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, 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.
||Tale of the tape
7-20-1 WCHA (8th)
21-5-2 WCHA (2nd)
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.