAH opens the season on Oct. 9-10 at Propst Arena against Connecticut. The WCHA schedule begins two weeks later at home against Alaska Anchorage.

2015-16 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Minnesota State (8) 89
2. Bowling Green (1) 79
3. Michigan Tech (1) 78
4. Bemidji State 61
5. Alaska 55
6. Ferris State 51
7. Northern Michigan 49
8. UAH 29
9. Alaska Anchorage 27
10. Lake Superior State 22

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: Tyler Morley, Alaska
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year: Corey Mackin, Ferris State
Preseason All-WCHA Team:
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State

Carmine Guerriero received one vote for Preseason All-WCHA.

2015-16 Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Media Poll

Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Minnesota State (12) 265
2. Michigan Tech (9) 263
3. Bowling Green (8) 250
4. Bemidji State 184
5. Alaska 164
6. Ferris State 142
7. Northern Michigan 138
8. UAH 88
9. Lake Superior State 54
10. Alaska Anchorage 47

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year: Stephen Baylis, Bowling Green
Preseason All-WCHA Team:
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State

Carmine Guerriero received one vote for Preseason WCHA Player of the Year. Jetlan Houcher received one vote for Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year. Guerriero and Max McHugh each received one vote for Preseason All-WCHA.

Geof Morris and Michael Napier of UAHHockey.com voted in the media poll. Here are our ballots:

Geof’s ballot:

  1. Bowling Green
  2. Minnesota State
  3. Michigan Tech
  4. UAH
  5. Alaska
  6. Bemidji State
  7. Northern Michigan
  8. Ferris State
  9. Lake Superior State
  10. Alaska Anchorage

Player of the Year: Carmine Guerriero, UAH
Newcomer of the Year: Stephen Baylis, Bowling Green
Preseason All-WCHA:
G Carmine Guerriero, UAH
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Max McHugh, UAH
F Teddy Blueger, Minnesota State

Michael’s ballot:

  1. Michigan Tech
  2. Bowling Green
  3. Minnesota State
  4. Bemidji State
  5. Alaska
  6. Northern Michigan
  7. UAH
  8. Ferris State
  9. Lake Superior State
  10. Alaska Anchorage

Player of the Year: Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
Newcomer of the Year: Brett Boeing, Michigan Tech
Preseason All-WCHA:
G Jamie Phillips, Michigan Tech
D Shane Hanna, Michigan Tech
D Casey Nelson, Minnesota State
F Tyler Morley, Alaska
F Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F Bryce Gervais, Minnesota State

More from Mike Corbett on the media teleconference:

  • On defense: “On defense, we played three freshman most of the year. Frank Misuraca had a breakout season. We’re going to have some good legs back there and be able to move the puck a little bit more, and not weather as many storms as we’ve had to the past couple of years.”
  • On offense: “Up front, we’re led by Max McHugh, a sophomore. He made the all-rookie team last year. He’s come back we feel a step faster and stronger. Our scoring, everyone is going to have to chip in, and Max is one who’s going to be skating against others’ top lines most nights. I like the kids we have up front. I think we’re going to be able to score a few more goals.”
  • On recruiting: “We’re not the sexiest program out there. We know that. We might not get a lot of help from junior coaches. But there’s plenty of players out there. And more than anything, getting kids who are up to the challenge of building this program. It’s easy to put on the jersey. It’s not easy to build a program and be the underdog every day. It’s not easy to get disrespected a lot of times. You’ve got to get strong mental kids who have that fire in their eyes, and I think we’ve got that with the kids that are coming in.”
  • On impact freshmen: “I think the guy who comes in with the pedigree is Jetlan Houcher, who scored 85 goals in juniors. He’s more of a shooter, and I think we’re going to be able to put Jetlan in a position to do what he does. We still have room on the depth chart to do that right now. With as many freshmen as we have, part of our recruiting was giving them the opportunity to be the players they want to be. Kurt Gosselin … is going to be able to add offense to the backline for us. When the puck is kicked low to high, he’s going to be able to make plays. He’s going to be able to improve our power play and help our offense 5-on-5.”

Hoof Beats: Talbot traded, joins Woodcroft in Edmonton

Cam Talbot

Cam Talbot has been traded to the Edmonton Oilers. (Photo by David Washburn)

Moving from the Big Apple to the City of Champions, Cam Talbot will get his chance to be a No. 1 starter in the NHL.

The former charger goaltender was traded by the New York Rangers to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, during the second round of the NHL Draft. The Rangers, which also sent Edmonton the 209th selection (28th pick of the seventh round), received three picks from the Oilers: No. 57 (second round), No. 79 (third), and No. 184 (seventh).

Talbot played in 36 regular-season games for the Rangers last season, but really showed his worth as New York’s top goaltender while filling in for the injured Henrik Lundqvist in February and March. Talbot posted a 2.21 goals against average and a .926 save percent, both ranking fourth in the NHL. He did not see any playoff action while Lundqvist and the Rangers reached the Eastern Conference final.

The Oilers are rebuilding as the finished with the second-worst record in the Western Conference last season. Talbot should help between the pipes after Edmonton finished last in the NHL with an .888 save percentage and 3.37 goals allowed per game.

Talbot will be reunited with another UAH alumnus in Edmonton. Jay Woodcroft (’00), a member of the 1998 NCAA Division II national champions and who recently was on the San Jose Sharks’ coaching staff, was named an assistant coach with the Oilers on Thursday.

Talbot tweeted about the trade on Sunday:

Briere joining Leafs’ staff: Steve Briere, who was a goaltender for the Chargers from 1997-2000, was named the goaltending coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 45 games for UAH, Briere posted a 2.81 goals against average, fourth on the Chargers’ all-time list. His .900 save percentage is seventh all-time. Briere was named second-team All-College Hockey America in the 1999-2000 season, and as a backup played 12 games for the 1998 NCAA Division II national champions.

Briere was an assistant on the UAH staff when the Chargers won the 2007 CHA championship. He is the owner and head instructor of Canadian Professional Goalie Schools.

New play-by-play announcer: Zachary Bryan will be the voice of the hockey Chargers on WCHA.tv this coming season.

Bryan was the play-by-play announcer for Vanderbilt’s club team for the last two seasons in coordination with Penalty Box Radio. He is the news director at WAKM-AM radio in Franklin, Tenn.

Danton Cole to coach U.S. juniors: USA Hockey on June 17 announced that former UAH coach Danton Cole is on the coaching staff for the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2016 World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland. Cole, Chris Chelios, and Kevin Reiter will assist head coach Ron Wilson.

Cole was the Chargers’ head coach from 2007-10, leading UAH to the College Hockey America tournament title and an NCAA tournament berth in 2010. He has been with USA Hockey for five years, leading the U.S. Under-18 Team to gold medals in the U-18 World Championships in 2012 and 2014.

Hoof Beats: Brears named WCHA’s outstanding scholar-athlete

Chad Brears

Photo by Jazzmine Jordan

UAH forward Chad Brears was named the WCHA Outstanding Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Wednesday.

Brears, a sophomore from Cold Lake, Alberta, had a 4.0 grade point average while majoring in mechanical engineering and balancing hockey, travel, and school. He was second on the team in goals with six and scored 10 points on the season.

The award is voted on by the conference’s faculty athletics representatives.

Several other Chargers excelled in the classroom this season and were named to the WCHA All-Academic Team. They are: Joakim Broberg, Brandon Carlson, Alexander Carpenter, Brandon Clowes, Brent Fletcher, Brice Geoffrion, Mat Hagen, Jamie Kendra, Matt Larose, Cody Marooney, Frank Misuraca, Craig Pierce, Doug Reid, Ben Reinhardt, Matt Salhany, Wade Schools, Regan Soquila, Jeff Vanderlugt, and Anderson White. To make the All-Acdemic Team, athletes must have spent a year of residency at the university and maintain a 3.0 grade point average or above over the past two semesters.

Here are the complete WCHA postseason awards.

Boomer talks Chargers: UAH hockey was the subject of a recent CBS Sports Minute on CBS Sports Radio. Here is the audio with former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason talking about the Chargers:


Talbot and Russell: Cameron Talbot is the backup goaltender on the New York Rangers. Wyatt Russell is an actor who is slated to play Bobby Orr in the upcoming movie “Turk.” In Huntsville, both were vying for the Chargers’ starting goalie job. The two competitors and friends are the subject of an article Wednesday in nhl.com.

Around the WCHA: It’s playoff time! The action starts late tonight with Game 1 between Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska in Fairbanks. The other three best-of-3 quarterfinal series start Friday.

Here is the schedule (all times Central):

No. 8 Bemidji State at No. 1 Ferris State
Game 1 Friday, 6:07 p.m.; Game 2 Saturday, 6:07 p.m.; Game 3 Sunday (if necessary), 4:07 p.m.

No. 7 Northern Michigan at No. 2 Minnesota State
Game 1 Friday, 7:07 p.m.; Game 2 Saturday, 7:07 p.m.; Game 3 Sunday (if necessary), 7:07 p.m.

No. 6 Alaska-Anchorage at No. 3 Alaska
Game 1 Thursday, 10:07 p.m.; Game 2 Friday, 10:07 p.m.; Game 3 Saturday (if necessary), 10:07 p.m.

No. 5 Michigan Tech at No. 4 Bowling Green
Game 1 Friday, 6:07 p.m.; Game 2 Saturday, 6:07 p.m.; Game 3 Sunday (if necessary), 6:07 p.m.

All first round games are available on a subscription basis on America One. The four winners will meet at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. for the WCHA Final Five. The semifinals are March 21 and the Broadmoor Trophy championship is March 22. The Final Five can be seen on Fox College Sports Central.