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

Bowling Green 2, UAH 1

This is the way the season ends: not with a bang, but with a whimper.

UAH did enough in their win and tie in the Soo to make the WCHA postseason; with those three points, UAH avoided nail-biting late into the night to see if Alaska-Anchorage could pick up points at home against Alaska.  Otherwise, February and March have been a disaster for the Chargers, who end the regular season with six losses.

UAH coach Mike Corbett shook things up on Saturday night, starting his fourth line and sophomore goaltender Matt Larose (Nanaimo, B.C.).  It generally helped, as the Chargers clamped down the opposition’s ability to put shots on goal, allowing just 28 overall.

Larose glove save

Matt Larose makes a glove save while UAH’s Brent Fletcher and BG’s Ted Pletch look on. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BSGUHockey.com)

The defensive effort, combined with excellent play from Larose, limited the Falcons to just two goals on the night, one of which was on the power play.  Unfortunately for UAH, their offense was pedestrian, and the Falcons won 2-1.

BG junior forward Mark Cooper (Toronto) kicked off scoring early in the first with a point shot that slid past Larose (26sv), who was screened — and it looked like the puck went in off of a Charger defenseman’s leg.

Sophomore defenseman Brandon Carlson (Huntington, Beach, Calif.) knotted the game at one just 2:41 later with — you guessed it — a point shot through a screen.  Freshman defenseman Brandon Parker (Faribault, Minn.) and freshman forward Brennan Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia) picked up the assists.

The Falcons’ game-winning goal came late in the first period when freshman forward Mitchell McLain (Baxter, Minn.) returned to the power play with a fresh stick, found the puck, and ripped one past everyone.

Neither team did much for the final two periods; BG outshot UAH 15-11, and there were just three penalties (two on UAH) in the final two stanzas.

 

Cody Marooney

Cody Marooney gets tangled with a Falcon. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com)

A loss by Lake Superior against Ferris State makes the Chargers the 7th seed, as UAH was 2-1-1 v. the Lakers in 2014-15.  UAH will face No. 2 seed Michigan Tech in a best-of-3 WCHA quarterfinal series starting Friday night at 6 p.m. CDT. We’ll have more on that for you later this week.

But despite the disappointing finish, UAH is in the postseason, and not just because Alaska was ineligible.  After a two-win season, UAH has seven conference wins and eight overall.  January’s four home wins show that significant progress has been made.

Now the boys get to try and be world beaters.

Note: Updated with UAH’s opponent in the WCHA quarterfinals. – Michael Napier

Bowling Green cruises past Chargers, 7-2

UAH still got its spot in the WCHA playoffs with help later in the night, but there is no reason to celebrate after the Chargers’ performance against Bowling Green.

UAH (8-23-4 overall, 7-19-1 WCHA) was blown out 7-2 by the 13th-ranked Falcons in Ohio for its fifth straight loss. The Chargers allowed the second-most goals in a game this season and was outshot 37-19.

Matt Larose, who came into the game in relief, makes a stop on Bowling Green's Mitchell McLain. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com)

Matt Larose, who came into the game in relief, makes a stop on Bowling Green’s Mitchell McLain. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com)

Max McHugh scored two goals for the second straight game for the Chargers, both coming on a third-period power play well after the game was at hand. He now has 12 on the season.

The Chargers clinched a playoff spot when Alaska-Anchorage lost to Alaska 1-0 late Friday night. Tied with Lake Superior State with 15 points, UAH is still the No. 7 seed, which they can retain with a win over Bowling Green, a LSSU loss to Ferris State, or if both UAH and LSSU tie their games in the regular season’s final day Saturday. Otherwise, UAH will be the No. 8 seed.

Bowling Green (20-10-5 overall, 16-8-3 WCHA), which is locked into the third seed for the WCHA playoffs, needed the victory to stay on the NCAA Tournament bubble, and they had the game under control from start to finish.

The Chargers were on their heels right from the opening face-off. The Falcons flurried around the net, and Mark Cooper fired a rebound shot through traffic from the right circle to score just 55 seconds into the game.

It took a few minutes for UAH to compose themselves offensively, and the Chargers were able to get in a few scoring chances. Josh Kestner was denied on a breakaway by Bowling Green goaltender Tommy Burke, who followed up and covered on Matt Salhany’s rebound shot.

The Falcons extended the lead to 2-0 on the power play. Kestner was called on a questionable trip, and Bowling Green fired away. The puck trickled trough Carmine Guerriero’s pads off the stick of Cooper, who notched his second goal of the game with 7:46 left in the first.

UAH had a power play chance continue into the start of the second, but right after it expired, Dan DeSalvo got the puck right out of the penalty box, breaking away and beating Guerriero as Bowling Green took a 3-0 lead at 1:09.

Over three minutes later, the Falcons crashed the net shorthanded, and Brandon Carlson covered the puck in the crease. That led to a Bowling Green penalty shot, which Brandon Hawkins coverted to make it 4-0.

Brent Fletcher has the puck while pursued by BG's Mark Friedman. (Photo by Todd Pavlack, BGSUHockey.com)

Brent Fletcher has the puck while pursued by BG’s Mark Friedman. (Photo by Todd Pavlack/BGSUHockey.com)

That ended the night for Guerriero, who was replaced by Matt Larose after making 19 saves and allowed four goals.

Sean Walker scored Bowling Green’s fifth goal on a rush down the left side, getting around Frank Misuraca and beating Matt Larose at 2:25 of the third.

Hawkins scored his second goal of the game, and Pierre-Luc Mercier added another in a span of 49 seconds, and it was 7-0 within the first five minutes of the final frame.

Bowling Green’s Adam Berkle hip-checked Brennan Saulnier, who fell into the boards with 7:09 remaining. Saulnier was slow to get up, but was able to skate off the ice on his own power.

Berkle got a five-minute interference penalty, and the bench got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, giving UAH a major power play with two minutes of two-man advantage. McHugh got a goal on each power play as UAH avoided the shutout. Chad Brears got assists on both goals, and Brandon Parker got his 14th helper on McHugh’s second goal.

Burke stopped 17 of 19 shots. Larose finished with 11 saves on 14 shots in the final 35-plus minutes.

The Falcons have outscored the Chargers 16-3 in three meetings this season.

Editor’s note: Recap updated with UAH clinching a playoff spot following Alaska-Anchorage’s loss.