UAH falls hard against No. 5 MSU

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Feb 102018
 

Minnesota State, the fifth-ranked team in the country, breathed a sign of relief after needing overtime to beat UAH on Friday and avoid a major upset.

Saturday night, the Mavericks made sure there would not be another scare at the VBC, beating the Chargers 6-1 to complete the series sweep and win their seventh straight game.

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UAH (10-20-2 overall, 9-15-2 WCHA) was swept at home for the first time this season, but still sits in sixth place in the WCHA standings, one point ahead of Alaska. Alaska was swept by Northern Michigan, which maintained its one-point lead over Minnesota State (23-7-0 overall, 19-5-0 WCHA) atop the standings.

The Chargers, still looking to secure a WCHA playoff spot, have next week off before finishing the regular season at home against Bowling Green.

Minnesota State scored its first goal at the 3:57 mark, when Nicolas Rivera poked in a rebound from a Brad McClure shot.

Then with 3:39 left in the first period, on a power play resulting from a John Teets cross-checking penalty, the Mavericks made it 2-0 when Dallas Gerads scored, also on a rebound.

UAH got on the board early in the second period, shorthanded after a Brandon Parker interference penalty.

Levi Wunder got a shot in the MSU zone, and the rebound off of Connor LeCouvee slowly entered the slot. Defenseman Richard Buri won the race for the puck, and sniped it past LeCouvee at 1:01.

It was Buri’s first goal of the season and sixth goal of the senior’s UAH career. Wunder got his seventh assist.

But the Mavericks never relented, and regained their two-goal advantage just 1:44 later. Right after Parker’s penalty expired, C.J. Seuss, who scored the overtime winner on Friday, scored on a backhander from goaltender Jordan Uhelski’s doorstep made it 3-1.

Minnesota State made it 4-1 on its second power play goal of the night. Marc Michaelis, who got the game-tying goal with 2:10 left in regulation on Friday, got the score on yet another rebound off Uhelski.

MSU scored their third power play goal at 1:30 of the third period on a blast by Daniel Brickley from the point. Jared Spooner made it 6-1 with 10:32 to go.

Uhelski finished with 29 saves after being pulled at that point. Freshman Mark Sinclair had one save in relief.

Minnesota State outshot UAH 36-24.

Notes: Minnesota State ran its unbeaten streak against UAH to 26 games (22-0-4) dating back to 2002. … Michigan Tech beat Bemidji State 5-1 on Saturday, giving fifth-place Tech 40 points in the WCHA standings. That ensured UAH, which can get no more than 36 points, can finish no higher than sixth.

Mavs deny UAH upset bid in OT

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Feb 092018
 

C.J. Seuss scored 27 seconds into overtime as Minnesota State beat UAH 3-2 on Friday night at the Von Braun Center.

The fifth-ranked Mavericks (22-7-0 overall, 18-5-0 WCHA) had tied the game at 2-2 with 2:10 left in regulation to win their sixth straight game and deny the Chargers a major upset.

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UAH (10-19-2 overall, 9-14-2 WCHA) had quickly erased a 1-0 deficit with two goals on their first two shots of the third period, looking to end a 24-game winless streak against Minnesota State dating back to 2002.

The Chargers remain in sixth place in the WCHA with Alaska’s loss to Northern Michigan, who stayed one point ahead of Minnesota State atop the league standings.

 

The series finale is Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.

The Mavericks exercised their will with the puck early on, but could not find the net despite getting the first eight shots on Jordan Uhelski.

UAH did start to get in a groove late in the first, making MSU goaltender Connor LaCouvee get to work. The Chargers, thanks in part to a late power play, were able to pull even in shots, 10-10, at the end of the period.

The Mavericks dominated possession in the second period, outshooting the Chargers 17-2. They got help from four UAH penalties, including back-to-back calls against Tyler Poulsen and Brandon Parker that put MSU up two men with over a minute.

UAH survived that surge, thanks to Uhelski. Among his 16 saves in the period included an odd-man rush with Marc Michaelis out of the box after a Charger power play, a C.J. Seuss shorthanded chance on that same power play, and denying Brad McClure, Mcihaelis, and Seuss back-to-back-to-back in a matter of seconds.

However, Uhelski could not stop them all. With 4:22 left in the second, Uhelski saved a Dallas Gerads shot, but the rebound came right to a unabated, driving Parker Tuomie in the slot. Tumoie pounced and scored for a 1-0 Minnesota State lead.

UAH came out for the third period with two goals on two shots to quickly take the lead.

Kurt Gosselin scored his fifth goal of the season at the 1:14 mark, assisted by Jordan Larson (his first point of the season) and Hans Gorowsky (his seventh helper).

At 2:35, freshman Christian Rajic beat LaCouvee from the right circle for his ninth goal of the season. Madison Dunn and Josh Kestner with the assists.

UAH tried to survive the Maverick barrage as long as they could, but MSU tied the game with 2:10 left in regulation. Parker Tuomie found Marc Michaelis in the slot, and his deflection beat Uhelski high.

That set up Seuss and his 16th goal of the season on MSU’s first shot on goal in overtime, giving the Mavericks the sigh of relief. It was the first overtime game for MSU this season.

Uhelski finished with 39 saves, the fifth straight game he has made 30 or more. UAH was outshot 42-19.

Chargers earn big 10th win over No. 19 NMU

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Feb 042018
 
Tyler Poulsen

Tyler Poulsen scores his second-period goal. (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

The Chargers got a huge win Sunday in their battle for a WCHA playoff spot, beating No. 19 Northern Michigan 4-2 at the Von Braun Center to earn a series split.

The Chargers (10-18-2 overall, 9-13-2 WCHA) got their first double-digit win season since the 2009-10 campaign, and moved back into sixth place in the WCHA standings with four games to go. UAH is five points behind fifth-place Michigan Tech, one point up on Alaska, and two up on Ferris State.

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“When you play the top teams in the league, the best players have to be your best players,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “And our best players were our best players, starting with Uhelski to Gosselin and Knight to Kestner and Poulsen. And Hans Gorowksy was his normal self.”

Goaltender Jordan Uhelski fought off a fierce NMU attack, stopping 34 of 36 Wildcat shots on goal.

 

“I feel tired, but ecstatic for the team and the guys,” Uhelski said. “I thought that was one of the best games we played all season, from the drop of the puck, to when we were up by two and they get one, to really be resilient and make sure we get that next one.”

“He played fantastic,” Corbett said of Uhelski. “And we need that in order to beat the top teams in the league.”

The Chargers got huge contributions from their top offensive players, Josh Kestner and Tyler Poulsen, who each got two goals.

“Our coach always said this is playoff time, even though it’s not necessarily the playoffs,” Kestner said. “We like to treat these last remaining games as playoffs. After last night’s loss, we moved to eighth, and after tonight’s win, we moved to sixth, so that’s a huge push going into the Mankato series next weekend.”

NMU, which stayed one point ahead of Minnesota State atop the league standings, fell to 18-11-3 overall and 16-6-2 in the WCHA.

The Chargers wanted to be faster after Saturday night’s 4-3 loss, and they were at the start.

Poulsen put UAH on the board first at the 2:05 mark, a snapper during a 2-on-1 break. Max McHugh got the assist.

“Getting the first goal is always an objective of our team,” Poulsen said. “I just put one off the glass, their D pinched and he bounced off the wall and it just came to me and we had a 2-on-1. He took the pass, and I took the shot, then it went in and the boys got hyped right away.”

Northern Michigan tied the game up with 6:43 remaining in the first. Philip Beaulieu fired from inside the blue line, just getting under the crossbar.

The Wildcats had several chances to take the lead in the second period with four power plays. Seven of NMU’s 15 shots in the period were with the man advantage.

Seven of those shots were also by NMU’s and the WCHA’s leading scorer, Troy Loggins, who was denied twice by Uhelski on breakaways.

“When someone gets a breakaway and you’re the goalie, you know that it’s a one-on-one,” Uhelski said. “It’s you versus him. Just with the support from the team that I get on a daily basis, I try to do a little extra and focus a little harder to make that save. If they score, that’s a difference maker. You make the save, that’s a difference maker.

“It’s just trying having your team’s back like they have had mine all year.”

The Chargers only got three shots on goal, but also had the only goal to retake the lead. On the power play, Kestner blasted a one-timer from the left circle for his 19th goal of the season at the 11:31 mark.

“It’s just my one-timer side,” the right-winger Kestner said. “Usually the left-handed guys are on the other side, too. I’ve a lot of good D partners that feed me a pass right in the slot, and I just let it go and hope it goes in.”

That D partner this time was Brandon Parker, who tallied his sixth assist of the year, and Poulsen got his team-leading 14th assist.

Poulsen got his second goal of the game and ninth of the season on a breakaway with 9:47 left in the 3rd, giving UAH a 3-1 lead.

“I saw the puck in the middle and the D was trying to beat me to it,” Poulsen said. “I just poke checked it past him and was off to the races after that. I ended up breaking free, making a good move, and he bit.”

NMU would not go quietly in the third period. Robbie Payne knocked in a rebound on the power play to cut UAH’s lead to 3-2 with 5:27 left.

The Wildcats pulled goaltender Atte Tolvanen (11 saves) late for an extra attacker, and UAH got a power play after a Denver Pierce boarding penalty with 41 seconds left.

From there, after a couple of close calls with NMU having the extra attacker, Kestner was able to get a breakaway and score on the empty net for his 20th goal of the season with 3.7 seconds left to seal the victory.

“Not even close,” Kestner responded when asked if he imagined getting 20 goals at this point of the season. “I go day to day, game to game.”

Kestner is the first Charger to get 20 goals since the 2004-05 season when Bruce Mulherin had 24, which is also UAH’s modern Division I record, and Jared Ross scored 22.

“It was a good game,” Corbett said. “We didn’t chase the scoreboard tonight. We were ahead of the scoreboard most of the time, and it was nice for us to be able to play that way.

“We executed better. Our boys play hard. When the puck’s moving and we’re more efficient, we’re playing faster. It’s moving the puck and getting the puck up the ice. We moved the puck a heck of a lot better and forced them to chase us a little bit.”

UAH hosts Minnesota State, which was ranked No. 7 in the country in last week’s poll and is fighting for the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champion, next Friday and Saturday nights at Propst Arena. The Chargers will be looking to carry the result of this series as they fight to clinch a playoff spot for the first time in three years.

“This is a huge confidence booster,” Kestner said. “It’s one of those things where if we had gotten swept, we wouldn’t have been too motivated, too prepared for the upcoming weekend, but we’re ready to go. We don’t want to embarrass our fans on our home ice.”

“We’re looking forward to them coming in,” Uhelski said. “Although this was a great win, we’re not satisfied until we have an ‘x’ next to our name and we have a playoff spot.”

“We got to keep working on our fundamentals and keep everything simple,” Poulsen said. “The more we complicate things, the more we turn pucks over and get in trouble. They’re a good team coming in, so we’re looking to get one against them.”

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.

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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.

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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)