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.


No. 12 Omaha rallies in third to tie Chargers, 3-3

Penalties give, and penalties take away.

The Chargers staked a 2-0 lead in the second period, but Omaha scored two power play goals in the third and an extra attacker goal with 20.8 seconds left to force a 3-3 tie on Saturday.


UAH (3-14-3) ended a 24-game losing streak against ranked opponents, but the Chargers had their chances to make it a W against the 12th-ranked Mavericks (11-4-3) of the NCHC to finish the non-conference season and 2014.

Charger goaltender Carmine Guerriero, making his second straight start, made 29 saves, and he had to be strong early to keep the game scoreless after one. He made seven saves in the first period, and was shaken a little bit after Luc Snuggerud, after a drive to the net, was knocked into him by Richard Buri with 4:02 left in the period. He used the media timeout to get focused, and was able to keep the Mavericks at bay.

UAH then struck for two goals in the second period, both on the power play.

Brian Cooper went off for slashing at 3:32 of the frame, and the Charger power play was ugly to start, but so beautiful at the end. Turnovers led to three UNO chances shorthanded. Just as the power play was expiring, Jack Prince received a cross-ice pass from Max McHugh, slamming a one-timer past Crosswaithe to give UAH a 1-0 lead.

It was Prince’s third goal of the season. McHugh’s assist was his seventh, and Brandon Parker notched his team-leading eighth assist.

After James Polk was called for hooking at 11:10, McHugh made it 2-0 UAH on a goal of his own, cutting across the slot to beat Crosswaithe after getting a feed from Chad Brears. McHugh’s fifth goal of the season was assisted by Brears (sixth) and Prince (seventh).

Meanwhile, Guerriero kept squaring off on pucks as UNO desperately tried to cut into the Charger lead. Jake Guentzel knows all too well, as he was denied on point-blank shots in the final minutes of the second period.

Then came a penalty-filled third period for the Chargers, which allowed the Mavericks to come back.

UNO started the third replacing Crossthwaite, who was making his first career start, with Ryan Massa, their top netminder, as the Chargers would open the period on the power play. UAH would be stopped, and that was their last power play chance of the night.

At 5:03, Carpenter goes off for hooking. It took only five seconds to end the shutout, and for Ortega to finally get on the scoresheet for the weekend. His 10th goal of the season cut UAH’s lead to 2-1.

Carpenter did make amends just 14 seconds later, scoring his second goal of the season to regain the two-goal lead for the Chargers at 3-1. He was assisted by Jeff Vanderlugt and Matt Salhany.

Vanderlugt went into the box for interference after knocking down Massa at 9:27, and UNO again quickly converted. Ortega notched his second goal of the game just 15 seconds into the power play to make it a one-goal game again, 3-2 UAH.

The Chargers withstood two more power plays on McHugh’s tripping call at 13:54 and Brears’s boarding penalty at 16:37, but not without scares. With five minutes to go, the Mavericks found the post with Guerriero prone. UNO pulled Massa during the last power play to essentially give them a two-man advantage.

In all, UAH had five penalties in the third period, including a 10-minute misconduct on Brears for arguing the boarding call. That was more than the four they had in all of Friday’s game (a 2-1 Omaha win).

UNO pulled Massa again with 30 seconds in regulation, and Guentzel would finally not be denied. Dominic Zombo won the faceoff to Guerriero’s left, and Guentzel fired the puck past Guerriero with 20.8 seconds left to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime.

Guentzel almost won the game for the Mavericks with under two minutes left in overtime, but Guerriero came up big to keep the game a draw.

After overtime, Omaha won the three-round shootout 1-0. The NCHC has shootouts to settle ties for conference standings, but for nonconference games and NCAA purposes it goes down as a tie for both teams. It was UAH’s first-ever shootout.

After a holiday break next weekend, the Chargers return home to WCHA play against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves on January 2 and 3. Puck drop at the Von Braun Center both nights is 7:07 p.m.

NOTES: The last time UAH did not lose to a ranked opponent was Jan. 6, 2012, a 3-2 win at No. 11 Denver. … Omaha outshot the Chargers 32-28. … McHugh has his second multi-point game of his career with the assist and goal in second period.