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Late goal allows Alaska to force split with UAH

The Alaska Nanooks scored with 1:18 remaining on Saturday for a 2-1 win over the Chargers in Fairbanks, forcing a split in the two-game WCHA series.

UAH goaltender Jake Theut made 43 saves in his best outing for UAH, which fell to 1-11-0 overall and 1-5-0 in WCHA play.

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Alaska improved to 2-8-2 overall and 2-3-1 in the WCHA, moving up to seventh in the standings with eight points. The Chargers are in ninth with three points from yesterday’s 3-1 win.

The first period was very similar to Friday’s first period, with the Nanooks coming out aggressive with the puck and racking up some shots on goal to test Theut, who was making his first start since Oct. 20.

UAF outshot UAH 17-9 in the frame, and took a 1-0 lead with 8:55 left in the period, as Tristan Thompson drove into the UAH zone and beat Theut high from the left circle.

UAH tied the game with 3:33 remaining in the first. On a 5-on-3 power play, Connor James blasted his second goal of the season from the deep slot, assisted by Madison Dunn and John Teets.

The Chargers had a better second period, also just like Friday, outshooting the Nanooks 11-9. But UAH had to withstand a dicey situation around the halfway point after Cam Knight was assessed a double minor penalty for hooking.

UAH continued its strong penalty kill, and withstood the onslaught. Theut made three saves, got help from the post, and then made a big stop sliding right to left on a shot by Chris Jandric after the Alaska power play ended.

The Chargers, who came into the series ranked 11th in penalty kill, held the Nanooks to 0-for-6 on the power play for the game and 0-for-11 for the series.

The end result was a scoreless second period.

With under seven minutes to go in the third period, UAH may have dodged a bullet. Sam Ruffin poked in a rebound that trickled under Theut’s right pad, but the officials lost sight of the puck and waved it off. They reviewed it and the call stood.

However, the Nanooks would get the last laugh after all, when Steve Jandric’s blast from the right circle beat Theut with 1:18 left in regulation.

The Chargers will be off again next weekend before hosting Bowling Green at the VBC on Dec. 1-2.

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Sinclair, Chargers finally get their first wins

The Chargers finally get their first victory of the season. And Mark Sinclair finally gets the first win of his collegiate career.

Sinclair was phenomenal, making 44 saves in UAH’s 3-1 win over Alaska in Fairbanks on Friday.

UAH improved to 1-10-0 overall and 1-4-0 in the WCHA. Sinclair, a sophomore, was playing well this season but came into tonight with an 0-12-0 record at UAH.

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Alaska dropped to 1-8-2 overall and 1-3-1 in WCHA play. The Chargers and Nanooks play again Saturday night at 10:07 p.m. CST at the Carlson Center.

UAH also got enough offense when they urgently needed it.

The Chargers took an early 1-0 lead when Jack Jeffers scored from the slot as a puck bounced off the back boards right to him all alone. It was Jeffers’ third goal of the season, assisted by Jesper Ohrvall and Christian Rajic, at the 4:35 mark.

It was only the second lead of the season for the Chargers, but it didn’t last long. Just over 10 minutes later, Alaska tied it up as Tristan Thompson’s shot from the left point deflecting off of Kylar Hope’s skate in the slot. The deflection plus the screen tied up Sinclair, which is what it took to score against him Friday.

Despite the 1-1 score after the first period, it was the Nanooks who had the majority of chances, outshooting the Chargers 14-2.

The Chargers were more aggressive offensively in the second period, and they regained the lead at 2-1 with 8:37 left.

After winning the faceoff in the defensive zone, the Chargers put together an offensive rush. Connor Merkley from the slot passed to Bauer Neudecker in the right circle, and Neudecker threaded the needle between the crossbar and Alaska goaltender Anton Martinsson for his first collegiate goal and point.

Merkley and John Teets, a Fairbanks native, notched his second assist of the season.

UAH extended its lead to 3-1 at 1:25 of the third period. Austin Beaulieu, tied up in the right corner of the offensive zone, backhanded the puck to the slot, where Madison Dunn received it all alone. Dunn beat Martinsson five-hole for his second goal of the season.

The rest was up to Sinclair, who withstood everything the Nanooks could throw at him. Twenty of his 44 saves came in the third period, from deflecting Chris Jandric’s shot from the left side off the post, to stopping Kylar Hope’s breakaway.

Martinsson finished with 17 saves for UAF.

Header file photo by Doug Eagan/UAH Athletics

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UAH can’t stop slide in another loss to Tech

The Chargers played a stronger game in the series finale with Michigan Tech, but their first victory eluded them again as their scoring woes continued.

Michigan Tech defeated UAH 4-1 Saturday at the Von Braun Center, dropping the Chargers to 0-10-0 overall on the season and 0-4-0 in WCHA play.

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The Chargers will get an off week after starting the season with five straight series. Their next action is against Alaska, also currently winless at 0-7-1, in Fairbanks on Nov. 16-17.

The Huskies improved to 3-3-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the WCHA. They didn’t dominate possession like they did in their 2-1 win on Friday, outshooting the Chargers by a slimmer margin at 29-23.

However, the Chargers mustered only one late goal, and have only scored nine goals in their 10 games.

The first period was relatively quiet, with the closest either team came to scoring was during the Michigan Tech power play. UAH goalie Mark Sinclair lost sight of the puck after a shot sent it into the air. A Husky had poked the puck past Sinclair, but a referee, having also lost sight of the puck, blew the whistle to end play beforehand.

Michigan Tech scored the first goal 47 seconds into the second period. Jake Lucchini made a drop pass to Keegan Ford, who blasted the puck from the right point, beating Sinclair high stick side.

After Connor Merkley was called for a delay of game penalty for a faceoff violation, the Huskies struck again. Lucchini found the net from the left side for a 2-0 Tech lead with 12:33 left in the second.

The Chargers had a strong power play following, with three shots on goal, but Tech goaltender Matt Jurusik was there to stop them all.

Jurusik was also there to stop Madison Dunn’s shot on a two-on-none shorthanded opportunity to keep UAH off the board.

The Huskies started the third period with a power play after a Christian Rajic slashing penalty with one second left in the second, and they used it to make it 3-0. Sinclair couldn’t stop Grayson Reitmeier’s deflection in the slot of a Seamus Donohue shot up the middle.

UAH avoided the shutout with 5:53 remaining on just its second power play goal of the season. Hans Gorowsky found Madison Dunn from the right circle to the right doorstep of Jurusik, and Dunn buried it for his first goal of the season. John Teets also netted his first assist.

It was just the second power play goal of the season for UAH in 40 opportunities.

Lucchini scored an empty net goal with 12 seconds to go after Sinclair (25 saves) was pulled for one final push.

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Slow Start Proves Fatal for Chargers in Loss to Michigan Tech

Another slow start spelled doom for the Chargers.

UAH, now winless in nine games to open the season, mustered just 3 shots on goal in the first period while goaltender Mark Sinclair kicked away or gloved 19 Michigan Tech scoring attempts Friday night.

And, despite Sinclair’s heroics – he finished with 38 saves – the Chargers (0-9-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) fell 2-1 to the Huskies (2-3-0, 1-0-0). The two teams renew their series Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. Faceoff is 7:07.

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“We can’t keep doing this,” UAH Head Coach Mike Corbett said of his team’s penchant for slow starts. “You run out of gas early when you need to sustain it at the end.”

The Chargers, though, weren’t ever out of the game, according to the scoreboard. No matter that they outshot UAH 40-17, the Huskies couldn’t put UAH away.

Thanks to Sinclair.

“He kept us in the game,” Corbett said. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”

Sinclair, who has a sparkling 2.53 goals-against average and .926 save percentage despite a 0-6-0 record, credited his defensemen for his success.

“The guys gave me good looks,” he said.

As much as he credited the defense, Sinclair was stellar on his own.

A little more than 3 minutes into the game, he stopped Tech’s Gavin Gould, who was all alone at the goalie’s doorstep.

Less than a minute later with UAH on the power play, Sinclair came up big to turn back a shorthanded two-man breakaway.

Sinclair turned into a wall again, this time with about 4 minutes left in the game, when he made a big save on another breakaway.

It was like that most of the night – except when the Huskies put the puck past Sinclair.

Justin MIsiak broke the scoreless tie about 2 minutes into the second period and then, with about 5 minutes gone, Colin Swoyer scored on a wrist shot to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

The Chargers made the score 2-1 when Brandon Salerno put a wrister into the net 11:03 into the period.

The goal seemed to lift the Chargers as they kept buzzing around the net, trying to get the game-tying goal.

However, they weren’t able to maintain a constant pressure to tie the game.

“We have to learn how to come out strong early,” Corbett said. “So we don’t have to continue to battle our way back.”

 

 

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Missed chances prove costly for Chargers

UAH hockey head coach Mike Corbett was to the point about the Chargers’ 2-1 loss Saturday night to Lake Superior State.

“We should’ve put them away early,” he said. “We’ve got to finish; we’ve got to put ’em away.”

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The Chargers, who had a strong second and third period in Friday’s game, carried some of the momentum into Saturday night’s game. There were good scoring chances in the first period as they outshot Lake Superior State 10-8. However, UAH couldn’t put anything past Lakers’ goalie Mareks Mitens.

“Their goalie played a great game,” Corbett said.

But Jack Jeffers put the Chargers on the board with 4:08 gone in the second period for a 1-0 lead – the first time UAH led an opponent this season. It was Jeffers’ second goal of the season.

Chargers’ goalie Mark Sinclair, making back-to-back starts, kept the Lakers at bay through the first two periods as he turned away 18 shots.

UAH had a couple more opportunities early in the final period to extend their lead, only to be stymied by Mitens.

Austin Beaulieu had a breakaway from the blue line just under 3 minutes into the period, only to see Mitens come up with the save. Tyr Thompson had the puck in the crease but couldn’t convert at the 4:38 mark.

Sinclair continued his stellar play, including stopping a wrap-around attempt about a minute later.

But, the Lakers finally put one past the sophomore netminder when Anthony Nellis scored at 7:08 of the period to tie the game. Then, about five minutes later, Hampus Erickkson scored the eventual game-winner for a 2-1 Lakers’ lead.

The Chargers, though, kept up the pressure as they tried to get the game-tying goal.

Madison Dunn found himself on the doorstep with the puck with less than 5 minutes to play but Mitens came up with the save.

Then, perhaps the best scoring opportunity for UAH came with 3;37 left in the game on a 3-on-2 break. Mitens was drawn to his right to cover Connor Merkley. However, Merkley passed to Bauer Neudecker on his right, but Neudecker shot wide of the net.

The Chargers fall to 0-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and 0-8 overall. The Lakers are 4-0, 2-0. UAH will host Michigan Tech next Friday and Saturday.

Despite the missed chances, Corbett was quick to find high points in the game.

“I’m proud of this group; they responded well,” he said. “There are so many good things that came out of this game.

“We’ll build on this … we’ve got to get our mindset to finish.”