Bemidji bites back with 5-1 win over UAH

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Jan 272018

Bemidji State controlled the game almost from the start, beating the Chargers 5-1 at the Von Braun Center and getting a series split.

UAH (9-17-2 overall, 8-12-2 WCHA) honored the 1998 NCAA Division II national champions during the first intermission, but unlike Friday’s 5-1 Charger win, this game didn’t resemble those good times.


UAH dropped to seventh place in the WCHA standings with the loss and Ferris State’s win, while Bemidji State (14-8-6 overall, 11-5-4 WCHA), in fourth place, clinched a spot in the WCHA playoffs.

The Chargers managed only 12 shots on goal to the Beavers’ 36 in the 86th meeting between the rivals. And they were in a hole just 33 seconds in.

Brennan Saulnier checked Myles Fitzgerald into the boards chasing the puck. Saulnier was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct, the ninth of his UAH career. For refusing to leave the ice, Saulnier was called for abuse of officials, for a total of 25 penalty minutes. The incident will likely be reviewed by the WCHA, which could hand down his fourth career suspension.

After that, the Beavers were relentless. Charlie Combs scored during the major power play to give BSU a 1-0 lead.

UAH had a chance to equalize with 6:10 left in the 1st, when Dillon Eichstadt also got a five-minute checking from behind penalty and a game misconduct for running Josh Kestner.

But Kestner, who leads the WCHA in goals with 17, had to be escorted to the locker room, and without him and Saulnier, UAH could not set up anything on their major power play.

If it weren’t for goaltender Jordan Uhelski, the Chargers could have found themselves in much deeper trouble. But the senior made 15 saves in the period to keep it 1-0 at intermission.

Kestner did return to action in the second period, and UAH did have a few more scoring opportunities (six shots on goal) and a more cohesive power play.

The Chargers still had to weather the storm of two shorthanded situations and a late flurry in the second period, but still found themselves down only a goal heading into the third.

That would be short-lived as BSU put up three unanswered goals in the third. Justin Baudry scored twice, at 7:05 and 12:19, sandwiching a power play goal by Aaron Miller and the Beavers led 4-0.

The Chargers didn’t get their first shot on goal of the third period until it was nine minutes remaining.

UAH averted a shutout for BSU’s All-American goaltender Michael Bitzer with 6:57 to go, as Max McHugh got his first goal of the season, deflecting a Cam Knight shot. It was McHugh’s second game of the season, coming back from a preseason injury.

T.J. Roo added an empty-net goal with 1:22 remaining.

Uhelski finished with 31 saves, adding to the 30 he had on Friday. Bitzer had 11 saves.

Notes: Saulnier has 325 career penalty minutes, moving him into fifth-most in UAH history. He now has 15 penalties counted as 10 minutes: Five misconducts, nine game misconducts, and one game disqualification.

Throwback victory: Chargers down Bemidji State 5-1

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Jan 262018
Jordan Uhelski

Jordan Uhelski makes one of his 30 saves. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Just like old times?

This weekend, the Chargers are wearing throwback jerseys commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1998 NCAA Division II national championship team, who defeated Bemidji State for the title.


Friday night had the feeling of that time. The Chargers took down the Beavers again, a 5-1 decision in their first game at the Von Braun Center in two months.

UAH (9-16-2 overall, 8-11-2 WCHA) got a stalwart performance from senior goaltender Jordan Uhelski, who stopped 30 of 31 shots to snap the eight-game WCHA winning streak of Bemidji State (13-8-6, 10-5-4).


The Chargers stayed in sixth place in the WCHA standings, moving to seven points behind fifth-place Michigan Tech (a 4-3 loser to Ferris State).

Also making a long-awaited appearance was Max McHugh, who hadn’t seen action this season because of injury. The senior captain got an assist in his debut, a nifty pass from the left circle to a scoring Hans Gorowsky in the second period for UAH’s third goal.

The rivals will meet again Saturday night as members of the 1998 championship team will be honored during the first intermission.

UAH pulled out to a 4-0 by 3:10 of the third period, getting to Bemidji’s All-American goaltender Michael Bitzer early.

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner breaks away in the first period. He would score his 17th goal of the season for a 1-0 UAH lead. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

John Teets intercepted a Beaver pass near the benches in the neutral zone, and forwarded the puck to Josh Kestner. Kestner made a move around a BSU defenseman for a breakaway, and wristed the puck over Bitzer. His 17th goal of the season came at the 6:36 of the first period.

Bemidji State picked up the pace afterward, and kept Uhelski busy. The Beavers picked up the next 11 shots on goal, including five during a power play.

But Uhelski kept his cool, and finished the first period with 14 saves.

The Chargers got two more in the second period.

At 3:34, Madison Dunn ripped a one-timer off a faceoff win by Christian Rajic to make it 2-0. It was Dunn’s fourth goal of the season.

UAH made it 3-0 with 2:51 on the power play. Hans Gorowsky in the slot deflected McHugh’s pass from the bottom of the left circle for his fourth goal of the season and McHugh’s first point. Kurt Gosselin also got his seventh assist.

In the third, Tyler Poulsen notched his sixth goal of the season with an assist by Dunn at the 3:10 mark and UAH led 4-0.

Bemidji State ended the shutout attempt 56 seconds later on an Aaron Miller goal.

With 4:34 to go, Adam Wilcox upended BSU’s Brendan Harris, who was favoring his left leg as he was helped off the ice. Wilcox got a five-minute major for kneeing, giving the Beavers a power play the rest of the way.

UAH’s penalty killing was solid from there. BSU pulled Bitzer for a 6-on-4 situation with under two minutes to go.

Dunn then scored his second goal of the game and third point of the night when he found the empty net clearing the puck from the UAH zone. The shorthanded finished the 5-1 score.

Three stars of the game:
1. Jordan Uhelski, UAH (30 saves)
2. Madison Dunn, UAH (2 goals, 1 assist)
3. Josh Kestner, UAH (1 goal)

Long road trip finishes on down note with loss to UAA

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Jan 142018

The Chargers scored in the first minute, but couldn’t muster much afterward in a 2-1 loss at Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

The disappointing loss finished off a long road trip for UAH (8-16-2 overall, 7-11-2 WCHA). The Chargers went 2-4-0 in the continuous Bemidji-Fairbanks-Anchroage trip, and 3-8-1 in the 12-game stretch on the road.

Alaska Anchorage earned just its second win of the season and broke a 9-game losing streak.

UAH had won back-to-back games after a 4-2 victory Friday in the series opener.

The Chargers will have next week off before playing at the Von Braun Center for the first time in two months against Bemidji State (Jan. 26-27).

UAH pounced on a turnover in the UAA zone to take a lead just 48 seconds in. Tyler Poulsen got the steal, fed the puck to Brennan Saulnier, who found Connor Merkley in the slot, and Merkley scored his second goal of the season.

It was a team-leading 12th assist for Poulsen, and the sixth helper for Saulnier.

The Chargers had a 8-2 shots advantage at one point, but the Seawolves asserted themselves and started making life difficult for UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski. UAA outshout UAH 13-2 the rest of the first period, and at 12:43 tied the game as Alex Jackstadt poked the puck through a pileup in front of Uhelski.

The second period had a lot of hard hits, and the worst may have been on UAH sophomore winger Jordan Larson, who had just made his season debut Friday after a preseason injury kept him sidelined.

During a 2-on-1, Larson’s backhand shot went wide, and he was soon hit high by UAA defenseman Aaron McPheters. Larson was slow to get up, but eventually made it back to the bench. A few minutes later, however, Larson had to be escorted off the ice and to the locker room with his head down.

Late in the second, Hans Gorowsky received an elbow to the face by UAA’s Corey Renwick, who would get a major penalty. Gorowsky was shaken, but skated to the bench on his own power.

UAH couldn’t score on the major power play that bled into the third period, nor could the Chargers score on another major power play after David Trinkberger cross-checked Saulnier. Somehow Saulnier got an embellishment penalty, which shortened the power play by two minutes.

Anchorage killed the penalties unscathed, and with 10:19 to go, took its first lead of the series when Trey deGraaf’s second attempt got over Uhelski’s pad.

The Seawolves withstood the Chargers’ final barrage on shots on UAA senior goaltender Olivier Mantha, who stopped all 12 UAH shots in the third period.

Shots for the game were tied 29-29. Uhelski finished with 27 saves.

Second line is tops as UAH beats UAA 4-2

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Jan 132018

Levi Wunder’s goal with 2:55 to go was the game-winner as the Chargers grinded a 4-2 win at Alaska Anchorage on Friday.

The second line of Wunder, Hans Gorowsky, and Josh Kestner was the spark of the offense for UAH (8-15-2 overall, 7-10-2 WCHA), which has won back-to-back games.


Wunder had a goal and an assist, Gorowsky had a goal and an assist, and Kestner had two assists before his empty-net goal, his 16th of the season, in the final second.

Alaska Anchorage (1-16-4 overall, 1-11-3 WCHA) has lost nine straight.


UAH scored first at the 3:54 mark. Kestner found Levi Wunder wide open driving down the left wing. Wunder centered the puck to Hans Gorowsky, who had an easy third goal of the season. It was the fifth assist of the season for both Wunder and Kestner.

UAH took a 2-0 lead on a two-man advantage early in the second. Brennan Saulnier whipped a nasty shot from the high slot, hitting the bottom of the crossbar at 4:14. Kurt Gosselin got his sixth assist, and Cam Knight his 10th.

Like UAH’s last game in Fairbanks, that 2-0 lead did not last long as UAA got on the board 1:19 later. The rest of the Charger power play was killed via a hooking penalty, and on the resulting power play for Anchorage, Austin Azurdia cut it to 2-1 as a puck came to him in front of a wide open net after UAH’s Jordan Uhelski made a save on Tad Kozun.

Anchorage tied the game at 2-2 just before the halfway point of the third period. Brandon Switzer prevented a UAA icing, then found Nicolas Erb-Ekholm all alone in front of the UAH net. Erb-Ekholm beat Uhelski high.

Then came Wunder’s game-winning goal, the second for the freshman. Kestner passed the puck ahead to Gorowsky on the left of Mantha. Gorowsky’s shot was saved, but the rebound went right to Wunder, who put it away.

UAA pulled Mantha for the extra attacker in the final minute, and Kestner scored unassisted with :00.2 left.

Uhelski had 18 saves in the win.

UAH shotout UAA 25-20 in the power-play-filled game. UAH had eight opportunities and UAA had six.

The series finale — and the final road game of UAH’s 12-game road swing and the regular season — is Saturday night at 10:07 p.m. Central.

Notes: Kestner now has 22 points on the season, giving him back-to-back seasons of 20 points or more. … Jordan Larson made his season debut, coming back from a preseason injury.

Chargers snap skid with win at Alaska

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Jan 072018

Jordan Uhelski made 35 saves as UAH held on for a much-needed 3-1 victory over Alaska in Fairbanks on Saturday night to earn a series split.

UAH (7-15-2 overall, 6-10-2 WCHA) snapped a six-game losing streak, and leaped back into sixth place in the WCHA standings.


Alaska (8-12-2 overall, 6-9-1 WCHA), coached by UAH alum Lance West, saw its three-game win streak end.

The Chargers will now head to Alaska Anchorage for a series next weekend against the Seawolves and finish off their 12-game road odyssey.

There was no scoring in the first period, although it was the Chargers who had the bulk of opportunities, outshooting the Nanooks 13-5.

However, Alaska goaltender Anton Martinsson continued where he left off at the end of Friday night’s game, making the big saves to keep UAH out of the net.

The second period was Uhelski’s time to shine as the Nanooks started to get the most scoring chances. Uhelski stopped all 19 Alaska shots on goal in the frame.

The closest Alaska came to scoring was after an initial Uhelski save, but the UAH defense was able to clear the puck from the crease after it started to trickle through.

UAH made nine shots of their own in the action-packed second period, and one of them gave the Chargers its first lead in weeks. Josh Kestner got the puck in front, went backhand to forehand to put the puck past Martinsson for this 15th goal of the season with 5:41 left.

John Teets, playing in his hometown Fairbanks, got the primary assist, his sixth of the season. Levi Wunder tallied his fourth helper.

UAH made it 2-0 with 9:18 to go when, right out of the penalty box from a tripping penalty, Austin Beaulieu broke away and deked Martinsson for his second goal of the season.

Alaska cut UAH’s lead to 2-1 just 24 seconds later, as Tayler Munson found Justin Young all alone in the slot, and Young was able to beat Uhelski.

That would be the only goal he would allow, making 11 saves in the third period for a total of 35.

Christian Rajic scored his eighth goal of the season, putting away the empty netter with 43 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Andrew Dodson was not in the lineup after suffering a concussion in Friday night’s game. Tyler Poulsen was also a late scratch for UAH.