Kestner makes Second Team All-WCHA

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner (Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography)

Josh Kestner was named to the All-WCHA Second Team on Thursday, becoming the first Charger to reach that high in all-league honors.

Kestner tied the UAH modern Division I era record with 24 goals this season. The senior’s 32 points were the most by a Charger since the 2006-07 season. Kestner tied for the WCHA lead with 19 goals in conference play, while scoring a league-best nine goals on the power play.

Kestner finished his UAH career with 44 goals, sixth most in the modern Division I era.

It marks the second straight year a Charger made the all-WCHA teams. Kurt Gosselin became the first with third team honors last season, and Max McHugh made the all-rookie team for 2014-15.

Kestner signed an amateur tryout contract with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, the Maple Leafs’ top affiliate.

In addition, 15 UAH players made the 2017-18 WCHA All-Academic Team. These Chargers have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 for the previous two semesters, or an overall GPA of at least 3.0 for all terms:

Austin Beaulieu (So., F, Coral Springs, Fla.); Richard Buri (Sr., D, Nitra, Slovakia); Cody Champagne (Sr., D, Brookfield, Conn.); Hans Gorowsky (Jr., F, Lino Lakes, Minn.); Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, Brighton, Mich.); Connor James (So., D, Wainwright, Alberta); Josh Kestner (Sr., F, Huntsville, Ala.); Cam Knight (Jr., D, North Reading, Mass.); Max McHugh (Sr., F, Seattle, Wash.); Brandon Parker (Sr., D, Fairbault, Minn.); Sean Rappleyea (So., D, Sayreville, NJ); Teddy Rotenberger (Fr., D, Huntsville, Ala.); Brandon Salerno (So., F, Toronto, Ontario); John Teets (Jr., D, Fairbanks, Alaska); Jordan Uhleski (Sr., G, Flint, Mich.); Adam Wilcox (Jr., F, Alpharetta, Ga.).

UAH picked to finish 9th in WCHA preseason polls

Kurt Gosselin (Photo by UAH Athletics)

The UAH Chargers were picked to finish ninth in the WCHA this season, according to both the media and coaches preseason polls released Monday.

The Chargers just missed the WCHA playoffs with a ninth-place finish last season.

Both the media and coaches’ polls were identical in ranking the teams. Minnesota State, which returns many of the major players in their league-leading offense, is the overwhelming favorite, with defending MacNaughton Cup champion Bemidji State in second.

In the media poll, UAH’s Kurt Gosselin was named to the preseason all-WCHA first team. Gosselin, who was named all-WCHA third team at the end of last season, received votes for preseason all-WCHA among the coaches.

The media poll was conducted by Geof Morris of UAHHockey.com. The coaches’ poll was conducted by Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press.

2017-18 UAHHockey.com WCHA Men’s Preseason Media Poll
First-place votes in parentheses.

  1. Minnesota State (12), 137 pts.
  2. Bemidji State, 115
  3. Michigan Tech (1), 110
  4. Bowling Green (1), 108
  5. Ferris State, 81
  6. Lake Superior State, 62
  7. Northern Michigan, 59
  8. Alaska, 43
  9. UAH, 36
  10. Alaska Anchorage, 19

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year:
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State

Preseason All-WCHA First Team:
Mitch McLain, Sr., F, Bowling Green
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State
Corey Mackin, Jr., F, Ferris State
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Kurt Gosselin, Jr., D, UAH
Michael Bitzer, Sr., G, Bemidji State

Preseason All-WCHA Second Team:
Gerry Fitzgerald, Sr., F, Bemidji State
C.J. Seuss, Sr., F, Minnesota State
Joel L’Esperance, Sr., F, Michigan Tech
Mitch Reinke, So., D, Michigan Tech
Mark Auk, Sr., D, Michigan Tech
Atte Tolvanen, Jr., G, Northern Michigan

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Kyle Bauman, Sr., Bemidji State; Gavin Gould, So., Michigan Tech; J.T. Henke, Sr., Lake Superior State; Max Humitz, So., Lake Superior State; Brad McClure, Sr., Minnesota State; Tyler Spezia, Sr., Bowling Green. Defensemen – Clint Lewis, Sr., Minnesota State; Alec Rauhauser, So., Bowling Green; Joe Rutkowski, So., Ferris State; Collin Saccoman, So., Lake Superior State; Ian Scheid, So., Minnesota State; David Trinkberger, So., Alaska Anchorage; Zach Whitecloud, So., Bemidji State; Justin Woods, Sr., Alaska. Goaltenders – Justin Kapelmaster, So., Ferris State; Olivier Mantha, Sr., Alaska Anchorage; Jason Pawloski, Jr., Minnesota State.

2017-18 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll
First-place votes in parentheses.

  1. Minnesota State (9), 90 pts.
  2. Bemidji State (1), 81
  3. Michigan Tech, 70
  4. Bowling Green, 67
  5. Ferris State, 59
  6. Lake Superior State, 51
  7. Northern Michigan, 40
  8. Alaska, 35
  9. UAH, 29
  10. Alaska Anchorage, 18

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year: 
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year:
Jake Jaremko, F, Minnesota State

Preseason All-WCHA Team:
Mitch McLain, Sr., F, Bowling Green
Marc Michaelis, So., F, Minnesota State
C.J. Seuss, Sr., F, Minnesota State
Daniel Brickley, Jr., D, Minnesota State
Mark Auk, Sr., D, Michigan Tech
Michael Bitzer, Sr., G, Bemidji State

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Gerry Fitzgerald, Sr., Bemidji State; J.T. Henke, Sr., Lake Superior State; Corey Mackin, Jr., Ferris State; Tyler Spezia, Sr., Bowling Green. Defensemen – Zach Frye, Sr., D, Alaska; Kurt Gosselin, Jr., Alabama Huntsville; Mitch Reinke, So., Michigan Tech; Ian Scheid, So., Minnesota State. Goaltender – Olivier Mantha, Sr., Alaska Anchorage.

Gosselin named to all-WCHA third team

Kurt Gosselin (Photo by UAH Athletics)

UAH sophomore defenseman Kurt Gosselin was named third-team All-WCHA on Thursday, as the league announced its postseason awards. He becomes the first Charger to earn a spot on the All-WCHA first, second, or third teams.

Gosselin scored nine goals this season, tied for the team lead and tops among all WCHA defensemen. He and teammate Cam Knight were tied for fourth among WCHA defensemen with 18 league points.

Gosselin becomes the first Charger to earn all-WCHA honors since Max McHugh made the all-rookie team in 2015.

In addition, 19 Chargers were named to the WCHA All-Academic Team: Hunter Anderson, Richard Buri, Cody Champagne, Madison Dunn, Brent Fletcher, Hans Gorowsky, Kurt Gosselin, Jetlan Houcher, Josh Kestner, Cam Knight, Matt Larose, Max McHugh, Brandon Parker, Brandon Salerno, Matt Salhany, Regan Soquila, John Teets, Jordan Uhelski and Adam Wilcox.

The WCHA All-Academic Team includes student-athletes who earned a 3.0 grade point average or higher over the last two semesters.

Salhany signs with Reading: Forward Matt Salhany has signed a standard player contract with the ECHL’s Reading Royals, who announced the deal Thursday.

Salhany finished his UAH career with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points in 137 games. The Warwick, R.I. native had seven goals and 13 points as he played all 34 games in his recently-completed senior season.

Final day playoff scenarios

It’s going to be a frantic couple of hours tonight as the Chargers get once last chance to make this year’s WCHA playoffs.

UAH plays Bowling Green tonight at the Slater Family Ice Arena at 6 p.m. Central Time for the regular-season finale.

UAH lost 7-0 on Friday in the series opener. Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan also lost, making for no change in 7th through 9th place in the WCHA standings.

Lake Superior has 33 points, Northern Michigan has 31, and UAH has 30. One of these teams will not make the playoffs.

For UAH to get in, they have to get more points against Bowling Green than Northern Michigan gets at home against Michigan Tech tonight. The Chargers will have the tiebreaker advantage over the Wildcats, either by having more conference wins (“B” tiebreaker) or having swept NMU earlier this season (“D” tiebreaker).

In summary, UAH gets a playoff berth if:

  • UAH wins (3 pts) and NMU ties (1-2 pts) or loses (0 pts).
  • UAH ties and wins in 3×3 OT/shootout (2 pts) and NMU loses in 3×3 OT/shootout (1 pt) or regulation (0 pts).
  • UAH ties and loses in 3×3 OT/shootout (1 pt) and NMU loses in regulation (0 pts).

If UAH loses in regulation, or if NMU wins in regulation, it’s over.

The above alone would ensure UAH the 8th seed. There is also a scenario where UAH would get the 7th seed, but UAH, NMU, and Lake Superior must finish in a three-way tie, which is only possible if:

  • UAH wins (in regulation).
  • Lake Superior loses to Ferris State (in regulation).
  • Northern Michigan ties Michigan Tech and wins in 3×3 OT/shootout.

In fact, this is the only way Lake Superior does not get in — they would be the odd team out with the fewest conference wins of the three.

Elsewhere:

  • Michigan Tech secured the 2nd seed with its win over Northern Michigan. Minnesota State will be the 3rd seed after losing to Bemidji State.
  • Bowling Green and Ferris State will meet in the first round in the 4-5 matchup — now it’s a question of where it will be. They are tied for 4th, with BGSU holding the tiebreaker for home ice.
  • Alaska clinched the 6th seed and will go to Minnesota State in the first round.
  • Alaska Anchorage is eliminated and will finish 10th after its loss to Alaska.

Full list of playoff scenarios by the WCHA

Stage is set for UAH’s final chance at the WCHA playoffs

WCHA standings
Top 8 make playoffs
Pts. Record Next
x-Bemidji State 61 19-5-2-2 vs. MSU
y-Michigan Tech 51 14-6-6-3 at/vs. NMU
y-Minnesota State 48 14-8-4-2 at BSU
z-Bowling Green 38 12-13-1-1 vs. UAH
z-Ferris State 38 11-12-3-2 at LSSU
Alaska 34 9-13-4-3 at UAA
Lake Superior 33 8-12-6-3 vs. FSU
N. Michigan 31 9-14-3-1 vs./at MTU
UAH 30 9-14-3-0 at BGSU
AK-Anchorage 26 6-14-6-2 vs. UAF
x-Clinched regular season championship
y-Clinched home ice in first round
z-Clinched playoff berth

The Chargers are very much alive for a WCHA playoff spot after the results of league games during UAH’s bye week.

UAH, currently in ninth place with 30 points, is on the outside looking in heading into the regular-season final series at Bowling Green. The Chargers will need points against the Falcons and some outside help to reach the postseason.

UAH got some help this weekend with Northern Michigan getting swept by Minnesota State in Mankato, keeping the Wildcats only one point ahead of UAH with that eighth and final playoff spot.

If the Chargers can get one more point at Bowling Green than NMU can get at home against Michigan Tech, UAH should take eighth. UAH has the “D” tiebreaker (head-to-head with fewer than four games played) over Northern Michigan thanks to its sweep in Marquette in December.

UAH could reach as high as sixth place, but they’ll need to sweep Bowling Green and get a lot of help.

Here are the matchups for the final week of the WCHA regular season:

UAH at Bowling Green: The Falcons swept the Chargers in Huntsville by scores of 4-1 and 8-3, but the games were closer than the scores indicate. The first game was a one-goal affair until BG scored with less than two minutes to go and then added an empty-netter. UAH had the lead going into the third in the second game and was down only one halfway through the third before the Falcons again added another late goal and empty-netter (plus two garbage goals afterward). Last season, UAH stunned Bowling Green with a 7-5 win in the final weekend.

The Falcons will have something to play for themselves, however. They are tied with Ferris State for fourth place, which gets you home-ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.

Michigan Tech at/vs. Northern Michigan: This is the most important series to keep an eye on if you’re a Charger fan. The Huskies and Wildcats will play at NMU on Friday and at MTU on Saturday. Back in October, Michigan Tech swept a home-and-home series over Northern Michigan 2-0 and 5-1.

Michigan Tech has secured home-ice in the first round, but could be home for the semifinals as well should it hold off Minnesota State for the second seed.

Ferris State at Lake Superior State: Lake Superior State is in seventh, three points ahead of UAH. The Lakers own the “A” tiebreaker (head-to-head) by winning all four meetings with the Chargers this season. UAH will need at least a win and a tie against Bowling Green and Lake Superior to be swept for the Chargers to pass them.

Ferris State swept LSSU in the series at Ferris in November. The Bulldogs are tied with Bowling Green for fourth place and home ice in the first round.

Alaska at Alaska Anchorage: Alaska is in sixth, four points ahead of UAH. The Nanooks also have the “A” tiebreaker over UAH with a 2-1-1 head-to-head record.  UAH will likely need to sweep Bowling Green and Anchorage to sweep Alaska for the Chargers to catch the Nanooks.

The teams split the first half of their Governor’s Cup series in Anchorage in December. Anchorage has to sweep Alaska and needs UAH and NMU to be swept to make the playoffs.

Minnesota State at Bemidji State: This series has no bearing on UAH’s chances. The Beavers will be celebrating their MacNaughton Cup win while the Mavericks try to snatch the second seed from Michigan Tech.