Hoof Beats: Frenchy Open fast approaching

The program’s biggest summer fundraising event is just three weeks away!

The 2015 UAH Hockey Frenchy Open presented by CNTS Investments LLC and Total Package Hockey will tee off at 1 p.m. on June 6 at Huntsville Country Club.

The tournament layout will be a four-player scramble with prizes going to the top three teams. Raffle and door prizes will be available.

Register online to reserve your spot. Registration per player is $150, which includes 18 holes of golf, a cart, a UAH Hockey polo shirt, refreshments, and dinner. Full four-player teams can register for $600.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, can call 256-824-2485 or email Nick Laurila.

In addition, there will be an UAH alumni hockey game at the Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex in Huntsville on June 5 at 7 p.m.

“The Frenchy Open” is named after Charger left wing Jean-Marc Plante, who died in 2001. Also known as “Frenchy,” the Laval, Quebec, native played for UAH from 1988-92, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists in 94 games. Plante worked at the front office of the Florida Panthers and became the athletic marketing director at UAH. A memorial scholarship is awarded in his honor to the Charger hockey player who demonstrates leadership, sportsmanship, and team spirit, and who participates in community and university volunteer service.

Schedule change: The Thanksgiving weekend series against rival Bemidji State has been changed to Wednesday, November 25 and Friday, November 27. Puck drop remains at 7:07 p.m. for both games. The change means UAH will avoid going up against the Iron Bowl on Saturday, November 28.

UAH will host its first ever game on a Wednesday. The Chargers have played only four times on Wednesday before, all on the road:

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1990 at Minnesota (lost 10-0) — A stop in Minneapolis on the way to Alaska.
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1991 at Alaska-Fairbanks (lost 9-5 but later won by forfeit) — Part of four games in five nights in Alaska
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 1998 at Connecticut (won 3-0) — Holiday tournament right before New Year’s
Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at Merrimack (lost 6-0) — Northeast road trip that also sandwiched Thanksgiving

Brears named Academic All-District: UAH forward Chad Brears was named to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All District At-Large Team, announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Thursday.

The junior from Cold Lake, Alberta, was named to the District 4 first team in NCAA Division I covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico.

Brears scored a 4.0 grade-point average majoring in mechanical engineering this year. He was second on the Chargers this past season with 15 points (three goals and 12 assists) in 36 games.

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.


Series Preview: at Bemidji State, Jan. 9-10

Times: 7:37 p.m. Fri, 7:07 p.m. Sat
Online video: WCHA.tv (subscription)
Online audio: Beaver Radio Network
Live stats: Friday | Saturday
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @BSUBeavers

Back at it. UAH vs. Bemidji State.

The Chargers begin the second half of the WCHA league schedule with a trip to their old rivals, the Bemidji State Beavers. Both teams are riding unbeaten streaks and look to use this series as a springboard up the conference standings.

Both games from the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota, can be seen on WCHA.tv. Friday’s game begins at 7:37 p.m. Saturday’s game starts at 7:07 p.m.

All-time series: UAH and Bemidji State have played each other 74 times, the most of any opponent in Charger history, starting with the 1994 NCAA Division II championship. BSU leads the series 41-29-4 overall and 23-9-1 in Bemidji. Last season, the Beavers won both games in Huntsville in UAH’s first-ever WCHA series, but UAH stunned BSU in Bemidji 2-1 before losing 4-1 in the second game.

Chargers recap: UAH (5-14-3 overall, 4-10-0 WCHA) swept a two-game series with a Division I opponent for the first time since Jan. 29-30, 2010 with a pair of one-goal victories over Alaska-Anchorage at the Von Braun Center. The Chargers moved into eighth place in the WCHA standings with 8 points, one point behind Bemidji State.

On Friday, Max McHugh scored twice and Cody Marooney added another as UAH built a 3-0 lead. The Chargers held on to win 3-2.

On Saturday, Marooney got his second game-winning goal, breaking a 1-1 tie in the second period for a 2-1 UAH victory. Brandon Carlson scored the first goal for the Chargers.

Carmine Guerriero stopped 58 of 61 shots for the series, raising his save percentage to .934, which is 3rd in the WCHA and 9th in Division I. His goals against average dropped to 2.31.

McHugh has taken over the rookie lead in the WCHA with 15 points. Jeff Vanderlugt, Jack Prince, and Chad Brears each have 10 points. Brandon Parker added a couple of assists in the series to raise his team-leading total to nine.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
4-10-0 WCHA (8th)
Record 5-10-3
3-6-3 WCHA (7th)
1.86 (9th) Goals/game 2.89 (5th)
3.00 (8th) Goals allowed/game 3.17 (9th)
16.5 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 10.7 (8th)
18.8% (2nd) Power play 16.2% (7th)
83.9% (6th) Penalty kill 79.7% (9th)

About the Beavers: Bemidji State (5-10-3 overall, 3-6-3 WCHA) will see its first action in four weeks after a lengthy holiday break. The Beavers are unbeaten in five games (2-0-3), most recently winning and tying Northern Michigan at home on Dec. 12-13. BSU’s schedule has been tough, with the first seven series coming against ranked opponents.

The Beavers’ top scoring threat, Brendan Harms, was expected to be out 4-6 weeks after an injury caused by a hit against Alaska-Anchorage on Dec. 6. Sophomore center Nate Arentz has moved to the top of BSU’s scoring list with seven goals and 14 points. All-conference defenseman Matt Prapavessis leads the Beavers in assists with eight.

Then there are the Baby Geniuses/Super Babies: Gerry, Leo, and Myles Fitzgerald. The freshman triplet, Gerry (center), Myles (right wing), and Leo (left wing) have combined for eight goals and 23 points this season.

The Beavers have split goaltending duties with senior Andrew Walsh (2.85 goals against, .900 save percentage) and freshman Michael Bitzer (2.66, .897).

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Minnesota State 11-2-1 23
Michigan Tech 10-2-0 20
Bowling Green 8-1-1 17
Alaska* 7-7-0 14
Northern Michigan 5-6-3 13
Ferris State 6-6-0 12
Bemidji State 3-6-3 9
Alabama-Huntsville 4-10-0 8
Lake Superior State 3-11-0 6
Alaska-Anchorage 2-6-2 6
* Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: All 10 teams are seeing conference action this week.

While UAH and Bemidji State are bringing unbeaten streaks into their series, the hottest teams in the WCHA are meeting in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Alaska Nanooks have won four straight, while the 11th-ranked Falcons are unbeaten in their last seven.

And UAH-Bemidji isn’t the only rivalry series this week. No. 8 Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan have a home-and-home, playing in Marquette on Friday and Houghton on Saturday.

Tech will be looking to gain ground on league-leader and 4th-ranked Minnesota State, which hosts Lake Superior State. Ferris State, looking to stop a four-game slide, finishes their two-week odyssey in Alaska with a Thursday-Friday series in Anchorage.

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.

Thursday, January 8

* Ferris State at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Friday, January 9

* UAH at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.
* Alaska at #11 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
* #8 Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at #4 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, January 10

* UAH at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
* Alaska at #11 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
* Northern Michigan at #8 Michigan Tech, 6:37 p.m.
* Lake Superior State at #4 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.

* WCHA conference game

UAH vs. Bemidji at 20: The ultimate North-South rivalry

You can hear it at just about every game at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.

“Who hates Huntsville? WE HATE HUNTSVILLE!”

Even last season — just the third in the last 20 that UAH and Bemidji State did not play hockey against each other — Beaver fans made their distaste for the Chargers quite clear.

Mario Mazzuca 1996

Mario Mazzuca attacks the net against BSU goalie Robin Cook at the 1996 NCAA Division II championship.
(Photo by UAH Sports Information)

Bemidji, for the most part, is glad that UAH was accepted to join BSU in the WCHA. It means the rivalry will continue, as well as their chant.

And for UAH, having Bemidji State come to town to usher in the WCHA era — just seems right.

The Chargers have played the Beavers 70 times, more than any other opponent. They have faced off in four NCAA Division II championship series, each winning two. They were charter members of College Hockey America, with Bemidji State taking four of six games head-to-head (two in overtime) in CHA Tournament play. Close fought games with championship implicatoins — that is what rivalries are made of.

And so, after 20 years, the UAH-Bemidji State rivalry continues. Here’s a look back at one of college sports’ most unique rivalries:

UAH vs. Bemidji, 2004 NCAA Div. II championship

Mario Mazzuca (18) and Dave Slifka (2) in UAH’s first meeting with Bemidji State at the 1994 NCAA Division II championship.
(Photo by UAH Sports Information)

March 11-12, 1994 (NCAA Division II National Championship): Bemidji came to Huntsville looking to defend their Division II national championship from 1993. UAH, which earned the right to host as the No. 1-ranked team, won the first game 5-3 on Garry Symons’ two goals. Bemidji used two quick second-period goals to take Game 2 2-1.

The championship would be decided by a 20-minute “mini-game.” Mike Scanlan scored for UAH, and Eric Fulton tied the game at 1. The longest night in Charger hockey history came with heartbreak at 11:10 p.m., as Jason Mack’s goal at the 15:48 mark of OT gave BSU another title.

UAH 1996 championship

Derek Puppa raises the trophy as the Chargers celebrate the 1996 Division II national championship.
(Photo by UAH Sports Information)

March 8-9, 1996 (NCAA Division II National Championship): UAH would have to wait two years for a shot at revenge. Denied a chance for a rematch in 1995 while Bemidji beat Mercyhurst for a third straight championship, the Chargers rolled to an undefeated regular season.

Bemidji State retuned to Huntsville, and the Chargers would not be denied this time. Matt Parker got the party started with a goal 42 seconds into Game 1, and Mario Mazzuca added two more as UAH romped 7-1. In Game 2, Tony Guzzo, Jamie Baby, and Mazzuca’s second-period goals, plus Derek Puppa’s 23 saves, lifted UAH to a 3-0 win, a series sweep, an undefeated season, and its first national championship in any sport.

March 14-15, 1997 (NCAA Division II National Championship): UAH visited Bemidji for the first time, and while the Chargers stayed competitive in the loud John Glas Fieldhouse, the Beavers regained the Division II crown with 3-2 and 4-2 victories.

UAH at Bemidji 1997

UAH’s first visit to Bemidji was at the old John Glas Fieldhouse for the 1997 Division II championship, won by the Beavers.
(Photo by UAH Sports Information)

March 13-14, 1998 (NCAA Division II National Championship): Back to Huntsville for the fourth and final meeting between these two clubs as Division II members. The Chargers rolled to their second national title, beating the Beavers 6-2 and 5-2 in a series that amped up the animosity. In the closing seconds, BSU’s Jim Logan checked into Shane Stewart behind the UAH net. The Chargers retaliated and a fracas ensued.

Months later, both Bemidji and UAH announced they were moving up to Division I hockey. After a transition season in 1998-99, the Chargers and Beavers resumed the series as members of College Hockey America.

1999-2000 (5 meetings): Outside of a 5-4 overtime loss in Huntsville, UAH dominated Bemidji in the first CHA season. The Chargers won 6-4 and 6-3 in Bemidji, and 6-1 in Huntsville after the OT loss. At the CHA semfinal at the VBC, UAH cruised 10-4.

2000-2001 (4 meetings): UAH won all four meetings, but not as easily as the season prior, even though the Beavers would win only four games all season. Three of the wins were one-goal affairs, and the other was a 4-2 victory.

UAH record vs. Bemidji
At Huntsville: 19-13-3
At Bemidji: 8-22-1
Neutral: 1-3-0
Total: 28-38-4

2001-2002 (5 meetings): The Chargers lost the first regular season meeting 7-3 in a penalty-filled matchup in Bemidji. UAH rebounded 6-3 the next night on two goals from Jessi Otis. In Huntsville, the Chargers won 5-2 (two Steve Charlebois goals) and 5-3 (Jared Ross hat trick). Charlebois struck again in the CHA semifinal, leading UAH to a 5-2 win.

2002-2003 (5 meetings): UAH played in nine overtime games that season, and while it seems like a lot, Bemidji State set an NCAA record with 14 OT games. Four of those games overlapped: The Chargers won both games in Huntsville in OT thanks to Joel Bresciani and Craig Bushey. In Bemidji, UAH won the first game 6-3 but fell in the second 2-1 in OT. The crushing blow came in the CHA semifinals, when Myles Kuharski’s goal ended UAH’s season at 12:30 of overtime.

2003-2004 (4 meetings): Bruce Mulherin’s two goals spearheaded a 3-goal outburst in the final five minutes to give UAH a 7-5 win in Huntsville, but the Chargers would lose the second game 5-3. In Bemidji, UAH allowed a last-minute goal to John Haider to force a 3-3 tie, the first draw in the series. BSU won the second game 4-2 for its first season series win since both clubs joined Division I.

2004-2005 (5 meetings): Bemidji won the first game in Huntsville 3-1, but the Chargers plowed the Beavers the next day 5-1 on Mulherin’s hat trick. In Bemidji, UAH won another 3-1 game as Scott Munroe stopped 38 of 39 shots, but BSU won the second game 3-2.

Chris Martini

Chris Martini scores the game-winning goal as the Chargers beat Bemidji 2-1 at the VBC on Feb. 3, 2006.
(Photo by UAH Sports Information)

The 2005 CHA Tournament in Grand Rapids, Mich., was where the “Who Hates Huntsville” chant was born. During UAH’s semifinal match against Niagara, a Charger player spat on the glass in front of a group of Beaver fans after a UAH goal. The rest is history — and Bemidji State scored three third-period goals and shut out the Chargers 3-0 in the championship game.

2005-2006 (5 meetings): Each club swept its two-game series at home, with UAH winning 2-1 and 4-2, and Bemidji rolling 3-1 and 5-0. Bemidji State ended the Chargers’ season for the second straight year, as Rob Sirianni scored in overtime to win 4-3 in the CHA semifinals.

Photo credit: Will Nickelson

Tom Durnie against the Beavers in 2010.
(Photo by Will Nickelson)

2006-2011 (29 meetings): There’s not much to say from a UAH perspective. Bemidji State went 23-3-3 against the Chargers during this period, including an 11-game win streak in the series.

It didn’t get better while UAH was an independent, although the last UAH win was in Huntsville, a 4-3 decision in January 2011. The last time the teams met was December 16-17, 2011 in Bemidji, with the Beavers winning 3-0 and 5-0. It was just days after UAH decided to give Division I hockey another go, but because the Chargers had a lot of work to do to get into a conference, it wasn‘t a given that the rivalry would be renewed.

Now it will, to the delight of both the fans in Huntsville and Bemidji. We expect great, loud crowds at Propst Arena on Friday and Saturday, letting Bemidji know that UAH hockey is indeed back, and that the Chargers intend to swing the series record back in their favor, no matter how long it takes.

And they can hate on that all they want.

Special thanks to Troy Mills of thebeaverpond.com for providing perspective from Bemidji.

Hoof Beats: Corbett and identity

  • Coach Mike Corbett continues to make the media rounds in his first weeks as head coach. He was featured on USCHO.com, with the main theme of establishing UAH’s identity as a hockey program. Corbett also touched on this in his recent interview on Penalty Box Radio in Nashville.
  • The Bemidji Pioneer takes a look at UAH as it begins its series on the teams in the reconstructed WCHA. We plan to post a retrospective of the 20-year UAH-Bemidji rivalry in time for the home opener on October 25.
  • The WCHA on Wednesday released its full 2013-14 composite schedule.