Feb 252017
 

UAH was officially eliminated from WCHA playoff contention when Northern Michigan defeated Michigan Tech 5-3. But topping off the disappointing season was a 2-0 loss at Bowling Green on Saturday in the final game of the regular season.

BOX SCORE

The Chargers finish the season 9-22-3 overall and 9-16-3 in the WCHA. While the nine wins is the most for UAH since 2009-10, UAH will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

Bowling Green improved to 17-17-2 overall and 14-13-1 in the WCHA. The win clinched the Falcons the fourth seed in the playoffs, giving them home ice in the first round against Ferris State.

The Chargers started off with a road sweep of Ferris State, held fourth place at the holiday break, and won seven conference road games. However, UAH left many points on the table, particularly at home, where the Chargers were 2-10-2.

UAH also had trouble against Bowling Green, which posted back-to-back shutouts behind their star junior goaltender Chris Nell, who made 38 saves Saturday. The Chargers were shut out for the sixth time this season.

Bowling Green scored first with 11:11 left in the first period. UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski made a couple of quick saves on a Falcon rush, but Tyler Spezia took a rebound, went behind the net and had an open wrap-around goal.

UAH had a whopping five power plays (of varying lengths) in the first period alone, thanks to five minor penalties against BGSU. The Chargers could not do much with them though: BG’s defense clamped down, and two power plays were killed by UAH penalties.

On one power play, a pass was intercepted by Sean Walker in the Falcon zone, and he took it near the length of the ice on a 2-on-1 break. His shot beat Uhelski high just after the UAH power play ended to give Bowling Green a 2-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first.

No scoring in the second period, but more penalties. UAH had two more power plays, one again killed by a penalty of their own, while Bowling Green finally got their first advantages of the night.

The same continued in the third period, making for a slow game lacking any real flow. The teams combined for 20 minor penalties.

UAH’s power play was stymied all series, going 0-for-11 Saturday and 0-for-18 for the series.

Shots were even at 38. Uhelski finished with 36 saves on the night.

Feb 242017
 

The Chargers’ playoff chances took a hit after an ugly 7-0 loss at Bowling Green on Friday night to start the regular season’s final series.

Fortunately for UAH (9-21-3 overall, 9-15-3 WCHA), Northern Michigan lost to Michigan Tech 3-2, keeping UAH one point behind NMU for the eighth and final playoff spot. But it means the Chargers must figure out how to solve the Falcons (16-17-2 overall, 13-13-1 WCHA), who have outscored UAH 19-4 in three games this season, or they are staying home for the playoffs for the second straight year.

BOX SCORE

The game was marred by 85 total penalty minutes on both sides. But Bowling Green was able to slam the Chargers with four power play goals on 11 opportunities. UAH was 0-for-7 with the advantage.

UAH also couldn’t contain Kevin Dufour, who seems to always have the Chargers’ number. Dufour had a hat trick, and he got the Falcons started with two goals in the first period.

At 10:23, right off the faceoff, Dufour broke away and beat UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero as the Falcons drew first blood.

About five minutes later, Dufour took the puck from the far wall, around in front of the Charger net, and scored on a backhander for a 2-0 BGSU lead.

Bowling Green extended its lead to 3-0 on the power play early in the second period after a high sticking penalty on Cody Champagne. Mitch McLain deflected a Mark Friedman shot past Guerriero at the 4:06 mark.

UAH’s best opportunity to get back into the game was after back-to-back penalties by the Falcons. Lukas Craggs made contact to the head on Hans Gorowksy, earning him a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

After 2:24 of the ensuing major power play, Mark Friedman cross-checked Josh Kestner, giving the Chargers a full two minutes of 5-on-3.

However, the Falcons would survive, as UAH had trouble getting set and Chris Nell making important saves to the delight of a relatively small but vocal crowd at the Slater Family Ice Arena.

The third period started with more penalties on UAH that made it difficult to get any rally going. Further, Adam Smith scored on the power play at the 5:14 to make it 4-0.

Then Dufour completed the hat trick with 13:06 remaining for a 5-0 Falcon lead. That too was on the power play.

The rest of the game was featured more penalties on both sides as several scuffles broke out. Both BGSU’s Tyler Spezia and UAH’s Brennan Saulnier each had 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Reminiscent of the Nov. 19 game in Huntsville, the Falcons added two late garbage goals by Frederic LeTourneau and Alec Rauhauser for the final 7-0 score.

Guerriero made 35 saves, but he was tagged with all seven goals. Nell stopped all 33 shots he faced for the shutout.

The Falcons were tied for fourth place with Ferris State in the WCHA standings coming in, looking for home ice in the first round of the conference playoffs.

The regular season finale is Saturday at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.

Notes: Brent Fletcher played his 138th game at UAH, setting a new program record. … UAH defenseman Kurt Gosselin was back in the lineup after missing three games for concussion-like symptoms.

Feb 112017
 

What a nice end to what’s been a rough home schedule for the Chargers: A win over rival Bemidji State.

UAH scored four unanswered goals to beat BSU 5-2 at the Von Braun Center on Saturday, earning a series split in the Chargers final home game of the season.

BOX SCORE

It was only the second home win for the Chargers (9-20-3 overall, 9-14-3 WCHA), who desperately needed the victory to stay in the hunt for a WCHA playoff spot.

However, Lake Superior State took two points from Alaska Anchorage, and Northern Michigan got another shutout of Alaska, moving both teams ahead of UAH. The Chargers are now tied for eighth place with Alaska, but Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH for the last playoff spot having gone 2-1-1 in head-to-head meetings.

Bemidji State, which clinched the WCHA regular-season championship on Friday, fell to 19-12-3 overall and 19-5-2 in conference.

WCHA standings
Top 8 make playoffs
Pts. Gms Next wk
5. Ferris State 32 4 vs. UAA
6. N. Michigan 31 4 @ MSU
6. Lake Superior 31 4 @ UAF
8. Alaska* 30 4 vs. LSSU
8. UAH 30 2 Idle
10. AK-Anchorage 27 4 @ FSU
* Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH (2-1-1 head-to-head)

Brennan Saulnier put UAH on the board first with an unassisted goal at 13:47. His sixth goal of the season matches his total from last year, and he has scored in three straight games and four of the last five.

The Beavers came right back with two quick power play goals. Kyle Bauman notched his team-leading 12th of the season with 4:31 to go in the first, followed by Gerry Fitzgerald’s 10th with 1:58 remaining.

The Chargers put in Carmine Guerriero in goal to start the second period, replacing starter Jordan Uhelski, and he had to warm up quickly as the Beavers had an 8-1 shots advantage in the frame.

That one shot, however, tied the game up at 2-2. On a 2-on-1 break, Saulnier on the left wing centered to a driving Tyler Poulsen, who beat Bitzer five-hole at the 3:11 mark.

Cam Knight also assisted on the play, giving him 16 on the season, the most by a Charger since Brandon Roshko had 17 in 2007-08.

Poulsen struck again at 10:43 to give UAH its first lead of the series, giving him three on the season.

The Chargers added two more in the third period for the win.

With 7:23 left, Matt Salhany drove to the net on the left side with a Beaver covering him. He poked the puck past Bitzer and crashed into the net. Video review confirmed that the puck crossed the goal line before the net came off, giving Salhany his seventh goal of the season and the Chargers a 4-2 lead.

It was only the third time in 33 starts this season that Bitzer had allowed four or more goals.

The Beavers had one more chance after Cody Marooney committed a slashing penalty with 3:10 to go.

Almost immediately on the ensuing power play, Guerriero made a huge glove save on a rocket by Gerry Fitzgerald.

The Beavers pulled Bitzer for the extra attacker, but Salhany was able to get a steal and send the puck to Hans Gorowsky, who scored on the empty net with 1:24 remaining to seal the win for the Chargers. It was Gorowsky’s seventh goal of the season.

Guerriero finished with 23 saves without allowing a goal in two periods of action. Bemidji State outshot UAH 30-25.

UAH is idle next week, which means the Chargers won’t have an opportunity to get more league points until Feb. 24-25, when they finish the regular season at Bowling Green.

Three stars of the game:

1. Tyler Poulsen, UAH (2 goals)
2. Brennan Saulnier, UAH (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Carmine Guerriero, UAH (23 saves, 0 goals allowed)

Feb 102017
 

It’s a tough position: Falling out of playoff position to an arch-rival, and seeing that rival hoist a championship trophy on your ice.

That’s the result of UAH’s 3-2 loss to Bemidji State at the Von Braun Center on Friday, which dropped the Chargers (8-20-3 overall, 8-14-3 WCHA) to ninth in the WCHA standings and currently out of a playoff spot with three games to go. Northern Michigan moved ahead of UAH after beating Alaska 3-0.

BOX SCORE

Meanwhile, Bemidji State (19-11-3 overall, 19-4-2 WCHA) clinched its first WCHA regular season title when Michigan Tech lost to Ferris State 3-1, then celebrated after withstanding a furious third-period rally by UAH.

The Beavers were presented with the MacNaughton Cup by WCHA commissioner Bill Robertson after the game.

The start of the game was delayed for a few minutes because the lights took a while to come back up after starting lineup introductions. After 48 seconds of action, the UAH end was still noticeably darker, so play was delayed a few minutes more.

The first period was just as lacking in power. Bemidji State had five shots on goal to UAH’s four, with Josh Kestner’s hitting the pipe on a 2-on-1 break being the closest either team would get to scoring.

It was more of the same in the first half of the second period, but then the Beavers assumed control and took the lead. After a steal in the UAH end, Nate Arentz wristed a shot high while falling in the right circle, beating Jordan Uhelski for a 1-0 BSU lead with 7:54 remaining.

The Chargers hurt themselves with a rash of penalties late in the second and early in the third.

On a two-man advantage, Gerry Fitzgerald scored on a one-timer in the left circle to make it 2-0 Beavers just 1:15 into the third.

Jay Dickman increased BSU’s lead to 3-0 six minutes into the third period, and with the Michael Bitzer leading the nation in goals against average and looking sharp, the game appeared to be all but done.

The Chargers refused to go quietly, however. UAH broke through Bemidji State’s top-ranked penalty kill when Brennan Saulnier scored a power play goal, putting in a rebound from the doorstep off a Max McHugh shot with 12:14 left.

It was Saulnier’s fifth goal of the season, assisted by McHugh and Brandon Parker.

Just 38 seconds later, Brent Fletcher in the slot deflected a Connor James shot and suddenly BSU only led 3-2.

Phil Marinaccio was called for interference with 1:46 remaining, giving UAH one last chance with a power play. The Chargers spent the last minute 6-on-4 after pulling Uhelski for the extra attacker.

In that last minute, Parker saw one rocket get gloved by Bitzer, and another shot hit the post. UAH would get one final scramble before the final buzzer.

Bitzer finished with 17 saves on 19 UAH shots, while Uhelski stopped 22 of 25.

Game two of the series and the Chargers’ last home game of the season is Saturday at 3:07 p.m.

Notes: UAH defenseman Kurt Gosselin, who was tied for the team lead in goals with nine, remained out of the lineup with concussion symptoms. Gosselin was hit in the head last Friday at Alaska. … Three stars of the game were Arentz (goal and assist), Fletcher (goal), and Bitzer.

Feb 052017
 

Jordan Uhelski made 30 saves and the Chargers ended two months of frustration with a 4-1 win over Alaska in Fairbanks on Saturday night.

UAH (8-19-3 overall, 8-13-3 WCHA) won for the first time since Dec. 10, ending a seven-game WCHA winless streak and nine-game winless streak overall.

BOX SCORE

With four games to go, the Chargers stay in eighth place, the last playoff spot, in the WCHA standings. UAH is two points up on Northern Michigan and two behind idle Ferris State and Lake Superior State for sixth. Alaska (9-16-3 overall, 8-11-3 WCHA) is in fifth place.

UAH won in Fairbanks for the first time since Dec. 1991. The Chargers were 0-5 against the Nanooks in Fairbanks since joining the WCHA in 2013.

After being stymied all game Friday, the Chargers didn’t take long to get on the board. Just 1:12 in, off a rebound from a Connor James shot, Brennan Saulnier beat Alaska goaltender Davis Jones from the slot to give UAH a 1-0 lead.

Saulnier notched his fourth goal of the season and second in his last three games. For James, it was his first collegiate assist and point.

Then UAH finally got something going on a power play. With 4:09 left in the first, Josh Kestner one-timed a Cam Knight blast from the left circle and the Chargers led 2-0.

It was Kestner’s ninth goal of the season, tying him for the club lead with Kurt Gosselin, who did not play after suffering a concussion and a sore neck on Friday. Knight got his team-leading 14th assist, and James got his second helper of the game.

Alaska fought right back with a power play goal of their own after Cody Marooney’s trip of Zach Frye. Chad Staley, who had a goal and an assist in Friday’s game, cut UAH’s lead to 2-1 with 3:18 left in the first.

UAH got a shorthanded goal with 5:22 left in the second period to extend its lead to 3-1. During a rare penalty on Max McHugh, Matt Salhany broke away and beat Jones for his sixth goal of the season.

On the other hand, Charger goalie Uhelski was making strong saves with his glove and body — and getting a little help from the crossbar when he went one-on-one with the Nanooks’ Josh Erickson.

Alaska had opportunities to get back into it after back-to-back penalties by Saulnier and James in the middle of the third period, but UAH played solid defense to kill those penalties. Then the Nanooks relied on Jones to make big saves on breakaway chances by Hans Gorowsky and Max McHugh to keep it a two-goal game.

Jones was pulled for an extra attacker with 3:08 remaining. Sean Rappleyea then sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 2:09 to go, his first collegiate goal.

Alaska outshot UAH 31-24 in the contest. UAH was 1-for-4 on the power play, and Alaska was 1-for-5.

Next up for the Chargers is their final home series of the season. UAH hosts WCHA leader and rival Bemidji State on Feb. 10 and 11 at the Von Braun Center.