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.

Jan 282017
 

So close, yet again, against Michigan Tech.

The Chargers were 2:19 away from their first-ever victory over the Huskies, but Jake Lucchini’s goal with 11.4 seconds left in regulation forced a 4-4 tie Saturday night at the Von Braun Center.

BOX SCORE

Michigan Tech (16-9-7 overall, 13-3-6 WCHA) earned the second point in the WCHA standings after a nine-round shootout. The Huskies drew within four points of first-place Bemidji State in the standings.

UAH (7-18-3 overall, 7-12-3 WCHA) snapped a five-game WCHA point-less streak, but the Chargers still haven’t won since Dec. 10. UAH is now 0-12-2 all-time against Michigan Tech, with both ties coming this season.

The Chargers had three leads in the contest, including a 2-0 lead after the first period, and a 4-3 lead after Matt Salhany beat MTU goaltender Angus Redmond high from the left circle with 2:19 to go.

With the point, UAH holds the eighth and final WCHA playoff spot, five points clear of Alaska Anchorage and Northern Michigan, with six games remaining. The Chargers sit three points out of seventh place behind Alaska, whom UAH visits in Fairbanks next weekend.

UAH came out with the best period its ever had against Michigan Tech, getting plenty of scoring opportunities not normally gotten against the Huskies, and capitalizing with two goals.

The first game at 3:54, while the Chargers were shorthanded from a Brent Fletcher interference penalty. Hans Gorowsky pucked up a lose puck at the MTU blue line, took it up the right side, and curved toward the net.  He deked goaltender Angus Redmond and scored his sixth goal of the season.

Then with 11:39 left, UAH got a goal on the power play after Gavin Gould was called for tripping. Kurt Gosselin, returning to lineup after serving a game disqualification on Friday, one-timed a Brandon Parker pass from the right point for his team-leading goal of the season. Parker’s helper was his seventh of the season, and Austin Beaulieu also assisted.

The Chargers kept the same pace for the first few minutes of the second, but Tech asserted itself and took the shots lead.

Connor James went off for elbowing for his third penalty of the series, and Michigan Tech capitalized. A Matt Roy shot was nearly stopped by UAH goaltender Jordan Uhelski, but the puck appeared to squeeze under his arm and in the net with 10:34 left of the second to cut the Chargers’ lead to 2-1.

The Huskies had numerous chances for the equalizer as the second period closed during another power play from a Brennan Saulnier holding call. They had four shots on goal, including a Uhelski glove save on Jake Lucchini just before the buzzer.

Then came a frantic third period which featured five goals and five penalties.

Michigan Tech tied the game at the 6:30 mark, as Matt Roy notched his second goal of the game.

Two interference penalties following a UAH holding call gave the Chargers a 4-on-3 power play, and UAH retook the lead on an odd bounce.

Brennan Saulnier’s shot went over the net, bounced off the glass, and off Redmond’s back and in. With 9:20 to go in regulation, UAH had a 3-2 lead on Saulnier’s third goal of the season, assisted by Gosselin and Parker.

Just 37 seconds later, MTU tied it up 3-3. Mitch Reinke’s shot from near the left circle bounced off Uhelski’s pad and in.

Then game Salhany’s goal for the 4-3 Charger lead with 2:19 left, a snipe from the left circle that just got under the crossbar.

Lucchini’s tying goal with 11.4 seconds remaining came with the extra attacker.

The Huskies outshot UAH 4-1 in the regulation overtime 3-1 as they continued their relentless pressure, but Uhelski came up big, including a glove save on a Reid Sturos blast with 3:24 to go.

With no scoring, the game officially became a 4-4 tie. In the 3-on-3 overtime to determine which team would get the extra WCHA point, there was no scoring, but numerous 2-on-1 chances on both sides, with Uhelski and Redmond coming up big.

Both goaltenders continued strong play to extend the sudden-death shootout, which was the first for UAH in the WCHA. The Chargers used Josh Kestner, Gosselin, Brandon Salerno, Jordan Larson, Hans Gorowsky, Tyler Poulsen, Saulnier, James, and Salhany.

Chris Gerrie finally beat Uhelski in the ninth round, and Salhany was stopped by Redmond to end it.

Uhelski made 31 saves as the Huskies outshot the Chargers 35-23.

The Chargers return to the VBC in two weeks to host Bemidji State.

Jan 272017
 

The Chargers have yet to solve Michigan Tech, and Friday never seemed like it was going to be the night.

UAH lost 5-2 to the Huskies at the Von Braun Center, falling to 0-12-1 all-time against Michigan Tech. Of more urgent matters is the Chargers’ losing streak, now at seven games overall and five in the WCHA. UAH is now 7-18-2 overall and 7-12-2 in conference play.

BOX SCORE

Outside of a mini rally for the Chargers, Michigan Tech (16-9-6 overall, 14-3-5 WCHA) had this game from start to finish to extend its unbeaten streak to seven games. The Huskies outshot a depleted UAH club by a 41-17 margin as they climbed to within six points of first-place Bemidji State in the WCHA standings.

With Kurt Gosselin, Cam Knight, and Brennan Saulnier having to sit out for getting game disqualifications last Saturday at Lake Superior State, coach Mike Corbett had to jumble the lineup. Defenseman Connor James played in his second game this season, Jetlan Houcher saw his first action since Dec. 3, and Hunter Anderson, normally a right wing, played defenseman.

Perhaps the surprise was who UAH put in net: Matt Larose got the start, getting his first action since the Chargers’ home opener on Oct. 21.

Tech took the early lead as Mitch Reinke blasted a one-timer from the left point, beating Larose at 6:02 of the first.

The Huskies make it a 2-0 when, after a Charger turnover in their own zone, Thomas Beretta’s shot hit Cody Marooney’s shin guard and Larose’s pad and in at 9:03.

The Huskies continued to dominate puck possession in the second period, and the Chargers didn’t get their first shot on goal until about seven minutes left in the frame.

It would be UAH’s only shot on goal for the period, despite having two power plays. The second power play ended up being a disaster: Tech mounted a 2-on-1 break, with Michael Neville feeding Reid Sturos, who scored shorthanded with :35 seconds left.

Michigan Tech had a 3-0 lead and a 27-7 shots advantage after two periods.

MTU scored its fourth goal on the power play. On an initial shot by Matt Roy led to a scramble in front, the rebound squirted out to a waiting Gavin Gould, who buried it with 12:02 left.

Twenty-one seconds later, No. 21 finally delivered UAH’s first goal. Tyler Poulsen’s first goal of the season cut the Huskies’ lead to 4-1, assisted by Madison Dunn and Max McHugh.

By that point the Chargers finally had some momentum, and with 5:20 to go, Jordan Larson found a rebound of his own off a Brandon Parker shot, poking it past a down a suddenly busy Tech goalie Angus Redmond to make it 4-2.

A Beretta holding call with 1:58 to go gave UAH the power play, and with Larose pulled for an extra attacker the Chargers had a 6-on-4 attack. However, Reid Sturos intercepted a pass from center ice and quickly shot it into an open net with 1:19 left for the 5-2 final.

With two Friday night, the Chargers have allowed eight shorthanded goals this season.

Larose finished with 36 saves on 40 shots. Redmond had 15 saves for the Huskies.

Game two of the series is 7 p.m. Saturday night at the VBC.

Three stars of the game

1. Gavin Gould, MTU (1 goal, 2 assists)
2. Reid Sturos, MTU (2 goals)
3. Jordan Larson, UAH (1 goal)

Wolitski donates $500,000 to program

The UAH hockey program received a major pledge on Friday. Sheldon Wolitski, former UAH defenseman from the 1996 NCAA Division II championship team and CEO of The Select Group, announced a $500,000 donation for equipment, travel, recruiting, nutrition, and fitness. TSG will also open a new location in Huntsville, managed by former Charger star and pro player Jared Ross. An additional $10,000 will go toward the establishment of the Doug Ross Suite, named for the longtime UAH hockey coach, at Spragins Hall.