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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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UAH battles for 2 points after tie with LSSU

It was rough and tough, it was up and down, and it was three hours long, but the Chargers refused to leave Sault Ste. Marie empty-handed.

UAH earned two points in the WCHA standings after taking the shootout following a 1-1 tie at No. 18 Lake Superior State on Saturday.

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The Chargers (4-19-1 overall, 4-11-1-1 WCHA) shook off Friday’s 7-2 blowout loss, getting a stellar performance by goaltender Mark Sinclair, who made 36 saves over regulation and overtime.

Jesper Ohrvall had the only tally in the shootout, which went two rounds.

UAH nearly had the win over Lake Superior (14-6-2, 9-5-2-0), which had won seven straight. Madison Dunn put the Chargers up 1-0 with 9:32 left in the third period, but Brendan McKay knotted the game up for the Lakers with 1:57 remaining.

The Chargers remain in eighth place in the WCHA standings, four points clear of Ferris State, as they come home for next week’s series against Alaska Anchorage.

The first period was nondescript until 25 seconds remaining, when things got chippy at the halfwall in the Laker zone.

Dayne Finnson’s hit on Anthony Nellis into the boards resulted in the UAH freshman getting a five-minute contact-to-the-head major for elbowing and a game misconduct. Nellis, the Lakers’ second-leading scorer, skated off on his own power but was taken back to the locker room.

John Teets (8), Connor James (4), Madison Dunn (14), and Christian Rajic (9) celebrate Dunn’s third-period goal. (Photo by Mike Barrett / Laker Hockey Blog)

Lake Superior’s major power play carried over into the second period, and the Lakers thought they had a goal off the goalpost, but it was immediately waved off because of a Diego Cuglietta interference penalty.

Nellis would return to action, and was part of a sequence with under five minutes remaining in the second where he had three straight shots in a span of about five seconds. Sinclair remained on point, however, using his blocker and gloves to keep the game scoreless through two.

Dunn finally broke the deadlock on the power play with his third goal of the season, assisted by Connor James and Jack Jeffers. Then McKay was the only one to beat Sinclair with 1:57 remaining in regulation.

It was a rough and tumble game for Sinclair all night. The Lakers tried many times to beat Sinclair high, and a few rang off his face mask. He appeared to take one puck off a shoulder, and in the extra 3-on-3 overtime, was shaken up when a collision with the goalpost after three players barreled into the UAH net.

But Sinclair remained in the game, and was able to hold off the Lakers for the rest of the extra overtime. Then, he made stops on Nellis and Pete Veillette in the sudden-death shootout.

Christian Rajic missed on the first round, but Ohrvall tucked the puck past Nick Kossoff (25 saves) to secure the second WCHA point for the Chargers.

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Bad first period dooms UAH at Lake State

Lake Superior State scored six first-period goals and cruised to a 7-2 win over UAH on Friday in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The Chargers (4-19-0 overall, 4-11-0 WCHA) could only play better in the second and third periods to get ready for Saturday night’s series finale.

The 18th-ranked Lakers (14-6-1, 9-5-1) won their seventh straight game.

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UAH found themselves in a hole right away when Diego Cuglietta scored just 26 seconds in to put Lake Superior up 1-0. Cuglietta has been red hot for the Lakers with his seventh goal in the last five games.

The Chargers answered with Cam Knight’s shot from the blue line trickling between the pads of Laker goalie Nick Kossoff at 2:16 to tie the game at 1-1. Adam Wilcox got the assist.

But things fell apart quickly when the Lakers got another two goals before the halfway point of the first period.

The Lakers took a 2-1 lead after two straight saves by UAH goalie Jake Theut left an open net for Max Humitz at 4:15. Then Gage Torrel beat Theut from the left side of a 2-on-1 break at 9:22.

After allowing three goals on six shots, Theut was replaced in goal by Mark Sinclair.

It didn’t get any better. Melvin Karlsson made it 4-1 at 12:03. Jacob Nordqvist made it 5-1 at 14:32.

A Steven Ruggiero goal in 4-on-4 play with five seconds left completed an utterly disastrous period for the Chargers. It was the worst period for UAH since also allowing six goals in the third period against Bowling Green on Nov. 19, 2016.

UAH played better in the second period to stop the bleeding, but couldn’t chip into the deficit.

The Chargers continued to play well in the third period and Austin Beaulieu scored a power play goal with 11:57 remaining, his fourth goal in the last three games, to cut LSSU’s lead to 6-2.

Humitz’s second goal of the game put the Lakers up 7-2.

Sinclair finished the game with 27 saves. The Chargers were outshot 37-20.

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UAH rallies to nip Ferris State in OT

The Chargers needed this in so many ways.

UAH scored twice in the final 3:25 of regulation, then Austin Beaulieu’s tip found the back of the net 3:13 into overtime, lifting the Chargers to a 4-3 win over Ferris State at the VBC on Saturday.

The Chargers (4-18-0 overall, 4-10-0 WCHA) regained eighth place in the WCHA standings over the Bulldogs, who took game one by a 6-5 score on Friday, also in overtime.

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UAH finally got a victory at Propst Arena this year, the first in 10 games. And, the Chargers ended on the good side of a one-goal affair, improving to just 2-9 in a tough season of several close calls.

The first period was up-and-down, with Ferris State (6-15-1, 3-10-1) again getting the first goal of the game.

Nate Kallen took a centering pass in the slot from Cooper Zech, and directed the puck past UAH goaltender Jake Theut with 2:43 remaining in the period.

UAH answered right back on the power play following a Jason Tackett roughing penalty. Kurt Gosselin fired a one-timer from the right point to tie the game at 1-1 with 1:37 to go.

It was the first goal of the season for Gosselin, who returned to action Friday after missing over two months with a broken hand. Bauer Neudecker fed Gosselin for his second assist of the year, and Cam Knight got his fourth assist.

Ferris State took a 2-1 lead at 5:02 of the second when Trevor Recktenwald tucked the puck under Theut from the right doorstep.

FSU had its first multi-goal lead of the weekend after starting a 4-on-1 break from its own end. Cooper Zech finished the job for a 3-1 Bulldog lead with 8:43 left in the second.

FSU also won the possession battle in the second period, outshooting the Chargers 14-6.

The Bulldogs kept the Chargers at bay for a chunk of the third period, keeping Theut busy making 13 of his 33 total saves on the night. But they could not do it for all of the third period.

With 3:25 remaining in regulation, Beaulieu scored from the slot after taking a centering pass from Hans Gorowsky to cut the deficit to 3-2.

That gave the Chargers a boost, and they used that energy to put more pressure on FSU goalie Roni Salmenkangas (30 saves).

It eventually paid off. With just 11 seconds to go, Brandon Salerno tied the game from about the same spot, this time Beaulieu providing the feed after Connor James barely tipped the puck from a Ferris State player at the blue line and preventing the puck from leaving the offensive zone.

In overtime, FSU’s Cameron Clarke was called for a hook as Madison Dunn put a shot on net. It was just the third penalty called all game, but it gave the Charges a power play at the most opportune time.

UAH capitalized 25 seconds into the man advantage, as Beaulieu’s stick deflected Cam Knight’s shot from the left point. Beaulieu’s second goal of the game and fourth of the year sent the announced crowd of 1,308 home happy.

The Chargers travel to Lake Superior State next week. They return home in two weeks, hosting Alaska Anchorage.

Three Stars: 
1. Austin Beaulieu, UAH (2 goals, 1 assist, GWG in OT)
2. Brandon Salerno, UAH (game-tying goal with :11 left in regulation)
3. Bauer Neudecker, UAH (2 assists)

Notes: Gosselin now has 17 career goals, tying him with Mike Salekin (2004-07) for fourth place among UAH defensemen in the Division I era. … Charger forward Andrew Dodson had to leave the game after his hand was hit by a puck. The sophomore missed a chunk of last season with an injury. … UAH scored a total of nine goals in the series, the most since scoring 10 at Lake Superior State in Oct. 2015. The nine goals also accounts for 28 percent of the Chargers’ scoring this season.

File photo of Austin Beaulieu by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography