UAH 5, UConn 2

HUNTSVILLE — The homestanding UAH Chargers (1-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) rebounded from a tough game on Friday to win going away on Saturday, again potting two first-period goals but equaling that total in the final frame for a 5-2 win over the visiting Connecticut Huskies (1-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East).  (Box score)

The Chargers were paced by a blistering night from their top line.  Sophomore forward Brennan Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia) scored two goals and assisted on each of his linemates’ markers, while senior forward Chad Brears (Cold Lake, Alberta) also assisted on his linemates’ goals and sophomore forward Max McHugh (Seattle) assisted on Saulnier’s first tally.  The 4-5—9 mark is the highest for one Charger line since February 25, 2006, when Bruce Mulherin (2002-06, Red Deer, Alb.) went 1-4—5, Brett McConnachie (2003-07, Ajax, Ont.) 3-0—3, and Chris Martini (2003-06, Calgary, Alb.) slacked 1-0—1 to make for a startling five goals and four assists on the night.  Saulnier’s effort is the Chargers’ single-best point effort since Jack Prince’s 2-2—4 game against Michigan Tech on February 8, 2014.

UAH scored five goals just once in 2014-15, a 5-2 win over Lake Superior that was the program’s first Division I home win in nearly four years.  The seven-goal weekend output was the highest at home against a Division I opponent since a 4-2 loss and 5-5 tie against Niagara in 2008-09, and the Chargers are 1-1-0 to start the season for the first time since 2010-11.

It was kinda historic.

The Huskies got an early lead when freshman forward Hans Gorowsky (Lino Lakes, Minn.) hauled down sophomore forward Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) on a breakaway, resulting in a penalty shot that Ronan rang in off of the left post.

The Chargers soon responded.  Brears would knot the game at 1-1 just 67 seconds later off of a feed from sophomore defenseman Richard Buri (Nitra, Slovakia).  Husky freshman defenseman Miles Gendron (Shrewsbury, Mass.) would push the visitors back up 2-1 with his first collegiate goal just 1:55 after that.  Then the Chargers returned the favor :25 later with Saulnier’s first marker of the night (Brears, McHugh).  All four goals were scored in 4:27.

After a period of out-shooting the Huskies 15-10, the Chargers returned more to recent form, suffering a deficit of 12-5 in the middle frame.  McHugh would score on the power play, though, pushing UAH to the lead with just 2:36 left in the 2nd right after senior defenseman Kyle Huson‘s (Parker, Colo.) penalty expired to bring the Huskies back to four defenders.

The Chargers poured it on in the third, adding Saulnier’s second marker from an assist by senior defenseman Frank Misuraca (Clinton Township, Mich.) at 6:10.  Gorowsky added an insurance marker on the penalty kill, taking a feed from junior forward Regan Soquila (Maple Ridge, B.C.), who had intercepted a poor outlet pass into neutral ice.  Soquila nearly ended his goalless streak just a shift later, sending a puck just wide of Husky sophomore goaltender Steve Thulin (North Reading, Mass.).

Junior goaltender Carmine Guerriero (Montréal, Qué.) made 29 saves in the win, moving up to 1-1-0 and raising his save percentage to .908 and lowering his GAA to 3.01.  Thulin, seeing his first collegiate action, made 24 saves.

UAH plays an exhibition next weekend against the University of Alabama’s club team before starting the WCHA season at home the next weekend against Alaska-Anchorage.  The exhibition is at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday the 17th, while the varsity games on the 23rd and 24th drop the puck at 7:07 p.m.

UAH announces team awards, captains at banquet

Last Wednesday night was the end of season banquet for the Chargers, who celebrated the strides made in the 2014-15 season and looked forward to the next step in the program’s growth.

Sophomore goaltender Carmine Guerriero was the team’s Most Valuable Player of the 2014-15 season. Guerriero had a .928 save percentage, fourth-best in UAH history, and a 2.56 goals against average, fifth-best in program history.

Defensive Player of the Year went to junior Frank Misuraca, who led UAH defensemen in goals with six goals. He was second among Chargers with 69 blocks.

After making the WCHA All-Rookie Team and leading the Chargers in scoring with 23 points, Max McHugh was an obvious choice for Freshman of the Year.

The Charger of the Year Award, which goes to the player who exemplifies what it means to be a UAH Charger, went to senior Craig Pierce. The Roswell, Ga., native became an alternate captain this season, scoring three goals in 28 games and battling a wrist injury.

Also announced were the 2015-16 captains. Junior Brent Fletcher will don the “C” for the Chargers next season, with seniors Frank Misuraca and Chad Brears being the alternate captains.

Press release from UAHChargers.com

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

Series Preview: at Bowling Green, March 6-7

CATCHING THE GAMES
Times: 6:07 p.m. CT Friday
6:07 p.m. CT Saturday
Watch it: WCHA.tv (subscription)
Hear it: BGRSO
Stats: BGSUFalcons.com
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @BGSUHockeySite@BGFalconHockey,

The Chargers finish the regular season at No. 13 Bowling Green looking to lock down their first WCHA playoff berth. Puck drop in Ohio is Friday and Saturday at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.

UAH needs just one more point to clinch a spot in the WCHA playoffs, which begin next week. Otherwise, the Chargers will need either Alaska-Anchorage to not win or Lake Superior State to lose twice.

All-time series: The Falcons command the all-time series at 12-3-1, including a 5-1-1 record against UAH in Bowling Green. BG has won 10 of the last 11 meetings, with UAH’s lone win coming last season.

Back in October, Bowling Green won both games in Huntsville by scores of 5-0 and 4-1.

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner has four goals in his freshman campaign. (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

Charger recap: UAH (8-22-4 overall, 7-18-1 WCHA) lost its last two home games of the season against Alaska.

On Friday, Josh Kestner scored twice to give UAH a 2-0 lead, but the Nanooks tallied four unanswered goals — three in the third period — and won 4-2. Carmine Guerriero made 37 saves as UAH was outshot 41-15.

On Saturday’s Senior Night, UAH would get on the board first again just 20 seconds in as captain Doug Reid scored. Alaska scored twice to take the lead before Max McHugh put the Chargers back in front at 3-2 with a pair of goals. The Nanooks then stole the game, tying it with 6.3 seconds left in regulation and winning it just 15 seconds into overtime, 4-3. Guerriero stopped another 37 shots.

Guerriero’s save percentage is now at .926, fourth in the WCHA and 18th in NCAA Division I. His goals against average is 2.58.

McHugh’s goal total stands at 10, becoming the first Charger with double-digit goals since Matt Sweazey scored 12 goals in the 2008-09 season. The freshman leads UAH with 21 points.

Other top scorers for UAH are Jack Prince (5-9-14), Chad Brears (3-10-13), Jeff Vanderlugt (6-7-13), and Brandon Parker, who has a team-leading 12 assists. Frank Misuraca is tied with Vanderlugt for second on the team in goals with six.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
BGSU
8-22-4
7-18-1 WCHA (8th)
Record 19-10-5
15-8-3 WCHA (3rd)
1.74 (9th) Goals/game 2.97 (3rd)
3.18 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.41 (5th)
15.9 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 12.8 (6th)
15.9% (5th) Power play 15.2% (7th)
82.3% (8th) Penalty kill 90.1% (1st)

About the Falcons: Bowling Green (19-10-5 overall, 15-8-3 WCHA) is the only team in the WCHA that has locked up its seeding. The 13th-ranked Falcons will be hosting a first-round series next week as the No. 3 seed, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to play for against the Chargers.

Bowling Green has lost four of its last five games, including 6-1 loss on Saturday at Alaska-Anchorage that dropped the Falcons to 14th in the Pairwise rankings, which are the primary tool for determining the teams for the NCAA Tournament. This puts BG on the bubble, and they can’t lose points to an eight-win UAH squad and expect to get an at-large berth.

The Falcons have many offensive threats, with 10 players with double-digit assists this season. Freshman Brandon Hawkins is the point leader with 24, with 12 goals and 12 assists. Sophomore Kevin Dufour has 13 goals on the season — including three against UAH back in October — followed by Ben Murphy’s 11. Dufour’s linemates, sophomores Matt Pohlkamp and Pierre-Luc Mercier, along with freshman defenseman and Philadephia Flyers prospect Mark Friedman, top the Falcons with 15 assists each.

Junior goaltender Tommy Burke has had the most playing time this season, playing in 51 percent of the Falcons’ minutes, posting a 2.27 goals against average and a .919 save percentage in 17 starts. Freshman Chris Nell has been solid as well, with a 2.32 goals against and .917 save percentage.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Minnesota State** 20-3-3 43
Michigan Tech** 19-5-2 40
Bowling Green** 15-8-3 33
Bemidji State* 11-10-5 27
Alaska^ 12-12-2 26
Northern Michigan* 11-11-4 26
Ferris State* 11-14-1 23
Alabama-Huntsville 7-18-1 15
Lake Superior State 7-18-1 15
Alaska-Anchorage 5-19-2 12
** Clinched home ice in first round
* Clinched playoff berth
^ Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: Minnesota State looks to win the MacNaughton Cup as the WCHA regular season champion for the first time. The 2nd-ranked Mavericks need only one point at Bemidji State to do it.

No. 4 Michigan Tech will need to sweep rival Northern Michigan in a home-and-home and hopes Minnesota State loses twice to snatch the Cup for themselves.

As stated before, Charger fans will pay attention to two other series.

In the Governor’s Cup, Alaska-Anchorage hosts Alaska needing two wins and a bit of help to get into the WCHA playoffs. UAH clinches a playoff berth if Alaska-Anchorage loses or ties either game.

Lake Superior State hosts Ferris State also needing a single point to clinch a playoff spot. If UAH gets swept and Alaska-Anchorage sweeps Alaska, the Chargers will need the Lakers to lose both games to still make the playoffs.

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

Friday, March 6

UAH at #13 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #4 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.
#2 Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, March 7

UAH at #13 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
#4 Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
#2 Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.