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.

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.

Series Preview: vs. Connecticut, Oct. 9-10

CATCHING THE GAMES
Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free UAH Hockey T-shirts
Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 – 7:07 p.m.
First 500 fans get free UAH Hockey trading cards
Kids 12-under get free gen. admission to both games

The Chargers begin the next step as they host Connecticut on Friday and Saturday to start the 2015-16 season.

The first face-off is at 7:07 p.m. both nights. It is UAH’s 31st varsity season, 37th overall, and third in the WCHA.

On Friday, the first 500 fans receive a free UAH hockey t-shirt courtesy of Bryant Bank, Damson Auto, Sodexo and Anglin, Reichmann, Snellgrove & Armstrong P.C.  On Saturday, the first 500 fans receive the season’s first set of UAH hockey trading cards, sponsored by Wells Fargo. All season, kids 12 and under get free general admission courtesy of Huntsville International Airport.

All-time series: UAH leads 8-2-0, including a 6-2-0 record in Huntsville. The Chargers and Huskies last met in 2010 at the RPI Holiday Classic, with UAH taking a 6-2 victory. The last meetings at the Von Braun Center came in 2003, with UConn winning the first game 4-1 and UAH winning the second 6-0.

Max McHugh

Max McHugh

Charger recap: UAH finished last season with an 8-26-4 record overall and a 7-20-1 record in the WCHA. The Chargers lost to Michigan Tech in the first round of the WCHA playoffs in Houghton.

UAH looks to continue steady improvement by raising its offensive output. The Chargers averaged 1.63 goals per game last season, which was ninth in the WCHA.

Max McHugh led UAH with 12 goals and 23 points last season in his WCHA All-Rookie freshman campaign. Brandon Parker was tops on the team in assists as a freshman defenseman with 14. Now-seniors Chad Brears (3-12-15) and Jack Prince (5-9-14) round out the Chargers’ top returning scorers.

The backbone of the Chargers has been junior goaltender Carmine Guerriero, who posted one of the best seasons in UAH history. Guerriero posted a 2.56 goals against average ana .928 save percentage as he started 29 of UAH’s 38 games last year.

About the Huskies: Last season, UConn went 10-19-7 overall and 7-11-4 in Hockey East. The Huskies were expected to finish last in their new league after transferring from Atlantic Hockey, but UConn finished ninth. The Huskies lost to New Hampshire in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. Connecticut was picked to finish ninth again in the Hockey East coaches’ preseason poll.

The Huskies’ top returning scorer is senior Shaun Pauly, who had five goals and 15 assists for 20 points last season. Pauly is one of the few upperclassmen on the roster, as UConn has 18 sophomores and seven freshmen. One of those sophomores is Spencer Naas, who tallied 13 goals, including five game-winners, in 2014-15.

Between the pipes is junior Rob Nichols, who started 35 games last season with a 2.73 goals against average and .918 save percentage.

Connecticut has played an exhibition game last week, defeating Queens University 3-1.

UAH in season openers: The Chargers haven’t won a season-opening game since 2009, when UAH stunned No. 5 Notre Dame 3-2 in South Bend (also on Oct. 9). UAH is 11-17-2 all-time in openers, but 4-11-1 in the modern Division I era. UAH hasn’t won a home opener since 2008, but is 15-13-2 all-time starting at the VBC (6-9-1 in the modern Division I era).

Around the WCHA: All 10 teams are in action this weekend, with nine starting their regular season and Michigan Tech playing an exhibition.

All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, Oct. 9
Connecticut at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State vs. #4 North Dakota, 3:30 p.m. (Ice Breaker at Portland, Maine)
#16 Bowling Green at Ohio State, 6 p.m.
Ferris State at Western Michigan, 6 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
#10 Omaha at #6 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
Bemidji State at #2 Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m.
St. Cloud State vs. Alaska, 8:07 p.m. (Kendall Hockey Classic at Anchorage)
Arizona State at Alaska Anchorage, 11:07 p.m. (Kendall Hockey Classic)
Laurentian at #15 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m. (Exhibition)

Saturday, Oct. 10
Connecticut at UAH, 7:07 p.m.
Lake Superior State vs. Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. (Ice Breaker at Portland, Maine)
Western Michigan at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.
Ohio State at #16 Bowling Green, 6:37 p.m.
Northern Michigan at Wisconsin, 7 p.m.
#10 Omaha at #6 Minnesota State, 7:07 p.m.
#2 Minnesota Duluth at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
Arizona State vs. Alaska, 7:07 p.m. (Kendall Hockey Classic at Anchorage)
St. Cloud State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m. (Kendall Hockey Classic)
Laurentian at #15 Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m. (Exhibition)

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.