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Slow Start Proves Fatal for Chargers in Loss to Michigan Tech

Another slow start spelled doom for the Chargers.

UAH, now winless in nine games to open the season, mustered just 3 shots on goal in the first period while goaltender Mark Sinclair kicked away or gloved 19 Michigan Tech scoring attempts Friday night.

And, despite Sinclair’s heroics – he finished with 38 saves – the Chargers (0-9-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) fell 2-1 to the Huskies (2-3-0, 1-0-0). The two teams renew their series Saturday night at the Von Braun Center. Faceoff is 7:07.

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“We can’t keep doing this,” UAH Head Coach Mike Corbett said of his team’s penchant for slow starts. “You run out of gas early when you need to sustain it at the end.”

The Chargers, though, weren’t ever out of the game, according to the scoreboard. No matter that they outshot UAH 40-17, the Huskies couldn’t put UAH away.

Thanks to Sinclair.

“He kept us in the game,” Corbett said. “He gives us a chance to win every night.”

Sinclair, who has a sparkling 2.53 goals-against average and .926 save percentage despite a 0-6-0 record, credited his defensemen for his success.

“The guys gave me good looks,” he said.

As much as he credited the defense, Sinclair was stellar on his own.

A little more than 3 minutes into the game, he stopped Tech’s Gavin Gould, who was all alone at the goalie’s doorstep.

Less than a minute later with UAH on the power play, Sinclair came up big to turn back a shorthanded two-man breakaway.

Sinclair turned into a wall again, this time with about 4 minutes left in the game, when he made a big save on another breakaway.

It was like that most of the night – except when the Huskies put the puck past Sinclair.

Justin MIsiak broke the scoreless tie about 2 minutes into the second period and then, with about 5 minutes gone, Colin Swoyer scored on a wrist shot to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.

The Chargers made the score 2-1 when Brandon Salerno put a wrister into the net 11:03 into the period.

The goal seemed to lift the Chargers as they kept buzzing around the net, trying to get the game-tying goal.

However, they weren’t able to maintain a constant pressure to tie the game.

“We have to learn how to come out strong early,” Corbett said. “So we don’t have to continue to battle our way back.”

 

 

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Missed chances prove costly for Chargers

UAH hockey head coach Mike Corbett was to the point about the Chargers’ 2-1 loss Saturday night to Lake Superior State.

“We should’ve put them away early,” he said. “We’ve got to finish; we’ve got to put ’em away.”

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

The Chargers, who had a strong second and third period in Friday’s game, carried some of the momentum into Saturday night’s game. There were good scoring chances in the first period as they outshot Lake Superior State 10-8. However, UAH couldn’t put anything past Lakers’ goalie Mareks Mitens.

“Their goalie played a great game,” Corbett said.

But Jack Jeffers put the Chargers on the board with 4:08 gone in the second period for a 1-0 lead – the first time UAH led an opponent this season. It was Jeffers’ second goal of the season.

Chargers’ goalie Mark Sinclair, making back-to-back starts, kept the Lakers at bay through the first two periods as he turned away 18 shots.

UAH had a couple more opportunities early in the final period to extend their lead, only to be stymied by Mitens.

Austin Beaulieu had a breakaway from the blue line just under 3 minutes into the period, only to see Mitens come up with the save. Tyr Thompson had the puck in the crease but couldn’t convert at the 4:38 mark.

Sinclair continued his stellar play, including stopping a wrap-around attempt about a minute later.

But, the Lakers finally put one past the sophomore netminder when Anthony Nellis scored at 7:08 of the period to tie the game. Then, about five minutes later, Hampus Erickkson scored the eventual game-winner for a 2-1 Lakers’ lead.

The Chargers, though, kept up the pressure as they tried to get the game-tying goal.

Madison Dunn found himself on the doorstep with the puck with less than 5 minutes to play but Mitens came up with the save.

Then, perhaps the best scoring opportunity for UAH came with 3;37 left in the game on a 3-on-2 break. Mitens was drawn to his right to cover Connor Merkley. However, Merkley passed to Bauer Neudecker on his right, but Neudecker shot wide of the net.

The Chargers fall to 0-2 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and 0-8 overall. The Lakers are 4-0, 2-0. UAH will host Michigan Tech next Friday and Saturday.

Despite the missed chances, Corbett was quick to find high points in the game.

“I’m proud of this group; they responded well,” he said. “There are so many good things that came out of this game.

“We’ll build on this … we’ve got to get our mindset to finish.”