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.


Hoof Beats: Three ways to get in

Unfortunately, the Chargers could not yet punch their ticket into the WCHA playoffs over the weekend due to the disappointing losses to Alaska in the final home series of the season. However, UAH still has three ways to clinch a playoff spot in the regular season’s final week.

Here is the bottom part of the WCHA standings. Two teams will be the seventh and eighth seeds in the WCHA playoffs, while the last-place team will be out (remember that Alaska is ineligible, meaning ninth place gets in this season). For more on playoff possibilities and predictions for the whole league, visit Geof’s WCHA Playoff Prediction Blog.

Team W L T Pts.
8. Alabama-Huntsville 7 18 1 15
8. Lake Superior State 7 18 1 15
10. Alaska-Anchorage 5 19 2 12


The Chargers need ONE of the following to happen this weekend:

1. Get a point at Bowling Green. UAH needs only a win or tie at No. 13 Bowling Green to earn a playoff berth. Getting that in front of BG’s Bleacher Creatures won’t be easy as the Falcons are 8-5-1 at home this season, and they beat the Chargers 5-0 and 4-1 in Huntsville back in October. Bowling Green is also smarting after losing to Alaska-Anchorage 6-1 on Saturday, which dropped the Falcons into the Pairwise bubble for an NCAA tournament at-large bid, so don’t look for a respite from BG even though it has locked down the third seed in the WCHA tournament. But if this was possible last season…

2. Alaska-Anchorage loses or ties. The same Alaska Nanooks who swept the Chargers over the weekend are now our strongest allies. Alaska-Anchorage must sweep their in-state rivals in Anchorage this week to stay alive (and to win the Governor’s Cup) and hope UAH gets swept to outright pass the Chargers, who have the tie-breaker over Anchorage with their sweep of the Seawolves in Huntsville on Jan. 2-3. The Seawolves stunned the Nanooks in Fairbanks back in mid-January with a pair of one-goal victories, but then lost nine in a row to plummet to the bottom of the WCHA standings before their win over Bowling Green on Saturday.

3. Lake Superior State is swept by Ferris State. UAH and Lake Superior State are tied with identical conference records (7-18-1, 15 points), and the Chargers have the tiebreaker over the Lakers with their 2-1-1 record against them this season. That means if UAH is swept by Bowling Green and Alaska-Anchorage sweeps Alaska, the Chargers would need Lake Superior to get swept and stay at 15 points to use that tiebreaker and get into the playoffs. If the Lakers get any ties or wins in this situation, UAH would be out.

Best get that point at Bowling Green and end all uncertainty.

Carmine Guerriero (Photo by Doug Eagan)

Carmine Guerriero (Photo by Doug Eagan)

Guerriero nominated for Richter Award: UAH’s Carmine Guerriero is one of 28 nominees for the 2015 Mike Richter Award, given to the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA Division I. The award is presented by Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation.

Guerriero has a .926 save percentage, which is fourth best in the WCHA and 18th best in the country. The sophomore from Montreal, Quebec has a 2.58 goals against average and has made at least 30 saves in 15 games this season, including a 54-save performance at Minnesota State on October 24.

Five finalists will be announced on March 18, with the winner being presented at the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four in Boston.

Year-end banquet date announced: The annual end-of-year UAH hockey banquet will take place at Spragins Hall on Wednesday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

The price of a ticket to the event is $25 per person, with the opportunity to sponsor a player’s dinner at the banquet for $25 as well. There will be several silent auction items at the event as well as the chance to sit with your favorite player at dinner.

Payments will be accepted at the door upon arrival. You can RSVP online, or if you have any other questions, please email UAH director of hockey operations Nick Laurila at

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.

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).

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

Times: 6:37 p.m. CT Friday
6:07 p.m. CT Saturday
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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 If you don’t have a 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)
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.