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.

Series Preview: vs. Ferris State, Feb. 20-21

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.: Thunder sticks to first 500
Online video: WCHA.tv (subscription)
Live stats: UAHChargers.com
Twitter: @weloveuahhockey, @uahhockey, @FerrisHockey

The Chargers have a chance to gain ground on the team ahead of them in the WCHA standings as they host Ferris State on Friday and Saturday nights at the VBC. Puck drop is 7:07 p.m. both nights.

UAH is in eighth place in the WCHA, currently the seventh seed for the playoffs. At 15 points, the Chargers are three behind seventh-place Ferris State.

All-time series: UAH is 3-10-0 against Ferris State with the series starting in 1985. One of those victories came on November 21 of this season at FSU, the Chargers’ first-ever win there. UAH is 1-3-0 all-time against Ferris State in Huntsville, with the lone win coming in 2010.

Charger recap: UAH (8-18-4 overall, 7-14-1 WCHA) took a big step toward its first WCHA playoff berth with a win and a tie against Lake Superior State.

Doug Reid

Doug Reid scored two goals at Lake Superior State last week. (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

On Friday, senior captain Doug Reid scored his first goal of the season in the second period to tie the Lakers at 1-1, which would be the final score. Carmine Guerriero had 25 saves on 26 shots.

On Saturday, Reid scored again to equalize the game at 1-1, but the Chargers were not finished. Max McHugh netted the game-winner in the third period, and Brent Fletcher added an empty-net goal to lift UAH to a 3-1 victory. Guerriero duplicated his line of 25 saves with only one goal allowed.

McHugh continues to lead the Chargers in scoring with 18 points, which is fourth among freshmen in the WCHA, and in goals with eight. He earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors with his performance at LSSU.

Jack Prince had a couple of assists on Saturday to lift his line to 5-9-14. Brandon Parker added a helper of his own and now leads UAH with 12 assists.

Guerriero’s save percentage went up to .929, which is third in the WCHA. He has a 2.45 goals against average this season.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA rank)
FSU
8-18-4
7-14-1 WCHA
Record 12-18-1
9-13-0 WCHA
1.70 (9th) Goals/game 2.16 (7th)
3.17 (8th) Goals allowed/game 2.39 (4rd)
15.2 (2nd) Pen. minutes/game 14.1 (4th)
15.7% (5th) Power play 10.3% (9th)
81.9% (8th) Penalty kill 87.0% (3rd)

About the Bulldogs: Ferris State (12-18-1 overall, 9-13-0 WCHA) split its two-game series at home against Bowling Green last week. The Bulldogs’ 3-2 overtime win on Saturday ended a seven-game losing streak — all of which were against league-leader and now-No. 2 Minnesota State and the eighth-ranked Falcons. Ferris State is 3-11 in its last 14 games.

The Bulldogs have unexpectedly had trouble scoring this season, only netting 2.16 goals per game. It’s been worse on the road with a 1.44 goals per game average.

It hasn’t helped that senior CJ Motte, their first-team all-WCHA goaltender last season, has had an inconsistent year. Motte still sports a 2.31 goals against average and .916 save percentage and four shutouts, but seven times this season (and three times during the Bulldogs’ seven-game losing streak) he has allowed four or more goals — all on the road.

The leading scorer for the Bulldogs is junior left wing Matt Robertson, who has 22 points on the season with six goals and a team-leading 16 assists. He did not dress against Bowling Green last week.

Ferris State’s leading goal-scorers are sophomores Chad McDonald and Kyle Schempp with eight. Schempp has missed the last three games after scoring five goals in his last seven.

WCHA Standings Record Pts.
Minnesota State** 19-3-2 40
Michigan Tech** 19-4-1 39
Bowling Green* 14-5-3 31
Alaska^ 10-12-2 22
Bemidji State 8-10-4 20
Northern Michigan 8-10-4 20
Ferris State 9-13-0 18
Alabama-Huntsville 7-14-1 15
Lake Superior State 6-17-1 13
Alaska-Anchorage 4-16-2 10
** Clinched home ice in first round
* Clinched playoff berth
^ Ineligible for postseason play

Around the WCHA: Three regular-season weeks left and the playoff chase is heating up. There are three conference series this week including UAH at Ferris State.

No. 8 Bowling Green hosts Northern Michigan needing only one point to clinch home ice in the first round. The Falcons are in third place, eight points behind Michigan Tech (which is idle) and nine behind first-place Minnesota State (also idle).

Alaska-Anchorage, currently out of playoff position and last place in the WCHA, heads to Bemidji State. Bemidji is tied with Northern Michigan for fifth place, which is currently the fourth seed (and last to host in the first round).

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

Friday, February 20

Ferris State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #8 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska-Anchorage at Bemidji State, 7:37 p.m.

Saturday, February 21

Ferris State at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Northern Michigan at #8 Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
Alaska-Anchorage at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.

UAH beats Lake Superior 3-1 to win crucial road series

UAH coach Mike Corbett said two weeks ago after the Chargers’ dreadful series at Michigan Tech that the team’s response would determine whether they would make the WCHA playoffs.

Nothing was clinched this weekend, but the response the Chargers had in Sault Ste. Marie was a step in the right direction.

UAH defeated Lake Superior State 3-1 on Saturday, taking three points on the road from the Lakers and sole possession of eighth place (and seventh playoff seed) in the WCHA.

Carmine Guerriero made 25 saves, and Max McHugh scored the game-winner in the third period for the Chargers (8-18-4 overall, 7-14-1 WCHA), whose 15 points moved two clear of Lake Superior (7-23-2 overall, 6-17-1 WCHA) and five over Alaska-Anchorage (which was swept by Michigan Tech). UAH remained three points behind seventh-place Ferris State, which beat Bowling Green in overtime.

Unlike Friday when only one penalty was called all game, Saturday was penalty-filled, with lots of holding, tripping, roughing after the whistle, and general chippiness. Seventeen penalties were called total, with nine against UAH.

It started with Josh Kestner’s high sticking call at 5:41, then Graeme Strukoff was called for holding at 11:58. The Chargers were able to kill those penalties easily, but the big one came at 15:14, when Jeff Vanderlugt tripped and cross-checked LSSU’s Stephen Perfetto.

During the four-minute power play, UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero made some key stops, keeping the game scoreless until a Lake Superior holding penalty on Garret Clemment ended the Lakers’ advantage.

UAH’s best scoring chance in the first period came with Brent Fletcher all alone in front of LSSU goaltender Gordon Defiel, who made the stop.

The Chargers started the second period with a power play extended by a tripping call on Lake Superior’s Aidan Wright. However, Perfetto found Gus Correale, who wristed a short-handed goal past Guerriero to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead just 43 seconds in the frame. It was Correale who scored Lake Superior’s lone goal Friday night.

But Doug Reid would do the same. The senior captain, who tied the game at 1-1 on Friday, did it again Saturday, beating Defiel with 5:05 left in the second. It was Reid’s second goal of the season, assisted by a nice pass by Jack Prince.

In the third, UAH would be the team to finally break through on the power play. The Chargers were already feeling the groove in the offensive zone and getting some shots on Defiel, and just nine seconds after LSSU’s Jayson Angus was called for holding, McHugh knocked in a rebound to give UAH the 2-1 lead with 11:32 to go.

McHugh was assisted by Prince’s second helper on the night, and Brandon Parker’s team-leading 12th assist of the season.

McHugh’s interference call gave the Lakers a chance to tie it, but despite a flurry where Guerriero had to make a couple of saves, the penalty was killed. LSSU finished 0-for-7 with the advantage for the game.

Defiel was pulled to give Lake Superior the extra attacker with two minutes left and continued to put on the pressure. But at the end, Brent Fletcher’s long clear found the empty net for the final 3-1 victory score.

UAH now comes home for two weeks with the goal of locking down its first WCHA playoff berth. Ferris State comes to Huntsville on Feb. 20 and 21, followed by Alaska on Feb. 27 and 28.

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.

Huskies blast Chargers, 11-1

Houghton has become a place of horrors for UAH.

Michigan Tech (20-7-1 overall, 15-4-1 WCHA) led almost from the start, scoring twice in the first 1:17 and never were challenged in a 11-1 win over the Chargers (7-18-3, 6-14-0 WCHA). Tech outshot the Chargers 54-12.

UAH is now 0-4 all-time in Houghton in the series that started last season, outscored by a combined 30-6.

Two weeks to regroup is all you can say. The Chargers get a week off to lick their wounds before heading to Lake Superior State on Feb. 13-14 to work on keeping their WCHA playoff position.

The Huskies scored on two of their first three shots. Tanner Kero banked a shot of the post in a wide open to give Tech the lead just 33 seconds in.

Chad Brears was called for hooking at the time of the goal, and Alex Petan quickly capitalized, putting in a rebound past Carmine Guerriero. Just 1:17 in, and UAH was already down 2-0.

UAH was fortunate not to be behind even more. The Huskies fired a total of 21 shots on Guerriero in the first period, allowing only four to the Chargers. UAH had to kill57 seconds of a two-man Michigan Tech advantage late in the first period.

However, Tech would grow that lead in the second period. Just 10 seconds in, while still on the power play from the previous period, Malcolm Gould geat Guerriero on the after a centering pass from Blake Pietila to make it 3-0 Huskies.

Over four minutes later, Max Vallis backhands the puck over Guerriero’s glove from the slot, and Michigan Tech led 4-0. Guerriero, who had already seen 28 shots in 24:41, was pulled for Matt Larose. At that point, the Chargers only had five shots on goal.

UAH finally got on the board with 6:12 left in the second. Jack Prince scored his fifth goal of the season from the right side, assisted by Chad Brears and Brandon Parker, to cut Tech’s lead to 4-1.

The goal ended the longest road scoring drought in UAH hockey history – a span of 233 minutes and 26 seconds dating back to December 21 at Omaha.

The Huskies regained the four-goal lead at 5-1 after Brent Baltus scored as the puck trickled past Larose while he was down with 1:51 left in the second.

Brent Fletcher received a spearing major penalty with a game misconduct after the whistle ending the second. The Huskies added goals Tanner Kero and Joel L’Esperance on the ensuing power play to lead 7-1.

L’Esperance, Vallis, Cliff Watson, and Baltus scored the final goals of the game.

Larose allowed seven goals on 26 shots.

The 11 goals allowed by the Chargers were the most since a 12-1 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 1, 2002. It’s the second most goal allowed in UAH’s modern Division I era and fourth most all-time.