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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.

BOX SCORE | VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

“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.”

 

 

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.

 

By the numbers: Looking back on an epic

UAH looks to stave off elimination tonight at 6 p.m. in Game 2 at Michigan Tech. Here’s some notes on last night’s epic playoff opener, won by the Huskies 1-0 in triple overtime.

Friday night’s game was the longest in UAH hockey history, and the second multiple-overtime game for the program. It was the second-longest in WCHA history and the seventh-longest in NCAA history. It would have been sixth-longest if UMass and Notre Dame hadn’t gone to five overtimes last week.

LONGEST GAMES IN UAH HISTORY
Time OTs Date Opponent Score Event
118:49 3 3/13/2015 Michigan Tech L 1-0 WCHA Quarterfinals Game 1
95:18 2 3/23/2007 Notre Dame L 3-2 NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal
72:31 1 3/11/2007 Robert Morris W 5-4 CHA Championship
72:30 1 3/15/2003 Bemidji State L 2-1 CHA Semifinal
69:12 1 3/16/2002 Wayne State L 5-4 CHA Championship
68:39 1 3/9/2007 Wayne State W 4-3 CHA Quarterfinal

 

Carmine Guerriero was phenomenal keeping the game scoreless as long as he could. He made 76 saves, the most in UAH and WCHA history, and 11 short of the NCAA record set by Notre Dame’s Cal Peterson in that 5OT game last week (UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz had 75 saves in that game). It was the fifth-most saves in NCAA history.

The WCHA’s previous record for saves in a single game was Kirk Daubenspeck, who had 75 saves with then-member Wisconsin against Colorado College on March 8, 1997.

Guerriero now holds two of the top three single-game save performances for UAH. He had 61 at Minnesota State on Feb. 15, 2014. Barry Friedman had the old all-time UAH record, stopping 62 against Geneseo State on Nov. 8, 1986.

MOST SAVES IN A GAME, NCAA HISTORY
Saves Goaltender School Date Opponent
87 Cal Petersen Notre Dame 3/6/2015 Massachusetts
78 Dick Greenlaw Rensselaer 12/14/1965 Boston U.
77 Rick DiPietro Boston U. 3/26/2000 St. Lawrence
77 Bill Halbrehder Minnesota Duluth 12/19/1964 Michigan
76 Carmine Guerriero Alabama Huntsville 3/13/2015 Michigan Tech

 

Guerriero’s scoreless streak of 118:48 was almost nine minutes short of the longest streak in UAH history. Mark Byrne holds the longest shutout streak of 127:42, set over three games to start the 2000-01 season. Guerriero almost broke it in one game.

Alas, the Chargers streak of allowing a goal now stands at 165 games since Cam Talbot’s last UAH shutout in 2010, and UAH has been shut out 41 times in that stretch.

In the two regular-season games at Michigan Tech on January 30-31, Guerriero allowed nine goals over 84:41. He played a bit better Friday.

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.

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.