Chargers’ 2015-16 schedule released with 18 home games

It's good to be home. (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

It’s good to be home, where UAH will play 18 times in the 2015-16 season. (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

For the first time in 15 years, UAH is scheduled to play more home games than not.

The WCHA released its 2015-16 composite schedule on Monday, and UAH followed with the official revealing of the Chargers’ slate.

The Chargers will have 18 home games for the first time since the 2000-01 season, when UAH hosted the College Hockey America conference tournament. In terms of regular season, it’s the most home games in UAH’s modern Division I era, and the most home games against Division I teams ever. This is an exciting development given the difficulty UAH has securing home non-conference games (see UAH’s recent independent years).

In addition to the 28-game WCHA schedule, UAH will have three non-conference series, two at home, representing Hockey East and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

UAH opens the season at home for the first time since 2012 with the first of three non-conference series, Oct. 9-10 against Connecticut. UConn last came to Huntsville as a member of Atlantic Hockey to open the Chargers’ 2003-04 season, but now the Huskies represent Hockey East. UConn was expected to struggle transitioning to the East’s premier conference in its first season in 2014-15, but finished in a tie for ninth and look to be a program on the rise.

Homecoming at hockey is back as the Chargers open league play at home against Alaska-Anchorage on Oct. 23-24. UAH won both games against UAA in Huntsville last season as the Seawolves struggled to last place in the WCHA.

The Chargers hit the road for the first time at Lake Superior State, where they earned three critical points last season on the way to a WCHA playoff spot. UAH then hosts their playoff opponent from last season, Michigan Tech, on Nov. 6-7. Tech, one of three opponents who reached the NCAA tournament last season, swept the Chargers in Houghton in two games, the first being the 1-0 triple overtime marathon that saw Carmine Guerriero make 76 saves.

Bemidji State returns to Huntsville for rounds 77 of 78 of the Chargers-Beavers rivalry on Thanksgiving weekend. Rounds 79 and 80 will be in Bemidji on Feb. 26-27.

On Dec. 18-19, Colorado College comes to Huntsville after the Chargers visited Colorado Springs to open the 2014-15 campaign. The Tigers finished last in the powerful NCHC, but managed two one-goal wins over UAH, both on third-period goals.

The Chargers ring in 2016 at one of the storied programs in college hockey. UAH visits North Dakota for the first time since 1989, when the Chargers lost 12-6 and 11-5. UND, owners of seven national championships, won the NCHC regular season title and reached the Frozen Four last month.

All but six of the Chargers’ home games come before the New Year, meaning UAH will see a lot of travel down the stretch. UAH has only one series in January, February, and March. The Charges host Alaska on Jan. 8-9, defending WCHA champion and NCAA tournament participant Minnesota State on Feb. 12-13, and Bowling Green on March 4-5 to finish the regular season.

The Chargers go to the state of Alaska once, a late-January set in Anchorage.

Season ticket and Blue Line Club information will be released over the summer. For more information, call 256-UAH-PUCK.

Here is the 2015-16 UAH Charger hockey schedule. Home games are in bold, all starting at 7:07 p.m.

Oct. 9-10 – Connecticut
Oct. 23-24 – Alaska Anchorage*
Oct. 30-31 – Lake Superior State*
Nov. 6-7 – Michigan Tech*
Nov. 20-21 – Bowling Green*
Nov. 27-28 – Bemidji State*
Dec. 4-5 – Northern Michigan*
Dec. 11-12 – Minnesota State*
Dec. 18-19 – Colorado College
Jan. 1-2 – North Dakota
Jan. 8-9 – Alaska*
Jan. 15-16 – Ferris State*
Jan. 29-30 – Alaska Anchorage*
Feb. 12-13 – Minnesota State*
Feb. 19-20 – Northern Michigan*
Feb. 26-27 – Bemidji State*
March 4-5 – Bowling Green*

March 11-13 – WCHA Quarterfinals (at top four seeds)
March 18-19 – WCHA Final Five (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
March 25-27 – NCAA Tournament Regionals
April 7-9 – NCAA Frozen Four (Tampa, Fla.)

* WCHA game.


Hoof Beats: Three ways to get in

Unfortunately, the Chargers could not yet punch their ticket into the WCHA playoffs over the weekend due to the disappointing losses to Alaska in the final home series of the season. However, UAH still has three ways to clinch a playoff spot in the regular season’s final week.

Here is the bottom part of the WCHA standings. Two teams will be the seventh and eighth seeds in the WCHA playoffs, while the last-place team will be out (remember that Alaska is ineligible, meaning ninth place gets in this season). For more on playoff possibilities and predictions for the whole league, visit Geof’s WCHA Playoff Prediction Blog.

Team W L T Pts.
8. Alabama-Huntsville 7 18 1 15
8. Lake Superior State 7 18 1 15
10. Alaska-Anchorage 5 19 2 12


The Chargers need ONE of the following to happen this weekend:

1. Get a point at Bowling Green. UAH needs only a win or tie at No. 13 Bowling Green to earn a playoff berth. Getting that in front of BG’s Bleacher Creatures won’t be easy as the Falcons are 8-5-1 at home this season, and they beat the Chargers 5-0 and 4-1 in Huntsville back in October. Bowling Green is also smarting after losing to Alaska-Anchorage 6-1 on Saturday, which dropped the Falcons into the Pairwise bubble for an NCAA tournament at-large bid, so don’t look for a respite from BG even though it has locked down the third seed in the WCHA tournament. But if this was possible last season…

2. Alaska-Anchorage loses or ties. The same Alaska Nanooks who swept the Chargers over the weekend are now our strongest allies. Alaska-Anchorage must sweep their in-state rivals in Anchorage this week to stay alive (and to win the Governor’s Cup) and hope UAH gets swept to outright pass the Chargers, who have the tie-breaker over Anchorage with their sweep of the Seawolves in Huntsville on Jan. 2-3. The Seawolves stunned the Nanooks in Fairbanks back in mid-January with a pair of one-goal victories, but then lost nine in a row to plummet to the bottom of the WCHA standings before their win over Bowling Green on Saturday.

3. Lake Superior State is swept by Ferris State. UAH and Lake Superior State are tied with identical conference records (7-18-1, 15 points), and the Chargers have the tiebreaker over the Lakers with their 2-1-1 record against them this season. That means if UAH is swept by Bowling Green and Alaska-Anchorage sweeps Alaska, the Chargers would need Lake Superior to get swept and stay at 15 points to use that tiebreaker and get into the playoffs. If the Lakers get any ties or wins in this situation, UAH would be out.

Best get that point at Bowling Green and end all uncertainty.

Carmine Guerriero (Photo by Doug Eagan)

Carmine Guerriero (Photo by Doug Eagan)

Guerriero nominated for Richter Award: UAH’s Carmine Guerriero is one of 28 nominees for the 2015 Mike Richter Award, given to the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA Division I. The award is presented by Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation.

Guerriero has a .926 save percentage, which is fourth best in the WCHA and 18th best in the country. The sophomore from Montreal, Quebec has a 2.58 goals against average and has made at least 30 saves in 15 games this season, including a 54-save performance at Minnesota State on October 24.

Five finalists will be announced on March 18, with the winner being presented at the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four in Boston.

Year-end banquet date announced: The annual end-of-year UAH hockey banquet will take place at Spragins Hall on Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

The price of a ticket to the event is $25 per person, with the opportunity to sponsor a player’s dinner at the banquet for $25 as well. There will be several silent auction items at the event as well as the chance to sit with your favorite player at dinner.

Payments will be accepted at the door upon arrival. You can RSVP online, or if you have any other questions, please email UAH director of hockey operations Nick Laurila at

UAH gets the sweep! Chargers top Seawolves, 2-1


Oh man, it’s been a while since we could say that. We knew the boys had it in them to defend home ice for a full weekend, and they did it.

UAH took both games of a two-game series against a Division I opponent for the first time in nearly five years, beating Alaska-Anchorage 2-1 on Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. The Chargers won 3-2 on Friday night. It’s UAH’s first-ever sweep of a WCHA series.

The last time the Chargers did that was January 29-30, 2010, in a College Hockey America series against Niagara at the VBC.

The Chargers (5-14-3 overall, 4-10-0 WCHA) moved into sole possession of eighth place in the WCHA standings with eight points, two ahead of UAA (5-9-4, 2-8-2 WCHA) and idle Lake Superior State. UAH is one point behind seventh-place Bemidji State, which will host the Chargers next weekend (Jan. 9-10).

Carmine Guerriero had another big game, stopping 26 of 27 shots. The lone goal allowed came in the first to give UAA the early lead, but UAH scored two nice second-period goals to win a second straight game.

UAH actually had more scoring chances in the first period, but it only took one mistake to get down early. Austin Azurdia stole the puck in the UAA zone and started a two-on-one break. He kept the puck himself and beat Guerriero to give the Seawolves a 1-0 lead 6:28 into the contest on their first shot on goal.

While there was many hits on both sides during the first period, the only two penalties were slashing calls against the Chargers, one on Graeme Strukoff and another on Craig Pierce.

Despite all that, UAH outshot UAA 8-4 in the first period. But the Chargers broke out in the second period.

Near the halfway point, UAA’s Austin Coldwell cross-checked Regan Soquila. On the ensuing power play, Brandon Carlson, from the slot, redirected a Brandon Parker blast past Jared D’Amico to tie the game at 1-1 with 9:10 left. It was Carlson’s fourth goal of the season, with Parker and Max McHugh picking up assists.

Just two minutes later, Cody Marooney gets his third goal of the season to put the Chargers up front at 2-1. Marooney followed up on a big rebound from a shot off the stick of Jeff Vanderlugt, who got his fifth assist. Parker also helped for his team-leading ninth assist.

Parker’s two assists on the night earned him the first star of the game.

The Seawolves tried to get as much rubber on Guerriero as they could early in the third, notching the first five shots on goal — some on the power play after a Frank Misuraca holding penalty. UAA had 16 of their 28 shots on goal in the final frame, and Guerriero had to make key saves during the final minutes.

Anchorage’s last gasp was in the final 1:18, when D’Amico was pulled for the extra attacker and, with 45 seconds remaining, the Chargers were penalized for too many men on the ice. Guerriero came up big with two saves during UAA’s 6-on-4 situation in the waning moments.

After UAH visits Bemidji State next weekend, the Chargers return home to host Northern Michigan on Jan. 16-17.

Notes: Announced attendance was 2,143. … Max McHugh’s seven goals and 15 points lead all WCHA freshmen. … The Chargers have allowed at least one goal in 150 straight games. UAH’s last shutout was a 1-0 win over Robert Morris on March 12, 2010 in the CHA semifinals. The goaltender was current New York Rangers netminder Cam Talbot. … UAH’s last two-game sweep was actually in Dec. 2012, but that was against Division III Finlandia at the VBC. … The Seawolves have yet to win a road game this season (0-7-1).

Series Preview: vs. Alaska-Anchorage, Jan. 2-3

Happy New Year! The Chargers kick off the second half of the 2014-15 campaign with a WCHA series with the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves on Friday and Saturday. Puck drop is 7:07 p.m. both nights at the Von Braun Center.

The first 500 fans to Friday’s game receive a free set of UAH Hockey trading cards, and the first 500 at Saturday’s game get a free UAH Hockey T-shirt. Kids 12 and under get in free to both games.

Times: 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Tickets: Ticketmaster: Friday | Saturday
Complete ticket information
Promotions: Kids 12 & under get free admission
Fri.: UAH trading cards to first 500
Sat.: UAH T-shirts to first 500
Online video: (subscription)
Live stats:
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @UAAHockey
More previews:

All-time series: It’s been almost all Seawolves since the series began in 1987: UAA leads 18-2-1. Both Charger wins came in Huntsville, but those happened in 1991 and 1992. Last season saw an end to a 20-year hiatus in the series, with Anchorage going 3-0-1 against the Chargers. UAH tied the first game in Huntsville 1-1 before falling 4-1.

Chargers recap: UAH (3-14-3 overall, 2-10-0 WCHA) lost 2-1 and tied 3-3 in its final non-conference series of the season at No. 12 Omaha two weeks ago. The Chargers are winless in their last seven since beating Ferris State on Nov. 12.

In the opening game on Dec. 2o, Omaha scored goals in the first and third period to win 2-1. Jeff Vanderlugt’s tally with 11 seconds remaining in regulation averted the shutout. Carmine Guerriero made 29 saves.

On Dec. 21, the Chargers had leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but Omaha rallied to tie 3-3 with the equalizer coming with 20 seconds left in regulation. Jack Prince, Max McHugh, and Alex Carpenter.

McHugh and Vanderlugt top the Chargers with five goals apiece. McHugh now leads the team in points with 12, which is tied for the WCHA among freshmen with Minnesota State’s C.J. Franklin. Prince joins McHugh in double-digit points with 10.

Guerriero has a 2.44 goals against average. His .932 save percentage is 4th in the WCHA and tied for 12th in Division I.

UAH Tale of the tape
WCHA rank in parentheses
2-10-0 WCHA (10th)
Record 5-7-4
2-6-2 WCHA (T8th)
1.80 (9th) Goals/game 2.31 (7th)
3.15 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.81 (7th)
16.9 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 17.8 (1st)
18.3% (4th) Power play 12.8% (8th)
83.5% (6th) Penalty kill 80.5% (8th)

About the Seawolves: Alaska-Anchorage (5-7-4 overall, 2-6-2 WCHA) is ranked 12th in this week’s poll. The Seawolves will be seeing their first action in four weeks: Their last games were Dec. 5-6, where they had back-to-back ties at home against Bemidji State.

Junior Blake Thatchell is the Seawolves’ leading scorer with 12 points on three goals and nine assists. Senior Brett Cameron has five goals to lead UAA. Sophomore defenseman Chase Van Allen also has nine assists.

Freshman goaltender Olivier Mantha matches Guerriero’s goals against average at 2.44, and his .928 save percentage is fifth in the WCHA. He has one shutout, coming at home against Northern Michigan on Nov. 22.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Michigan Tech 10-2-0 20
Minnesota State 10-2-0 20
Bowling Green 8-1-1 17
Ferris State 6-4-0 12
Northern Michigan 5-5-2 12
Alaska* 5-7-0 10
Bemidji State 3-6-3 9
Lake Superior State 3-11-0 6
Alaska-Anchorage 2-6-2 6
Alabama-Huntsville 2-10-0 4
* Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: Including UAH-UAA, there are three conference series on tap this weekend. Third-ranked Minnesota State, tied with No. 5 Michigan Tech atop the league standings, visits Northern Michigan, while Ferris State starts a two-week odyssey in Alaska with a series in Fairbanks.

Tech, which beat Ferris State in the third-place game in the Great Lakes Invitational, goes to Wisconsin.

On Saturday afternoon, No. 13 Bowling Green plays outdoors for the first time, taking on No. 19 Robert Morris at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio, home of the Toledo Mud Hens, the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A minor league affiliate. Both teams meet again in Pittsburgh (back indoors) on Sunday.

Here’s the schedule for league teams the next two weeks. All times are Central. Games involving WCHA teams at home can be seen online on WCHA TV.

Friday, January 2

* Alaska-Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* #3 Minnesota State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
#5 Michigan Tech at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.

Saturday, January 3

* Alaska-Anchorage at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
* #3 Minnesota State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
#19 Robert Morris vs. #13 Bowling Green at Fifth Third Field, Toledo, Ohio, 11 a.m.
#5 Michigan Tech at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.

Sunday, January 4

#13 Bowling Green at #19 Robert Morris, 6:05 p.m.

* WCHA conference game