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

UAH and LSSU draw 1-1, remain tied in standings

UAH and Lake Superior State are two teams with the same number of wins and the same number of WCHA points, and about the same productivity on offense (which hasn’t been much this season). So Friday night’s 1-1 tie might come as no surprise, as the fact that the clubs remained tied in the WCHA standings.

Doug Reid scored the lone goal for the Chargers (7-18-4 overall, 6-14-1 WCHA), who remained tied with the Lakers (7-22-2 overall, 6-16-1 WCHA) with the last two WCHA playoff spots, in eighth place. Both are three points ahead of last-place Alaska-Anchorage, which lost to Michigan Tech, 5-1. UAH has two games in hand.

The teams face off again Saturday night at 6 p.m. Central Time in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with another chance to move ahead of the other and enhance their playoff chances.

If the Chargers were rusty following the off week, it showed in the first 10 minutes. Missed passes and turnovers in the defensive zone led to a few opportunities for the Lakers to score the first goal of the game, but Carmine Guerriero made the stops. He made eight saves in those first 10 minutes.

But as the period progressed, the Chargers started to gain puck possession. They started to test Laker freshman goaltender Gordon Defiel, but Defiel showed why he has been the key to their success this season.

With each team winning a half of the first period, the shots on goal after one was tied at 9-9. However, neither team would find the net.

The Lakers would strike first, though. After a flurry around the UAH, Gus Correale gets a tip in past Guerriero to take a 1-0 lead at the 4:13 mark of the second period.

The Chargers would strike next, and what a strike it was. Reid, the senior captain, finally got this first goal of the season, snapping a blast from the left circle, beating Defiel high and tying the game at 1-1 at 7:46. Brent Fletcher got his fifth assist of the season, and Anderson White, typically a defenseman who started in left wing, earned his first.

Lake State kept Guerriero busy in the final minutes of the second, forcing him to make glove saves and scramble to cover the puck.

The game’s pace slowed in the third period. Guerriero and Defiel were called upon to make some big saves to keep the game tied, but neither team really commandeered control of the game.

In overtime, LSSU’s Bryce Schmitt had a partial break that was broken up by UAH’s Frank Misuraca, which was the best chance either club saw at an overtime winner.

UAH outshot LSSU 28-26, another example of just how close the two teams are. Guerriero finished with 25 saves, while Defiel had 27 in a battle of star goaltenders for clubs building for the future.

Notes: Only one penalty was called the whole game — an elbowing call on UAH’s Cody Marooney at the 4:32 mark of the first. … UAH is 2-1-2 all-time at Lake Superior State. … It was only the second time this season the Chargers outshot their opponent. The other time was Nov. 15 in Huntsville, also against Lake Superior State (30-25).

UAH 5, LSSU 2: It’s Been a Long Time

Hey, UAH won at home tonight!

The last Division I home win was back in January 2011 over our least favorite rodents, Bemidji State, a game where Matt Baxter (Toronto, Ont.) scored two of UAH’s three power-play goals and an unassisted, shorthanded goal by (That Damn) Matt Read wasn’t enough to bring the Beavers level.  It may seem a little painful to think about all what I’ll write next, but I think that it’s important.  Why?  This is another turning point.  This is the way up.  This is our road back to .500.

So the last time UAH won a D-I home game:

So let’s talk about why they won.

“Our PK was 10 for 10, and our power play was 3-for-3,” junior forward Jack Prince (Leicester, England) said.  It’s not often that you can say that your special teams are 100%, and tonight it was for us.  When your special teams are 100%, that’s usually going to be a good result, and for us, tonight, it was.”

Prince’s power-play goal put the nail in the coffin in a 5-2 defeat of WCHA foe Lake Superior State University.  The Lakers fall to 2-10-0 (2-6-0 WCHA) on the season, while the Chargers improve to 2-8-2 (1-5-0).

There were significant changes to the lineup.  Senior defenseman Graeme Strukoff (Chiliwack, B.C.) was in and senior defenseman Ben Reinhardt (Arnprior, Ont.) was out.  Junior defenseman Anderson White (Caledon, Ont.) was in so that sophomore defenseman Brandon Carlson (Huntington Beach, Calif.) could play forward.  Sophomore forward Regan Soquila (Maple Ridge, B.C.) and junior forward Alex Carpenter (Portage, Mich.) left the forward rotation for Carlson and senior forward Jeff Vanderlugt (Richmond Hill, Ont.) respectively.

But the most important lineup move was one that didn’t make a change, as sophomore goaltender Carmine Guerriero (Montréal, Que.) again started in net for the Chargers.  His 23-save effort was enough to move him to 2-4-1 on the season.

For UAH coach Mike Corbett, playing Guerriero both nights was an instinct.  “He was the best player on the ice.  Matt Larose didn’t lose his spot.  [Guerriero]’s playing so well that we just had to give him the extra game.”  Throughout their tenure as a tandem, neither Guerriero nor Larose had started both nights of a weekend, though each had come to relieve the other for the bulk of a start before playing their full game.  The change surprised many, including both Michael and me.

When I spoke with Guerriero late last season, I asked him what he’d be working on over the summer.  I hadn’t even finished the question when he responded with one word: “Conditioning.”  It always felt to me that Corbett felt uneasy about playing either goaltender both nights regardless of the success from the Friday game.  Witness the Air Force weekend: after a solid night on Friday, Carmine gave way to Matt on Saturday, who stopped 36-of-39.  Even after stopping 61 shots in a game last season, Guerriero knew that he’d have to come back stronger for his sophomore campaign.

“I worked hard this summer with my goalie coach, and I think that it paid off, honestly,” Guerriero said.  He was effusive in his praise for his teammates — despite enduring 10 power plays, UAH allowed just 25 shots on goal.  “I was just there in case they needed me.”  When asked if he missed the extra work, he said, “That’s okay.  I like it.  It’s what I’m there for.”

Senior captain Doug Reid (Innisfil, Ont.) was elated after the win.  “It feels great, and it’s been a long time coming,” he said of his first Division I home win.  “We knew that we had to come in and compete.  We really out-worked them, and we got the result that we wanted.”

Reid praised his teammates’ work on the PK.  “We play a very disciplined game when killing penalties.  We know that we’re a defensive team, so our focus is to just get to the puck and get it out.”

The Chargers got goals from five different skaters.  Sophomore forward Cody Marooney (Eden Prairie, Minn.) got the first goal of the night with a shorthanded marker that came most of the way through a bench minor served by Prince for too many men on the ice.  Marooney forced a turnover with pressure and sliced right through the Laker defense and past freshman netminder Gordon Defiel (Stillwater, Minn.), who had just 25 saves on the night.

Freshman defenseman Richard Buri (Nitra, Slovakia) scored fifteen seconds after serving a minor tripping penalty to push the Chargers to 2-0 5:22 into the second period.  Laker goals off of the sticks of senior forward and assistant captain Chris Ciotti (Oxford, Mich.) and sophomore forward Garret Clemment (Wausau, Wisc.) knotted the game up at two apiece with just 3:23 left in the second.

But a tripping penalty by sophomore forward Gus Correale (Prince George, B.C.) set up the Chargers’ power play with their first opportunity of the night after killing seven Laker power plays.  Freshman forward Max McHugh (Seattle, Wash.) made the Lakers pay for their sin a minute into the advantage, and the Chargers would retain a one-goal lead into the third.

The UAH offense would turn into overdrive in the final frame, peppering Defiel with ten shots, including a power-play marker by Vanderlugt in his first action in two weeks.  Prince would roof the puck to finish the Lakers off, laughing off an early miscue.  “I had a wide open net early and hit the post, and I knew then that it would be a long night.”

The Chargers travel to Ferris State next weekend for a tilt against the tough Bulldogs, who nearly doubled their season scoring output with fourteen goals this weekend against Alaska-Anchorage.  “I’m super excited,” Guerriero said.  “It’s a nice rink and very rowdy.  We just want to keep up this momentum that the boys have and pick up two W’s on the road.”

And then there’s Michigan Tech in two weeks, who are the likely #1 when the next round of polls come out, as they defeated Bemidji State tonight to move to 10-0-0 (thanks, boys) while the other unbeaten all lost this weekend.  “I’m excited for that as well,” Guerriero said.  “It’s a challenge, and we want the opportunity to show everyone what we’re capable of.”  The Huskies go to Mankato next weekend to face the Mavericks, and the Verizon Wireless Center is a tough place to play.  That said, the Huskies are rolling right now, and we could have the #1 team in town the day after Thanksgiving.