The 2001-10 UAH Hockey All-Decade Team

We told you back in November that we’d do this, and as a new decade for UAH Charger hockey dawns, here’s UAHHockey.com’s 2001-10 UAH Hockey All-Decade Team:

Forward Lines:

Top Line:
LW Karlis Zirnis (46G, 73A, 119Pts)
C Jared Ross (72-86–158)
RW Craig Bushey (45-67–112)

Was there any doubt that Ross would center this first line? Zirnis-Ross-Bushey was a successful line down during Karlis’s senior season, and this combination was certainly the most prolific in the past decade of UAH hockey.

Second Line:
Steve Charlebois (46-33–79)
Jason Hawes (22-64–86)
Joel Bresciani (36-29–65)

This is another line that played together for quite some time. You’d have a hard time slowing these guys down when they wanted to go to the net, and they also played spirited defense and finished their checks.

Third Line:
Bruce Mulherin (49-52–101)
Grant Selinger (33-37–70)
Cody Campbell (15-28–43)

It’s almost criminal to put Bruce on a third line. This is something that I struggled with for a while, but it came to this: Charlie was the scorer on his line, where Bruce was a happy to score and dish. In doing the research on this, I was surprised that Selinger had 70 points in his career. As for Campbell, I feel like he’s the most complete offensive player on the current Charger roster, even if he’s still sidelined with NCAA eligibility issues relating to taking one semester of classes five years ago.

Fourth Line:
Mike Funk (34-40–74)
Matt Sweazey (28-30–58)
David Nimmo (25-38–64)

Funk (6’4″, 220), Sweazey (6’1′, 195), and Nimmo (6’2″, 220) would score and bang with the best of them. Having these guys together means that none of them has to shoulder the physical burden alone, allowing each of them to let their scoring ability shine.

Black Aces:
Andrew Coburn (21–33–54)
Keenan Desmet (11-18–29 through 12/31)

Coburn gives you the flexibility to play a wing or the center, and as for Desmet, how can you deny the man who ended the final CHA tournament and put the 2009-10 Chargers into the NCAA tournament?

2010 CHA Championship: Keenan Desmet Game-Winning Goal from Geoffrey Morris on Vimeo.

Defensemen:

Top Pair:
Tyler Butler (21-60–81)
Ryan Leasa (12-41–53)

As with our top two lines, the top pair is a historical fact. If you watched these two guys play together, you don’t have any doubt that they should be on the ice together. It’s just a shame that their career in Blue and White ended on a turnover. The 2002-03 team seemed destined to get the CHA’s first automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but it would be four more years before the Chargers attained that accomplishment.

Second Pair:
Jeremy Schreiber (21-65–86)
Scott Kalinchuk (11-34-45)

I don’t know about you, but I would not want to skate into a zone with Jumbo and Chuk. These guys would complement each other, as Schreiber would be able to jump up the ice as needed to support the offense knowing that Kalinchuk is there to anchor things. While the two were on the roster at the same time during 2005-06, they were never paired by Doug Ross; Schreiber played every game with Jeff Winchester, and Kalinchuk played every game as the third-pair left defenseman. Both men captained the Chargers as well.

Third Pair:
Shaun Arvai (7-47–54)
Brandon Roshko (6-50–56)

Arvai and Roshko would be a good pairing in my book. They can each play the offensive and defensive game, and they’d move the puck well.

Reserve:
Jeff Winchester (4-41–45)

You’ve got Winchester around for three reasons: a big shot, a big body, and the ability to pummel the crap out of another player. You don’t fight in college hockey, but if you needed to take care of someone on the second night of a weekend, you could send Winch out there and know that he’d take care of business.

Goalies:
Scott Munroe (49-36-8, 2.76GAA, .918SV%)
Cameron Talbot (15-44-6, 3.03, .909SV%)
Mark Byrne (42-41-5, 3.01, .900%)

It is easy to look at the unbelievable play of Talbot down the stretch of 2009-10 and want him to be the #1 goalie. If we’re going for peak, it would be hard to argue against him; if you had just the one game to win, I’m not going to argue against you if you take Cam.

In my world, though, you have to go with Scott Munroe. Yes, he was surrounded with arguably better talent. Yes, he played on teams that won more. But Muny came in as a freshman in 2002-03 and wrested the starting job from senior Mark Byrne, who was certainly no slouch in the net himself. Munroe played 31:48 in the team’s second game at Wisconsin, stopping 15 of 16 shots, and then relieved Byrne in the 12-2 rout by Minnesota two weekends later, giving up five goals on 22 shots. Then came his first start: 52 of 56 against the reigning national champions. At that point, you knew that the Chargers had something special.

Byrne certainly shouldn’t be overlooked, as he was quite dependable for the Chargers. When Mark Byrne is your third goalie, you’re doing very well.

If you had to pick a fourth, practice goalie, it would have to be Marc Narduzzi. Why? Easy: the 2OT loss to Notre Dame. Wearing a new helmet, Blake MacNicol gave up two goals on three shots in the first 4:26 of the game. Ross switched goalies—having done this routine each of the three games in the 2007 CHA tournament, which the Chargers entered as the lowest seed—and Narduzzi played the game of his life, stopping 49 shots in the next 90:52. The only way the Irish solved Narduzzi was to get a power play opportunity, their first since the first few minutes of the second period. I can’t think of a singular goaltending feat that topped what Duzzi put together that night in Grand Rapids, in a game so amazing that ESPN2 aired the last hour or so of the game live, taking the feed from ESPNU.

Special Teams:
#1 Power Play
Funk – Ross – Bushey | Butler – Leasa
This combination worked in 2002-03, with Funk able to use his presence in the slot to free Ross to slash around while Bushey dug pucks out in the corner. You could make an argument for Zirnis or Mulherin on Ross’s left wing, as Bushey would be able to provide the grit regardless.

#2 Power Play
Zirnis – Mulherin – Bresciani | Schreiber – Roshko
Picture it: Zirnis and Mulherin cycling around or working behind the net. Bresciani planted in the slot and taking all the abuse in stride. Roshko on the point to move the puck where it needs to be. Jumbo with the big slapshot. I think that might score a goal or two.

#1 Penalty Kill
Hawes – Charlebois | Schreiber – Kalinchuk
One of my favorite things to watch while I was in school and right after I graduated was Zeus killing penalties. He was so tenacious. Charlebois was certainly no slouch, and he’d give you a chance to put in a shorthanded goal or two. Schreiber and Kalinchuk would do the smart, patient work down low, and either could move someone off of the front porch.

#2 Penalty Kill
Ross – Mulherin | Arvai – Roshko
It’s almost a shame to put two of your great scorers out there to kill penalties, but Ross was indefatigable and Mulherin had the speed and hands to disrupt things and put fear in the opposing goalie if a turnover happened. Arvai and Roshko aren’t going to make many mistakes.

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2010-11 UAH Hockey Captains

I won’t bury the lede: Ryan Burkholder returns as captain for his senior season. The alternate captains are defensemen Matt Baxter and Curtis DeBruyn and forward Chris Fairbanks.

Burkholder, a senior from Newmarket, Ontario, played in junior hockey for his hometown Newmarket Hurricanes. Over three years in Huntsville, Burkholder has been a defensive defenseman, registering just two points in his collegiate career while anchoring the Chargers’ blueline. Burkholder is the second straight two-year, defenseman captain, following in the skate trails of Scott Kalinchuk, and was awarded a Bronze Scholar Award at the 2010 UAH Athletics Banquet for having a GPA in the 3.0-3.5 range.

Baxter, a senior from Courtice, Ontario, played junior hockey for the now-defunct Bowmanville Eagles. Over three years in a Charger uniform, Baxter has netted two goals and nine assists while patrolling the Charger blue line. Baxter has also proven to be a stellar student, making the College Hockey America All-Academic team as well as being awarded a Silver Scholar Award at the 2010 UAH Athletics Banquet for having a GPA in the 3.5-3.8 range, majoring in psychology and sociology.

DeBruyn, a sophomore from Calgary, Alberta, played junior hockey for the Olds Grizzlys. In his first season in Huntsville, played in 32 of the team’s 33 contests, netting one goal and six assists. DeBruyn is majoring in finance at UAH, and was awarded a Bronze Scholar Award at the 2010 UAH Athletics Banquet for having a GPA in the 3.0-3.5 range.

Fairbanks, a senior from Milford, Michigan, is the nephew of former Charger Mike Fairbanks and played junior hockey with the Mahoning Valley (now Youngstown) Phantoms. Fairbanks is fifth among returning scorers from the 2009-10 team, and has netted eight goals and six assists in 70 games for the Chargers and was awarded a Bronze Scholar Award at the 2010 UAH Athletics Banquet for having a GPA in the 3.0-3.5 range.

I know all four young men well, and they have shown themselves to be true Chargers, setting their foundations for success on and off the ice with character and discipline. Their work ethic shows both in their play on the ice and their performance in the classroom. Each has made significant strides each year in the Blue and White, and every Charger fan can be proud that they represent this program, our university, and the city of Huntsville. They will lead the team well this season. (Photos courtesy of Doug Eagan.)

Helping One of Our Own

If you’ve ever been to a game, you know who Geof Morris is. He’s the loudest voice in the VBC, head rabble-rouser in the former Section 24, and the only man to ever get tossed out of a game by an over-zealous, one-legged Zamboni driver. He’s the driving force behind SaveUAHHockey.com, UAHHockey.com, and the president of the Blue Line Club. But more than all those things, Geof is my friend.

Geof is in a tough place right now. I won’t trespass into the details of what exactly has transpired, but suffice it to say, he could use some words of encouragement right now. Therefore, I humbly ask that you take a moment to consider sending a note to our beloved loud-mouth. It needn’t be much, but any kind words you have for Geof would appreciated.

Please send anything you may have to say to jamie.gilliam@uah.edu, and Jamie will see to it that those words are hand delivered to our friend.

Thank you,
Will

Official UAH Hockey Facebook Fan Page and Twitter

Last night, Will and I met with Coach Luongo, and he asked that we start an official Facebook fan page for UAH Hockey. Being the willing and capable folks that we are, this is now up and running. If you’re on Facebook, we’d encourage you to Like us there to show your support for your Chargers. You can find links to find us on Facebook over in the sidebar.

We’ve separated this from the Save UAH Hockey page on Facebook, because that’s been more of a national effort of college hockey fans in general to keep our now-independent program afloat.

If you’re a Twitter user, @UAHHockey is us, too.

37 days until the Ferris State game!

2010-11 Robert Morris Series Moved to Huntsville; Schedule Released

When Chris Luongo was announced at the new head coach of UAH Hockey, UAH Athletic Director Jim Harris indicated that UAH would be playing a series against former College Hockey America foe Robert Morris in the Birmingham, Ala. area. This series has since been re-scheduled to happen in Huntsville.

The full 2010-11 UAH schedule should be released soon.

6:00 p.m.: The full UAH 2010-11 hockey schedule is now released. The press release announcing the schedule is below:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Highlighted by a number of perennial powerhouses and a series at Bridgestone Arena, the home of the Nashville Predators, in Nashville, the Alabama-Huntsville Charger begins the Chris Luongo era with the toughest schedule in recent history.

“I am very excited about the 2010-11 schedule,” noted Luongo. “It is unprecedented in that we play multiple weekends against every league. We will compete against some of the biggest names in college hockey as well as welcome some old friends back to the VBC. Our Student-Athletes will have the most unique experience in NCAA Division I hockey this season.”

UAH opens the season at home welcoming CCHA foe Ferris State to the friendly confines of the Von Braun Center on October 7th and 8th. Following the opening series against the Bulldogs, the Chargers hit the road for four straight series starting off with a two-game set at 2010 national runner-up Wisconsin on Oct. 15th and 17th followed by an Oct. 22-23 series at Bowling Green. Luongo returns to his alma mater on Oct. 29th and 30th for a series at Michigan State before the Chargers wrap up the road swing at Ohio State on Nov. 5th and 6th.

The Friars of Providence make their first return to the “Rocket City” since 1989 for a two-game set on Nov. 11th and 12th. UAH wraps up the month of November at the 60th Annual Rensselaer Holiday Tournament in Troy. N.Y. The Chargers take on Bowling Green in the opening round of the event and will take on UConn or host RPI in the second round.

Former CHA foe Robert Morris comes to the Von Braun Center on Dec. 11th and 12th in a battle of the two former conference mates. A Dec. 16-17 trip to Mercyhurst wraps up the first half of the season before the Christmas break.

The Chargers return home to welcome in the New Year hosting RPI on Dec. 30th and 31st before welcoming long-time rival Bemidji State on Jan. 7th and 8th continuing the series between the two institutions.

Jan. 14th and 15th will see the Chargers take a trek up I-65 to take on Merrimack in the “Music City” at Bridgestone Arena. It marks the first meetings between the Warriors and Chargers since the 1993-94 season. A six-game swing finishes the road portion of the schedule for UAH with a Jan. 21-22 set at WCHA foe Colorado College followed by a Jan. 28-29 series at Nebraska-Omaha. The Chargers then finish the regular season how they began with a pair of contests against Ferris State. This time, on the Bulldog’s home ice in Big Rapids, Mich.

UAH wraps up the 2010-11 home slate on Feb. 25-26 hosing the US National Development U-18 Team for a pair of contests at the Von Braun Center.

Season tickets go on sale in September and may be purchased by calling 256-824-6144

See you at the VBC!