Middle-period miscues cost Chargers in loss to Bemidji

The Chargers scored on their first shot of the game, but a sequence of misplays in the second period was the difference in Friday’s 5-3 loss to Bemidji State in northern Minnesota.

UAH remains winless at 0-10-1 overall and 0-6-1 in WCHA play. Bemidji State improved to 5-4-2 and 5-2-0. Game two of the series is Saturday at 6:07 p.m.


UAH took the lead at the 2:50 mark when Connor Merkley, back in the lineup after missing five games due to injury, fired a one-timer from the right slot to beat BSU goaltender Zach Driscoll.

Ben Allen, making his season debut, made the cross-ice pass for the primary assist. Max Coyle got the other assist for his first collegiate point.

Bemidji State tied the game on the power play after UAH was caught having too many men on the ice. Tommy Muck scored from the high slot as UAH goalie Mark Sinclair had a Beaver on top of him. Video review determined a Charger pushed the Beaver into the crease, and the goal was confirmed with 13:40 left in the first.

The Beavers scored their second power play goal in two opportunities with 5:48 left in the period. After four quick consecutive Charger blocks, an Adam Brady shot was deflected by a skate and in.

Bad mistakes allowed BSU to up its lead to 4-1. First was a misplay right in front of Sinclair, allowing Alex Adams to pounce with a backhander with 15:22 left in the second.

Adams scored again just 24 seconds later on another turnover and another backhander in the slot.

Sinclair, who couldn’t have done much to stop the onslaught, was pulled at that point for David Fessenden. Sinclair had made 15 saves on 19 shots.

UAH cut Bemidji’s lead to 4-2 when Austin Beaulieu redirected a Tanner Hickey shot from the left point over Driscoll with 2:26 remaining in the second. It was the senior captain’s first goal of the season.

The second intermission came early with 1:52 left on the clock. Ice issues around the UAH net forced the teams to the locker room early.

The last 1:52 was played followed immediately by the start of the third period.

Tyler Kirkup scored with 6:56 to go to put BSU up 5-2.

UAH answered right back with 6:00 left as Liam Izyk scored his first college goal, a point-blank rebound after another Hickey shot. Hickey and Christian Rajic with the assists.

After BSU outshot UAH 27-7 in the first two periods, the Chargers had a 10-6 shots advantage in the third as they tried to mount a comeback.

Fessenden finished with 14 saves on 15 shots faced.


Chargers drop 3-1 decision to UAA

The search for a win incredibly continues.

Alaska Anchorage scored with 3:05 remaining in the third period, then added an empty-netter to defeat UAH 3-1 at the Von Braun Center on Saturday.

Alaska Anchorage (2-4-2 overall, 2-1-1 WCHA) came to Huntsville and took five of six points in the WCHA series, which seemed to be the best chance so far for the Chargers to finally taste victory. The teams tied 4-4 on Friday with the Seawolves taking the shootout.


This loss will fester for a bit. UAH (0-9-1, 0-5-1) is off next week before heading to Bemidji State on November 22-23.

“We’ve got to get our game crisper,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “We’ve got to get more consistent. We’ve got to be able to move pucks and let pucks do the work, especially on nights like tonight when maybe we don’t have our best legs.”

The Chargers almost started the game with a bang just like Friday night when Peyton Francis had a breakaway in the first 17 seconds, but he was stopped by UAA goaltender Kristian Stead.

There wasn’t that much action after that until Tanner Schachle committed a major boarding penalty with a game misconduct, ending his night 12:34 in. UAH then had a short two-man advantage after an Alex Frye slashing penalty.

UAH failed to score with the over six minutes of power play time, but not without peppering Stead with pucks. The Chargers finished the first period with a 16-2 shots on goal advantage, but the game remained scoreless.

The first half of the second period saw the Seawolves get the first nine shots on goal, but it was the Chargers who got the first goal.

On a power play, Brandon Salerno backhanded a rebound at the Stead’s doorstep to put UAH up 1-0 with 6:12 remaining in the second. Tanner Hickey and Connor James had the assists.

However, the Chargers did not pick up Trey DeGraaf, who 86 seconds later tied the game at 1-1, also on a rebound in the slot.

The Seawolves continued to dominate the share of scoring opportunities into the third period. From the second period on, UAA outshot the Chargers 26-10.

“We had to get a spark,” Corbett said. “We had to get something going, and we didn’t have the energy to get it going.

“They pressured us a lot. We knew what they were going to do. We just have to be able to handle that pressure. You’ve got to be in shape and you’ve got to be able to play 60-plus minutes to be able to handle that pressure consistently.”

Anchorage’s game-winning goal came off the stick of DeGraaf, who deflected Carmine Buono’s blast from the left point. The puck somehow found its way past UAH goalie David Fessenden to make it 2-1.

Fessenden, who was making his third start, finished with 25 saves.

“I thought he was solid,” Corbett said of Fessenden’s effort. “All you want your goalie to do is give you a chance to win and I think he gave us a chance to win. He played hard and competed in his first home start.”

With Fessenden pulled for the extra attacker, Alex Frye sealed the Chargers’ fate with 8.8 second remaining with an empty-net goal.


UAH rallies in third to tie Anchorage

The Chargers rallied from two goals down in the third to force a 4-4 tie with Alaska Anchorage at the Von Braun Center on Friday night.

Anchorage took two points in the WCHA standings after taking the shootout in two rounds, while UAH got its first league point of the season.

UAH (0-8-1 overall, 0-4-1-0 WCHA) reached a season high in goals and outshot the Seawolves 37-32. The Chargers will try again for their first victory in game two of the series at 7 p.m. on Saturday.


“We’re always talking about possessing the puck and having the puck more,” UAH head coach Mike Corbett said. “It was our third straight game where we outshot a team and that’s exactly what we want to do.”

It was the second straight tie for Alaska Anchorage (1-4-2 overall, 1-1-1-1 WCHA).

UAH got on the board quickly as Josh Latta scored his first collegiate goal just 34 seconds in. Latta picked the puck inside the UAH blue line and broke away, beating UAA goaltender Kristian Stead.

Stead (33 saves) had to deal with other breakaways in the first period, but was able to make saves on Peyton Francis and Bauer Neudecker.

“We scored on a breakaway with the first goal,” Corbett said. “We had two other breakaways in the first period. We’re getting those opportunities and we have to capitalize on them.”

The Seawolves tied the game at 1-1 with 9:45 left in the first as Drake Glover tucked the puck around the left post by Mark Sinclair (28 saves).

UAA went up 2-1 on a Tanner Schachle goal at the 2:34 mark of the second, finishing a one-timer all alone in front following a UAH turnover.

The Chargers answered with 11:14 remaining when Christian Rajic, not long after serving an elbowing penalty, put in a rebound to tie the game at 2-2.

“We’re starting to put some minutes together,” said Rajic, who had a three-point night. “It’s just unfortunate that we can’t put 60. As soon as we do that, we’re going to start winning some games.”

UAH continued to put on pressure but two lapses gave UAA two-goal lead.

Jared Nash drove to the net, cut across Sinclair right to left and scored with 6:58 left in the second. Then after a bad pass in the UAH zone, Taylor Lantz made it 4-2 UAA with 3:05 to go.

“We made big mistakes that ended up in our net,” Corbett said. “Just being hard on pucks and being able to support each other — those are the biggest things we really need to work on going into tomorrow.”

But the Chargers roared to life in the third period.

Jack Jeffers notched his third goal of the season at the 1:32 mark, assisted by Rajic and Latta.

“That was huge for us,” Corbett said. “We didn’t feel great about ourselves going into the locker room after (the second period). We came out and got that goal early right after the power play expired and was able to roll with that.”

Then on a short 5-on-3 power play, the Chargers tied it up at 4-4 on Dayne Finnson’s first college goal, a one-timer blast from the right circle with 8:12 remaining in regulation. Jeffers and Rajic got the assists.

“I was lucky enough,” Finnson said. “Jack put it right there on the tapes so I just ripped it.”

“It started off with our leaders,” Finnson said of the third-period rally. “They pushed the pace in the third and we followed up with that.”

“Dayne was having a really good game and we just kind of rode him,” Corbett said. “He’s done a lot of it in practice and it’s nice for him to be rewarded.”

The Seawolves came close to winning late in regulation and in the first overtime, but Sinclair made crucial saves to force the tie.

No scoring occurred in the 3-on-3 overtime period, although the Chargers were shorthanded in the final 1:45.

In the shootout, Jack Jeffers and Christian Rajic did not score. Sinclair made a save in the first round against Nick Wicks, but Brayden Camrud scored in the second round to earn the extra point for UAA.

“We’re going to keep moving forward here, forget about this one, and look forward to tomorrow,” Finnson said.


Chargers lose another close one at NMU

The Chargers outshot the opponent for the first time this season, and even that wasn’t enough to get their first win of the season.

UAH lost to Northern Michigan 4-2 on Saturday, a sweep for the 20th-ranked Wildcats despite the best effort the Chargers have had all season.

The Chargers (0-8 overall, 0-4 WCHA) can take their frustrations out on Alaska Anchorage at the Von Braun Center next week.

NMU (6-1-1, 4-0-0) extended its unbeaten streak to seven games although the Chargers outshot the Wildcats 27-24. They needed another empty-net goal at the end before they could breathe.

The Wildcats scored first on the power play following a Max Coyle slashing penalty. Vincent De May beat UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair (19 saves) high on a one-timer from the left circle at the 8:16 mark

UAH tied the game with 4:22 remaining in the first. Austin Beaulieu did a spin move to a cross-ice pass to Christian Rajic, who scored his second goal of the season.

Beaulieu and Liam Izyk got the assists for their first points of the season, and for Izyk his college career.

NMU regained the lead at 2-1 early in the second period. Caleb Schroer slid away from the defender in the slot and beat Sinclair stick-side.

With 12:38 left in the second, Jarrett Lee was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind.

UAH quickly took advantage to tie the game at 2-2. Ten seconds into the long advantage, Tyr Thompson had an open net on the left side for his second goal of the season.

Latta was the one who found Thompson from the slot, netting his fifth assist of the year. Rajic also got an assist to become the first Charger with a multi-point game this season.

The Chargers used the power play to build a few shots on goal on NMU goaltender Nolan Kent (25 saves), but could not get the lead.

After the Wildcats killed the major penalty, they regained the lead a third time. Andre Ghantous had a loose puck come to him in the slot and scored with 6:45 left in the second.

UAH outshot NMU 15-8 in the second period, but was outscored 2-1.

The third period was mostly uneventful until the teams got a little chippy with under seven minutes to go, but there were no penalties called.

Like Friday, UAH pulled Sinclair with just over two minutes to go. And, like Friday, NMU sealed the win with an empty net goal with 58 seconds to go, this time by Griffin Loughran.

Pictured: Christian Rajic. Photo by Todd Thompson/Rivercat Photography.


Charger offense perks up, but falls short at NMU

The Chargers got more shots. The Chargers got more goals. But it wasn’t enough for the Chargers to get their first win.

UAH lost to Northern Michigan 5-3 on Friday in Marquette, Mich., dropping the Chargers to 0-7 on the season and 0-3 in WCHA play.

The shots on goal were 32 for each team. For UAH, it was more than double the 15.8 per-game average through its first six games.

NMU, ranked No. 20, improved to 5-1-1 overall and 3-0-0 in the WCHA.

Game two of the series is Saturday at 5 p.m. Central Time.

It didn’t take long for the Chargers to finally get their first lead of the season. Josh Latta centered the puck from the left circle to Jack Jeffers, who buried his second goal of the season just 19 seconds in.

Latta leads the Chargers with four assists.

Rylan Yaremko tied the game for NMU at the 8:08 mark, but UAH got the lead right back just 22 seconds later. Connor Wood was the recipient of a turnover and snapped the puck over goaltender John Hawthorne.

Right then UAH already had its first multi-goal game of the season.

But the Chargers coughed up the lead in the first 2:02 of the second period.

NMU tied the game 2-2 during an abbreviated power play as Griffin Loughran deflected a Philip Beaulieu blast up the middle 57 seconds in.

Then the Wildcats went up 3-2 as Andre Ghantous beat Mark Sinclair from the right circle.

NMU finished a three-goal second period with a Darien Craighead tally with 3:21 remaining.

Being down two to start the third was trouble enough, but UAH also had to kill a major power play after Dayne Finnson checked Drew Newhouse from behind as the second period expired.

The Chargers killed the penalty, with some help from NMU’s Michael Van Unen, who kneed Wood.

UAH then got to work on trimming its deficit. With 13:31 remaining, Daneel Lategan scored his first collegiate goal with a slapper from the right circle to cut NMU’s lead to 4-3.

The Chargers showed some fight in the third, outshooting the Wildcats 15-9 in the period. UAH popped some shots on Hawthorne (29 saves) during two third-period plays.

But UAH didn’t convert, and Philip Beaulieu sealed the NMU victory with :57 remaining with a empty-net goal from near his own goal line.

Sinclair finished with 27 saves.