McHugh named to WCHA All-Rookie Team

Max McHugh

Max McHugh

Max McHugh, UAH’s freshman forward from Seattle, was named to the All-Rookie Team among the 2014-15 WCHA Awards announced Thursday.

McHugh is the Chargers’ leading scorer with 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points, the most for a UAH player since the 2006-07. He had 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in WCHA play this season, which was third among all rookies in the league and tied for 19th among freshmen in NCAA Division I.

McHugh has played in all 36 of UAH’s games this season, winning the WCHA Rookie of the Week Award twice. His 12 goals are tied for 12th among all players in the WCHA.

The league also announced its all-academic team, featuring 13 Chargers: Chad Brears (Jr., F, Cold Lake, Alberta, 2013-14 WCHA Outstanding Scholar-Athlete of the Year); Brandon Carlson (So., D, Huntington Beach, Calif.); Alex Carpenter (Jr., F, Portage, Mich.); Brent Fletcher (So., F, New Westminster, British Columbia); Matt Larose (So., G, Nanaimo, British Columbia); Frank Misuraca (Jr., D, Clinton Township, Mich.); Craig Pierce (Sr., F, Roswell, Ga.); Jack Prince (Jr., F, Leicester, England); Doug Reid (Sr., F, Innisfil, Ontario); Ben Reinhardt (Sr., D, Arnprior, Ontario); Regan Soquila (So., F, Maple Ridge, British Columbia); Jeff Vanderlugt (Sr., F, Richmond Hill, Ontario); Anderson White (Jr., D, Caledon, Ontario).

2014-15 WCHA Awards

Player of the Year – Tanner Kero, Sr., F, Michigan Tech
Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year – Tanner Kero, Sr., F, Michigan Tech
Defensive Player of the Year – Colton Parayko, Jr., D, Alaska
Rookie of the Year – Michael Bitzer, Fr., G, Bemidji State
Scoring Champion – Tanner Kero, Sr., F, Michigan Tech
Goaltending Champion – Stephon Williams, Jr., G, Minnesota State
Coach of the Year – Mike Hastings, Minnesota State

2014-15 All-WCHA First Team

Forwards: Tanner Kero, Sr., Michigan Tech; Matt Leitner, Sr., Minnesota State; Tyler Morley, Jr., Alaska
Defensemen: Colton Parayko, Jr., Alaska; Zach Palmquist, Sr., Minnesota State
Goaltender: Jamie Phillips, Jr., Michigan Tech

2014-15 All-WCHA Second Team

Forwards: Bryce Gervais, Jr., Minnesota State; Alex Petan, Jr., Michigan Tech; Malcolm Gould, Jr., Michigan Tech
Defensemen: Matt Prapavessis, Sr., Bemidji State; Casey Nelson, So., Minnesota State
Goaltender: Stephon Williams, Jr., Minnesota State

2014-15 All-WCHA Third Team

Forwards: Blake Pietila, Sr., Michigan Tech; Marcus Basara, So. Alaska; Brendan Harms, So., Bemidji State and Blake Tatchell, Sr., Alaska Anchorage (tied)
Defensemen: Shane Hanna, So., Michigan Tech; Brock Maschmeyer, So., Northern Michigan
Goaltender: CJ Motte, Sr., Ferris State

2014-15 WCHA All-Rookie Team

Forwards: Brandon Hawkins, Bowling Green; C.J. Franklin, Minnesota State; Max McHugh, Alabama Huntsville
Defensemen: Mark Friedman, Bowling Green; Nolan Valleau, Bowling Green
Goaltender: Michael Bitzer, Bemidji State

Series Preview: vs. Alaska, Feb. 27-28

CATCHING THE 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.: Mini shuttles to first 500
Online video: WCHA.tv (subscription)
Live stats: UAHChargers.com
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @Alaska_Hockey

Three points. That’s the magic number for the Chargers as they host Alaska this weekend as a WCHA playoff berth is in sight. Puck drop is at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights in the Chargers’ final home games of the season.

A minimum of a win and a tie puts UAH in the WCHA playoffs for the first time. Consequently, a loss and a tie for Alaska-Anchorage against Bowling Green also does the trick, or any combination of points for UAH and points against UAA totaling three.

Friday night, the first 500 fans receive a set of UAH hockey trading cards. Saturday night is Senior Night, and the first 500 fans receive a free mini space shuttle courtesy of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Kids 12 and under get in free to both games, courtesy Huntsville International Airport.

All-time series: The Chargers are 6-16-1 all-time against the Nanooks, and 3-4-1 in Huntsville. Alaska has won the last eight meetings, with UAH’s last victory coming on Jan. 11, 1992 — when Alaska forfeited a 8-3 win for using an ineligible player. The Chargers last “true” win came the day before, 6-1, at the Von Braun Center.

The two teams met in Fairbanks earlier this season, with the Nanooks taking both games: 2-1 in overtime and 4-0.

Jeff Vanderlugt

Jeff Vanderlugt scored his sixth goal of the season against Ferris State. (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

Charger recap: UAH (8-20-4 overall, 7-16-1 WCHA) lost a pair of one-goal games at home to Ferris State.

On Friday, Ferris State dominated the first period with two goals. Code Champagne’s goal early in the third period gave UAH life, but the Chargers ultimately fell 2-1 in front of a sparse crowd thanks to snow and ice in Huntsville.

The attendance was better Saturday as the snow melted, and so was UAH’s start, as Jeff Vanderlugt put the Chargers on the board first. But the Bulldogs answered with three straight goals and held on for a 3-2 win. Alex Carpenter had the other goal for UAH.

UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero had 32 saves on Friday night and 26 on Saturday. His season save percentage of .928 is second in the WCHA, and he has a 2.46 goals against average this season.

Max McHugh continues to lead the Chargers in scoring with 19 points, which is tied for third among freshmen in the WCHA, and in goals with eight.

Other top scorers for UAH are Jack Prince (5-9-14), Chad Brears (3-10-13), Jeff Vanderlugt (6-6-12), and Brandon Parker. Frank Misuraca is tied with Vanderlugt for second on the team in goals with six.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
UAF
8-20-4
7-16-1 WCHA (8th)
Record 15-13-2
10-12-2 WCHA (7th)
1.69 (9th) Goals/game 2.67 (5th)
3.12 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.47 (6th)
15.8 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 14.5 (3rd)
16.3% (5th) Power play 16.4% (4th)
83.0% (8th) Penalty kill 83.6% (7th)

About the Nanooks: Alaska (15-13-2 overall, 10-12-2 WCHA) are ineligible for the WCHA playoffs because of an NCAA postseason ban announced earlier this season, but the Nanooks are enjoying the spoiler role.

Last weekend, UAF hosted top ranked and WCHA leader Minnesota State and earned a 1-1 tie and a 3-1 victory. The Nanooks are undefeated in their last four games.

However, those four games were in Fairbanks, where they are 10-5-1 this season. The Nanooks are 3-8-1 on the road, although one of those wins — their last road win on Dec. 5 — was at Minnesota State.

Junior center Tyler Morley is the engine behind the Nanooks’ offense. He leads the team in goals (13), assists (19), and points (32), and he had three goals against the Mavericks last weekend. Sophomore right wing Marcus Basara is Alaska’s other double-digit goal scorer with 10, and junior defenseman and St. Louis Blues prospect Colton Parayko has 16 assists.

Senior goaltender Sean Cahill has been back in action after missing 13 games due to injury. He has allowed only one goal in each of his last four starts, and he has a 2.06 goals against average and a .923 save percentage for the season. Sophomore Davis Jones, who shut out the Chargers in the second game in Fairbanks while Cahill was out, is the backup.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Minnesota State** 19-3-2 40
Michigan Tech** 19-4-1 39
Bowling Green* 14-7-3 31
Bemidji State* 10-10-4 24
Northern Michigan* 10-10-4 24
Ferris State* 11-13-0 22
Alaska^ 10-12-2 22
Alabama-Huntsville 7-16-1 15
Lake Superior State 6-17-1 13
Alaska-Anchorage 4-18-2 10
** Clinched home ice in first round
* Clinched playoff berth
^ Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: Alaska’s three-point weekend against Minnesota State tightened the race for the MacNaughton Cup, which could be decided this weekend in a huge showdown in Mankato.

No. 2 Minnesota State leads No. 3 Michigan Tech by one point as the two top teams in the WCHA square off. Two wins by the Mavericks will clinch them their first regular-season league title.

No. 11 Bowling Green needs one win to clinch home ice in the first round as they head to Alaska-Anchorge. Bemidji State and Ferris State tussle in Big Rapids looking to host in the first round, while Northern Michigan has the same aspirations while hosting Lake Superior State.

Here’s the schedule for league teams this week. All times are Central. All games can be seen online on WCHA TV.

Friday, February 27

Alaska at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
#3 Michigan Tech at #2 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#11 Bowling Green at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, February 28

Alaska at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
#3 Michigan Tech at #2 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#11 Bowling Green at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Hoof Beats: Final home games for seniors

2014-15 seniors

The 2014-15 seniors. Top to bottom: Jeff Vanderlugt, Graeme Strukoff, Craig Pierce, Doug Reid, Ben Reinhardt, Alex Carpenter. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Saturday night will be final time coming off the Propst Arena ice for six senior Chargers. They will be honored before the final home game of the season against Alaska.

The 2014-15 seniors are:

Alex Carpenter (Portage, Mich.): Alex transferred to UAH after two years at Western Michigan last season and sat it out because of NCAA transfer rules. He became a regular in the lineup, with three goals and four assists in 30 games.

Craig Pierce (Roswell, Ga.): Craig became an alternate captain this season. In 101 career games with the Chargers, he has nine goals and five assists. He is 3-1-4 this season in 22 games.

Doug Reid (Innisfil, Ont.): Captain of the Chargers the last two years. Doug has played in 120 career games at UAH, scoring four goals and dishing 12 assists.

Ben Reinhardt (Arnprior, Ont.): A defenseman who led the team in blocks last season, Ben returned to the lineup from injury last weekend. In 97 career games at UAH, he has eight assists.

Graeme Strukoff (Chilliwack, B.C.): Graeme has played 114 games at defenseman for UAH, scoring four goals and 14 assists for 18 points.

Jeff Vanderlugt (Richmond Hill, Ont.): Jeff has the most career points on this year’s Charger squad with 32, scoring 19 goals and 13 assists in 101 games. He led the Chargers in goals with seven in the 2012-13 season.

Westy back in Huntsville: Lance West, assistant coach for Alaska, has now coached against his alma mater in two series. Both of those were in Fairbanks, so this weekend’s series will be the first time he’s been on a coaches bench at the VBC since he was an assistant for UAH under Doug Ross from 2000-07.

West is in his fifth season as a Nanooks assistant coach. He is 15th on the Chargers’ all-time varsity scoring list with 113 points on 45 goals and 68 assists, playing from 1991-95.

Mini shuttles will be given away to the first 500 fans at Saturday's game.

Mini shuttles will be given away to the first 500 fans at Saturday’s game.

This week’s promotions: On Friday night, the first 500 fans will receive a set of UAH hockey trading cards. The first 500 fans to Saturday’s game receive a free mini-shuttle courtesy of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Puck drop is 7:07 p.m. both nights.

Kids 12 and under get free admission to both games courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

Blue Line Club luncheon: For the last time this season, come meet and greet with the coaches at the Blue Line Club luncheon. Alaska head coach Dallas Ferguson and UAH head coach Mike Corbett will speak this Friday at noon in the Varsity Room at Spragins Hall.

Terranova’s is catering. Tickets are $8 at the door, and free for Blue Line Club members.

Ferris State 3, UAH 2

The Chargers scored the first goal of the game, but Ferris State netted three unanswered goals and held on for a 3-2 win over UAH at the Von Braun Center on Saturday.

UAH (8-20-4 overall, 7-16-1 WCHA) lost both games of the series to Ferris State (14-18-1 overall, 11-13-0 WCHA), both by one goal. The Bulldogs beat the Chargers 2-1 on Friday.

The Chargers remain in eighth place and in WCHA playoff position with 15 points, two up over idle Lake Superior State and five up over Alaska-Anchorage, which was swept by Bemidji State over the weekend. With Alaska ineligible, the Chargers currently hold the seventh seed, Lake Superior has eighth, and Anchorage would be out. Ferris State, meanwhile, is now tied with Alaska for sixth, seven points ahead of UAH.

Jeff Vanderlugt put UAH up 1-0 at 12:19 of the first period with his sixth goal of the season, backhanding a rebound past CJ Motte. He was assisted by Chad Brears, who picked up his 10th helper of the year.

Dom Panetta, who also tallied a goal in Friday’s game, tied the game at 1-1 with 3:01 left in the first. Kyle Schempp gave Ferris State the lead in the second period, and Sean O’Rourke made it 3-1 Bulldogs early in the third.

UAH’s Alex Carpenter’s third goal of the season — a tap-in after a Matt Salhany shot went through Ferris State goaltender C.J. Motte’s pads and rested in the middle of the crease — made it 3-2. The Chargers could not find the equalizer in the final rushes of regulation.

Motte made 25 saves, while UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero stopped 26 of 29 shots.

UAH has its final home series of the season next weekend, Feb. 27-28, against Alaska. Puck drop is 7:07 p.m. both nights.

Ferris State 2, UAH 1

It was a wintry night in Huntsville, with many roads closed after a crusting of ice fell atop already snowy lanes.  It was great hockey weather, but for the home fans, it wasn’t a great hockey result.  The visiting Ferris State Bulldogs (13-18-1, 10-13-0 WCHA) scored two quick first-period goals and held on thereafter, winning 2-1 over the homestanding UAH Chargers (8-19-4, 7-15-1 WCHA).

Both Bulldog goals came on poor defensive zone passes.  At 4:33 of the first, senior forward Dominic Panetta (Baldwin, Mich.) picked a puck off and skated in alone on UAH sophomore netminder Carmine Guerriero (Montréal, Qué.), potting a shorthanded goal.  Sophomore forward Chad McDonald (Battle Creek, Mich.) took a pass from freshman forward Tyler Andrew (Bethel Park, Pa.), who had just intercepted a puck in front of the UAH bench.

I expect that it’s no surprise that Michael and I have a backchannel during games.  Post-game, he commented, “Lost it in the first, didn’t win it in the 2nd and 3rd.”  He’s right.

The second period is notable only for its penalties.  An early UAH power play was nullified four seconds later by a holding minor.  Two penalties :07 apart by sophomore forward Cody Marooney (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and freshman defenseman Richard Buri (Nitra, Slovakia) left UAH killing a long 5×3 situation, which they did fairly easily, allowing just three shots-on-goal on the disadvantage.  UAH is still the #1 team in combined special teams.

A carry-over penalty from the 2nd period gave the Chargers 1:55 of a man advantage on clean ice.  The home squad would score, as freshman defenseman Cody Champagne (Brookfield, Conn.) took a feed from senior forward Alex Carpenter (Portage, Mich.) for a point shot that appeared to rattle around on bodies in front before going to the roof of the net past Ferris State senior goaltender CJ Motte (St. Clair, Mich.).  Sophomore defenseman Brandon Carlson (Huntington, Beach, Calif.) got the secondary assist.

Ferris State stymied UAH for the remainder of regulation time.  UAH pulled Guerriero (32 sv, 8-12-3) with 1:37 remaining, but the Bulldogs kept UAH to the outside and blocked shots.  Motte (18 sv) moves to 13-18-1 on the season.

The two teams face off again on Saturday night to conclude the season series, which the Bulldogs lead 2-1-0.