Chargers lose point to extra-attacker goal; 3-3 (OT)

I think that this game was best summed up in our Slack chat tonight:

Could have won. Probably should have lost. Got a tie. All the mixed emotions.

Indeed, that’s a fair assessment.  UAH was out-shot 49-21 on Friday night in Big Rapids: sour sixteens in each of the regulation periods and just one in OT, thanks to Ferris having to kill a penalty.  But junior goaltender Matt Larose (Nanaimo, B.C.) was razor sharp, stopping 46 saves, a season-high for Charger netminders, and UAH got enough puck luck to push it to three goals for the third straight game.  But a fluky extra-attacker goal by the home squad

The Chargers sent a steady stream of white jerseys to the box, including a rare appearance by sophomore forward Max McHugh (Seattle), his first since November 7th.  In all, UAH was whistles for nine penalties taking 21 minutes, the one major a facemasking call against junior defenseman Brandon Carlson (Huntington, Beach, Calif.).

UAH returned to form with its fine penalty killing after a stumble last week against Alaska, stopping all eight opportunities and potting a shorthanded goal, as junior forward Matt Salhany (Warwick, R.I.) picked up a loose puck for a Stealhany to knot the game at 2-2 and deflate the home side.

BOX SCORE

For the Chargers, tonight’s game was all about sustained effort.  McHugh started the Chargers’ scoring off with his sixth of the season, banging home a backhander low past Ferris State freshman goaltender Darren Smith (Barrie, Ont.) after mucking and grinding down low with sophomore forward Brennan Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia) to know bring the game level at 1-1.

After junior forward Jared VanWormer (Traverse City, Mich.) shocked the UAH defense by scoring :34 into the third and :09 after Saulnier’e penalty expired.  A cross-checking minor penalty committed by freshman forward Madison Dunn (Calgary) just :45 later spelled doom for the Chargers, who looked to be reeling.  Instead, Salhany’s quick reaction and fleet feet were combined with the right move to light the lamp.

UAH couldn’t capitalize on a couple of Ferris penalties, all on the route to go 0-for-6 with the man advantage on the evening.  But the Chargers then shocked the home crowd and pulled ahead when Marooney, Wilcox, and Poulsen brought tons of pressure, with freshman forward Tyler Poulsen (Arvada, Colo.) picking up the goal after finding the puck on a Ferris State stick and pushing it past Smith (18sv).

Sadly for the Chargers, the Bulldogs kept strong pressure in the UAH end, pulling Smith for an extra attacker and eventually getting senior forward Kenny Babinski (Midland, Michigan) his sixth goal of the year to dash the Herd’s hopes of pulling even with Alaska in the standings.  Neither team did much in the extra five minutes, even with the Bulldogs taking the penalty.

Larose moved to 3-4-1 on the season, his GAA edging up to 2.28 but his SV% moving to .927.  Smith is now 6-4-4.

As the Chargers seek to move out of the WCHA basement, they got no help from last week’s foe, Alaska, who won in overtime in Marquette.  The Chargers are still in last place with 9 league points, three behind 9th-place Alaska-Anchorage, who have three games in hand on the Chargers.

Series Preview: WCHA Quarterfinals at Michigan Tech, March 13-15

CATCHING THE GAMES
Times: Game 1: 6:07 p.m. CT Friday
Game 2: 6:07 p.m. CT Saturday
Game 3*: 6:07 p.m. CT Sunday
* if necessary
Watch it: WCHA.tv (subscription)
Hear it: Pasty.net
Stats: CollegeHockeyStats.net
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @mtuhky@TechHockeyGuide

As playoff debuts go, this will be tough. Very tough.

UAH makes its first-ever WCHA postseason appearance this weekend with a best-of-3 series at No. 4 Michigan Tech, where the Chargers have simply had problems against the Huskies.

It’s playoff hockey, and strange things can happen, but it’s safe to say that the Chargers are huge underdogs in this series. UAH is the seventh seed, and Michigan Tech is the second seed.

Game 1 is Friday night, game 2 is Saturday night, and, if necessary, a deciding game 3 would be Sunday night. All games are scheduled to start at 6:07 p.m. CDT.

All-time series: The Chargers are 0-6 all-time against the Huskies, and are 0-4 in Houghton. UAH was blown out in both games there in late January this season by scores of 5-0 and 11-1. In 2013-14, the Chargers lost 4-1 and 10-4 at Houghton. That’s a combined score of 30-6 for the Huskies on their home ice.

The two games in Huntsville over Thanksgiving weekend were a bit closer, with Tech winning 4-2 and 5-2.

Brandon Carlson

Brandon Carlson, who scored UAH’s goal on Saturday, is second in the nation with 83 blocked shots. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com)

Charger recap: UAH (8-24-4 overall, 7-20-1 WCHA) saw its losing streak extended to six to finish the regular season by being swept at Bowling Green.

On Friday, the Falcons scored two in the first, two in the second, and three in the third to win 7-2. Two Max McHugh goals in the third period averted the shutout.

Saturday’s game was tighter, but Bowling Green found a way to win 2-1. Brandon Carlson’s goal in the first period erased a 1-0 lead for the Falcons, who retook the lead late in the same period and held on the rest of the way. Matt Larose had his best start of the season, stopping 26 of 28 shots.

McHugh, named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team on Thursday, has 23 points on 12 goals and 11 assists to lead the Chargers. He has the most points by a UAH player since the 2006-07 season.

Other top scorers for UAH: Chad Brears (3-12-15), Jack Prince (5-9-14), Brandon Parker (0-14-14), Jeff Vanderlugt (6-7-13), Frank Misuraca (6-6-12).

Starting goaltender Carmine Guerriero had his worst start of the season last Friday, his 11th straight start in a row. He comes into the postseason with a 2.69 goals against average and a .923 save percentage, which is still fifth-best in the WCHA.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
MTU
8-24-4
7-20-1 WCHA (8th)
Record 26-8-2
21-5-2 WCHA (2nd)
1.72 (9th) Goals/game 3.64 (1st)
3.25 (9th) Goals allowed/game 1.78 (1st)
15.5 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 12.2 (8th)
16.2% (6th) Power play 21.2% (2nd)
81.5% (8th) Penalty kill 85.0% (6th)

About the Huskies: Michigan Tech (26-8-2 overall, 21-5-2 WCHA) fell one point short of Minnesota State in the race for the MacNaughton Cup, but the fourth-ranked Huskies are 10-1-1 in their last 12 after a home-and-home sweep of U.P. rival Northern Michigan to finish the regular season. Tech will be hosting a WCHA playoff series for the first time in 22 years.

Senior foward Tanner Kero was named the league’s Player of the Year after winning the WCHA scoring title with 34 points in 28 conference games. Kero, an All-WCHA First Team selection, is tied for 10th in the nation with 43 points on 18 goals and 25 assists. He totaled nine points against UAH in the four games this season.

Joining Kero on the All-WCHA First Team is goaltender Jamie Phillips. The junior and Winnipeg Jets prospect is second in the league in goals against average (1.76) and top the WCHA in save percentage (.935).

Two junior forwards, Alex Petan and Malcolm Gould, made the All-WCHA Second Team. Petan has 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists), followed by Gould’s 31 (14, 17).

New Jersey Devils draftee Blake Pietila is close behind with 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points, putting him on the All-WCHA Third Team. Sophomore defenseman Shane Hanna also made the Third Team.

Around the WCHA: Here are the other three WCHA quarterfinal series this weekend. The winners of the best-of-3 series will go to the WCHA Final Five at the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on March 20-21. All times are Central and all games can be seen online on WCHA TV.

No. 8 Lake Superior State at No. 1 Minnesota State
Game 1: Friday, 7:07 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 7:07 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, 7:07 p.m.

No. 6 Northern Michigan at No. 3 Bowling Green
Game 1: Friday, 6:07 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 6:07 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, 6:07 p.m.

No. 5 Ferris State at No. 4 Bemidji State
Game 1: Friday, 7:37 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 7:07 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary), 5:07 p.m.

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

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.

Series Preview: at Lake Superior State, Feb. 13-14

CATCHING THE GAMES
Times: 6:37 p.m. CT Friday
6:07 p.m. CT Saturday
Watch it: WCHA.tv (subscription)
UAH Charger Union
Hear it: 99.5 Yes FM
Stats: CollegeHockeyStats.net
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @LakeStateHockey@HockeyLSSU,

A couple of wins would go a long way toward securing UAH’s first WCHA playoff spot this weekend.

The Chargers will be in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to take on the Lake Superior State Lakers. The two teams are tied for eighth in the WCHA standings, just two ahead of last-place (and first spot out) Alaska-Anchorage.

Puck drop is 6:37 p.m. on Friday night and 6:07 p.m. on Saturday night. The games can be seen on WCHA.tv. If you don’t have a WCHA.tv subscription, you can watch the game from Charger Union’s World of Wings on the UAH campus.

All-time series: Lake Superior State leads the all-time series 6-3-1, but UAH holds a 2-1-1 record in Sault Ste. Marie. The last series up north occurred in November 2012, where UAH won 2-1 (the Chargers’ lone win versus a Division I opponent in 2012-13) and LSSU won 4-0. Back in November of this season, the two teams split in Huntsville, with the Lakers winning 1-0 and the Chargers winning 5-2 to defeat a Division I team at home for the first time since 2011.

Brandon Carlson

Brandon Carlson has 70 blocked shots this season, tied for the most in Division I.

Chargers recap: UAH (7-18-3 overall, 6-14-0 WCHA) has been idle since being swept by Michigan Tech in Houghton two weeks ago. The scores were 5-0 and 11-1, so we’ll just leave it at that. The Chargers have lost four straight on the road, and have only one road conference win on the season.

Max McHugh leads UAH with 17 points and seven goals. Brandon Parker heads the Chargers in assists with 11.

Other top forwards are Jack Prince (5-7-12), Jeff Vanderlugt (5-6-11), and Chad Brears (3-8-11). Frank Misuraca leads the defensemen with six goals and 10 points, and rounds out the list of Chargers with double-digit points.

Carmine Guerriero is third in the WCHA with a .926 save percentage to go along with his 2.61 goals against average.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
LSSU
7-18-3
6-14-0 WCHA (T-8th)
Record 7-22-3
6-16-0 WCHA (T-8th)
1.68 (9th) Goals/game 1.67 (10th)
3.32 (9th) Goals allowed/game 3.40 (10th)
15.6 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 10.1 (10th)
15.7% (5th) Power play 8.4% (10th)
80.9% (8th) Penalty kill 74.5% (10th)

About the Lakers: Lake Superior State (7-22-3 overall, 6-16-0 WCHA) is tied with the Chargers for eigth place in the WCHA with 12 points. The Lakers have lost three straight, getting swept last weekend at Alaska, following a three-game win streak. Lake Superior is 3-7-0 this season at home.

In a situation somewhat reminiscent of UAH last season, Lake Superior State is at the bottom of just about every major category in the league as they continue to work on rebuilding under first-year head coach Damon Whitten.

Freshman Gordon Defiel has a 3.11 goals against average and a .915 save percentage this season. He has three shutouts, one of which was against the Chargers in Huntsville on November 14.

Senior forward Stephen Perfetto leads the Lakers with eight goals, and has a five-game point scoring streak coming into this series. Junior Bryce Schmitt has seven goals and seven assists to lead LSSU with 14 points.

Freshman defenseman James Roll is the only other Laker with double-digit points with 10. His nine assists leads the team.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Minnesota State** 19-2-1 39
Michigan Tech** 17-4-1 35
Bowling Green* 13-4-3 29
Northern Michigan 8-8-4 20
Alaska^ 9-12-1 19
Ferris State 8-12-0 16
Bemidji State 6-10-4 16
Alabama-Huntsville 6-14-0 12
Lake Superior State 6-16-0 12
Alaska-Anchorage 4-14-2 10
** Clinched home ice in first round
* Clinched playoff berth
^ Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: No more non-conference action — it’s all league play the final four weekends to determine who wins the MacNaughton Cup and clinches home ice and playoff berths. All 10 teams are in action this week.

For the second straight weekend, Bowling Green and Ferris State meet up, this time in Big Rapids, Michigan. BG took both games in Bowling Green last week as it clinched a playoff spot and edge closer to home ice in the first playoff round.

The race for the MacNaughton heats up in Alaska, where both No. 1 Minnesota State and No. 5 Michigan Tech, separated by just four points, visit Fairbanks and Anchorage, respectively.

Bemidji State visits Northern Michigan looking to move up into home ice territory in the standings.

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

Friday, February 13

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

Saturday, February 14

UAH at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
#8 Bowling Green at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
#5 Michigan Tech at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.
#1 Minnesota State at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.