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.
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.