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Fessenden, UAH shut out Ferris to finish home sweep

Call him “Big Save Dave.”

UAH goaltender David Fessenden earned his first career shutout, stopping all 42 Ferris State shots in a 2-0 Charger victory at the Von Braun Center on Saturday.

Fessenden’s 42 saves were the second-most in a shutout in UAH history, two shy of now-Michigan Tech goaltender Mark Sinclair’s record of 44 set last season.

The Chargers (2-5-1 overall, 2-2-0 WCHA) completed its first series sweep in two years, and already matched their win total from last season. Combined with Friday’s 5-4 overtime victory, UAH’s had a very successful opening series at Propst Arena.

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In the crazier stat department, UAH posted its first shutout at the VBC since October 25, 2003, when Adam MacLean and Scott Munroe combined to blank Connecticut 6-0.

It certainly wasn’t easy, as Ferris State (0-8-0 overall, 0-4-0 WCHA) used six power plays to pepper the Charger net. But the Bulldogs could not convert on any of them, as UAH’s penalty kill was a perfect 11-for-11 on the weekend.

Early penalties to Tyrone Bronte and Ayodele Adeniye put the Chargers in a bind. The closest call was when Jake Willets had the puck all alone in the slot but was denied with Fessenden’s pad.

Ferris State had three power plays in the first period alone, allowing the Bulldogs a lot of time in the UAH end, even though the Chargers had two power plays of their own. FSU had 19 shot attempts to UAH’s seven, and had a 10-3 advantage in shots on goal.

The second period was a bit more even in terms of offensive possession, with Ferris State only outshooting UAH 13-10. However, the Chargers were the ones who finally capitalized with two late goals.

With 2:56 remaining and on a delayed penalty, Connor Merkley took a Tyr Thompson pass at the blue line and drove up the middle, beating Logan Stein with the backhand for his first goal of the season. Bahn also got an assist, his fourth, to tie for the team lead.

On the ensuing power play, Tyrone Bronte put the Chargers up 2-0 with 1:33 to go. The third goal of the season for the Australian freshman was assisted by Dayne Finnson and Mick Heneghan.

In the third period, it was again all about the big sophomore from Parker, Colorado.

Around the halfway point, Fessenden made a nifty sliding save on Coale Norris on a 2-on-1 break. With just over five minutes to go, Fessenden’s stick denied Ethan Stewart on another point-blank opportunity.

The Bulldogs only had one power play in the final frame, but still managed 19 shots on goal to UAH’s five. They had 28 attempts to UAH’s nine.

Fessenden’s final five saves came in the final 20 seconds, as Ferris State had pulled Stein for the extra attacker and UAH was forced to ice the puck twice in the final minute.

The Chargers’ next action is next weekend at Bemidji State. They return to the VBC on January 22-23 against Northern Michigan.

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Chargers snag OT win in long-awaited home opener

The Chargers were back at the Von Braun Center for the first time in 10 months, although it has seemed like eons. They wanted to treat the fans who supported them when a future did not seem possible.

And treat them they did in thrilling fashion. Ben Allen scored with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation to tie, and Dayne Finnson blasted the game-winning goal in a 5-4 UAH overtime win over Ferris State on Friday night.

A socially-distanced crowd of 1,124 erupted as the Chargers (1-5-1 overall, 1-2-0 WCHA) clinched their first victory in seven games this year and the first under head coach Lance West. UAH snapped a 14-game winless streak going back to last season.

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UAH will be going for the series sweep Saturday night at 7 p.m.

The Chargers threw just about everything they could at Ferris State freshman goaltender Logan Stein, who was making his season debut after finishing the world junior championship with a gold medal as Team USA’s backup. UAH had 45 shots on goal, the most in a game since 2015.

The game was a constant back-and-forth, testing both Stein and UAH goalie David Fessenden, who stopped 26 of 30 FSU shots.

UAH started with a strong power play, but it was Ferris State (0-7-0, 0-3-0) that scored the first goal. Antonio Venuto poked the puck through Fessenden’s left side at the 4:32 mark.

UAH answered with another power play, and this one was successful. Tyrone Bronte from the slot deflected Finnson’s pass from the left point over Stein’s glove to tie the game at 1-1 with 7:03 remaining in the first.

Tyrone Bronte, right, celebrates with Lucas Bahn after scoring UAH’s first goal. (Photo by Chuck Edgeworth/UAH Athletics)

The Chargers took a 2-1 lead at 5:31 of the second period. Tyr Thompson’s blast from the right side rebounded off Stein to Drew Lennon in the left circle, and Lennon drove the puck home.

Ferris State tied the game back up at 2-2 around halfway through the contest on Coale Norris’s putback from the slot.

UAH survived a scare in the second half of the second period after getting back-to-back slashing penalties. But the Chargers and Fessenden’s three crucial saves kept the game even through two.

The Chargers had a big chance to pull ahead with a two-man advantage with about 12 minutes to go in regulation. Allen had a prime chance point blank denied by Stein and a Lennon blast hit the crossbar, but UAH came up empty.

The Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead not long after on a Mitch Deelstra goal, beginning a stirring stretch of goals in the final 7:30 of regulation.

UAH re-tied the game with 4:22 in regulation with its second power-play goal. Tyr Thompson’s wrister from the left circle resulted in his team-leading third goal of the season, giving Mick Heneghan his first career point with the primary assist.

Ferris State answered under two minutes later on a Justin Michaelian goal, and it appeared the Chargers might be destined for their fourth one-goal loss of the season.

Not so fast, said UAH. With Fessenden pulled with the extra attacker and time winding down, the Chargers mounted one final rush. Lennon sent the puck up to Quinn Green just before the blue line, who fed it to Allen, who wristed the puck past Stein with 2.4 seconds remaining to tie the game at 4-4.

The officials confirmed the goal after checking video replay to make sure the Chargers were onside after Green took the puck.

UAH got the overtime game-winner with its third power-play goal. The Bulldogs were called for too many men on the ice, giving the Chargers a 4-on-3 advantage. Finnson’s one-timer in the right circle on a feed from Bauer Neudecker beat Stein glove side with 2:30 left in the 3-on-3 period.

While the Chargers were 3-for-6 on the power play, they killed all five of Ferris State’s advantages.

Chargers come up short against Tech

Michigan Tech scored twice in the first five minutes and held on for a 2-1 win over UAH on Sunday.

UAH played better defensively after the early deficit, with goaltender David Fessenden making 28 saves.

However, Michigan Tech goaltender Mark Sinclair stopped 19 of 20 shots against his former team as the Huskies (6-3-1, 2-0-0 WCHA) won their fifth straight game. MTU completed the series sweep after defeating UAH 4-0 on Saturday.

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UAH (0-5-1, 0-2-0 WCHA) hosts Ferris State on Friday and Saturday for its first home games of the season.

The Chargers were in a 2-0 hole early. First at the 3:14 mark, Tyler Rockwell scored on a low shot from the high slot on the power play following a Adrian Danchenko cross-checking penalty, and then Chris Lipe found the net from the right point at 4:41.

UAH finally got on the board for the first time this weekend when Noah Finstrom’s pass in front hit Justin Misiak’s stick and past Sinclair. Finstrom’s first college goal and point cut Tech’s lead to 2-1 at the first intermission.

That would also be the score at the second intermission. The Chargers played more time in the Huskies’ end, getting a few extra scoring chances despite only getting four shots on goal for the period.

UAH had a number of chances again in the third period, and outshot Tech 9-6 for the period.

Fessenden was pulled for the extra attacker in the final 1:30, the Chargers couldn’t find the equalizer against Sinclair, who transferred to Michigan Tech after UAH had temporarily cancelled the hockey program.

Chargers fall 4-0 at Michigan Tech

UAH had a rough return to play to start 2021, falling 4-0 at Michigan Tech on Saturday to begin WCHA play in Houghton.

The Chargers were outshot 30-18 as the Huskies applied constant pressure and created their own puck luck.

UAH (0-4-1 overall, 0-1-0 WCHA) will try for a split Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. CST. MTU improved to 5-3-1 and 1-0-0 with its fourth straight win.

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David Fessenden made 26 saves for the Chargers, who felt the Huskies’ persistent pressure, particularly in the first two periods.

At the end of one, the Michigan Tech outshot UAH 9-4, but no goals were scored. Quinn Green had UAH’s best chance with a breakaway in the last 10 seconds.

The Huskies continued to apply the pressure hard to start the second period and it finally paid off. Brian Halonen scored on an open net, converting a 2-on-1 with Nick Nardella to put Michigan Tech up 1-0 at the 6:42 mark.

The Chargers killed a penalty (with Fessenden making four saves), but fell behind 2-0 as a puck hit Quinn Green’s skate and past Fessenden with 7:49 left in the second.

UAH had a solid power play of their own, but failed to convert after three shots on Blake Pietila, who made 18 saves for his second shutout of the season. The Chargers were 0-for-2 with the power play, where they were able to put some pressure back on the Huskies.

Trenton Bliss made it 3-0 Tech on the power play with 1:28 left in the second. Tyler Rockwell scored from the high slot with 6:38 left in the third for a 4-0 MTU lead.

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UAH comes up short in 3-2 loss at LSSU

The Chargers’ first victory still proved elusive Sunday, as they fell to Lake Superior State 3-2 in Sault Ste. Marie. Brian Scoville and Frank Vitucci scored their first collegiate goals for UAH.

The Chargers (0-3-1), who took their second one-goal loss of the season, will head to Ferris State for a single game on Tuesday to finish non-conference play and the calendar year 2020.

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UAH dodged a bullet with 6:54 left in the first period. The Lakers’ Yuki Miura had a short-handed breakaway, and the Chargers’ Lucas Bahn tripped him up as the UAH power play was expiring.

Miura was awarded a penalty shot, the first against UAH in three years, but Krall was able to make the save to keep the game scoreless.

UAH goaltender Derek Krall makes the save on the penalty shot by Lake Superior State forward Yuki Miura. Photo by Mike Barrett/Laker Hockey Blog
UAH goaltender Derek Krall makes the save on a penalty shot by Lake Superior State’s Yuki Miura. (Photo by Mike Barrett/Laker Hockey Blog)

But the Lakers would get the first goal a minute later. Their leading scorer, junior Ashton Calder, put in a rebound on an open net in front for his fourth goal of the season.

Lake Superior scored in the final minute as Brandon Puricelli slipped one through the legs of Derek Krall, who was making his second start in goal. The Chargers faced the same situation as Saturday’s game, going down 2-0 after one period.

Like Saturday, which ended in a 2-2 tie, UAH came out strong and started a rally in the second period, even though the Chargers found themselves short handed for a bit of it.

During a Scoville cross-checking penalty in the first minute, Vitucci had a shorthanded breakaway that hit the crossbar. Then Tyrone Bronte and Bauer Neudecker had a 2-on-1 break with Ayodele Adeniye getting a shot on new LSSU goaltender Seth Eisele backing them up.

Scoville would put the Chargers on the board during a 4-on-4 situation with 11:02 remaining in the second period. He scored on a rebound as Quinn Green was taken down while taking the initial shot.

The second period was the most penalty-filled. There were nine infractions called, with five on UAH and four on Lake Superior.

The Chargers outshot the Lakers 10-1 in the second at one point, finishing with an 11-6 advantage in the frame.

This time, though, UAH would not find the equalizer in the second, and allowed an early goal in the third. Miroslav Mucha one-timed a face-off win past Krall for a 3-1 Laker lead at the 1:36 mark.

But the Chargers answered two minutes later. Vitucci’s rifle wrister from the slot beat Ethan Langenegger high. Conor Witherspoon got the assist for his first point.

With not nearly as many penalties and stoppages, most of the third period breezed by. Before you knew it, the Chargers were pulling Krall with 2:07 remaining for the extra attacker.

However, UAH could not get the equalizer.

Krall had 16 saves in the contest.

The Lakers used all three of their goaltenders in the game. Senior Mareks Mitens (8 saves) started, Eisele (10 saves) played the second period, and Langenegger (3 saves) the third.