Hoof Beats: Big series for Saulnier earns WCHA award

Brennan Saulnier

Brennan Saulnier

After a three-goal, five point weekend, UAH sophomore forward Brennan Saulnier was named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Saulnier had two goals and two assists to lead the Chargers to a 5-2 victory over Connecticut on Saturday, which secured a series split. His first goal tied the game at 2-2 in the first period, and his second extended UAH’s lead to 4-2. The four points were the most by a Charger in a single game since Jack Prince did the feat at Michigan Tech on Feb. 8, 2014.

Saulnier’s goal on Friday in the first period tied the game at 1-1, but the Chargers would ultimately lose 5-2.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia native led all Chargers with 10 shots on goal for the weekend. He also committed three penalties.

It is Saulnier’s second WCHA weekly award. Last season, he won the WCHA Rookie of the Week award after having two assists against Air Force.

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In-state exhibition: UAH hosts the Alabama Frozen Tide club team on Saturday at the Huntsville IcePlex for an exhibition contest. Game time is 6 p.m., with “Skate with the Chargers” following the game.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under and students with ID, and the price includes admission to Skate with the Chargers. UAH students get free skate rental with the purchase of a ticket.

Alabama, coached by former Charger player and assistant coach Mike Quenneville, is playing its first season in ACHA Division I, the highest level in club hockey. Another UAH tie: Senior forward Andre Morard is the son of Gus Morard, who played on UAH’s first club teams from 1979-83.

The game is part of Hockey Day Huntsville at the IcePlex, a celebration of the game in the Rocket City. Youth league games will take place Saturday morning, followed by the Point Mallard Ducks taking on the St. Louis Jr. Blues at 2 p.m. Food trucks will be on hand throughout the day.

Guerriero on Richter watch: Carmine Guerriero has been named to the watch list for the 2016 Mike Richter Award, which goes to the best goaltender in NCAA Division I. The award is presented by Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation.

Guerriero was a candidate for the award last season as he posted a .928 save percentage — 14th highest in Division I — and a 2.56 goals against average in 29 starts. Against UConn, he stopped 59 of 65 shots, a .908 save percentage, including 22 straight to finish UAH’s win on Saturday.

WCHA roundup: The WCHA went 5-9-3 in non-conference action in the opening week of the season (not including Michigan Tech’s two exhibition victories). Some of the highlights:

  • Bemidji State, like last year, pulled off an early-season stunner by beating No. 2-ranked Minnesota Duluth in Bemidji on Saturday (the first game in Duluth on Friday was postponed due to a power outage).
  • In the matchup of preseason top-ten teams, Omaha won the Spirit of the Maverick trophy by going into Mankato and taking both games from Minnesota State.
  • No. 16 Bowling Green held serve at home and in Columbus to sweep Ohio State.
  • The Alaska teams went 1-3 in the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, including the Alaska Nanooks being Arizona State’s first Division I victim.

Friday, Oct. 9
Connecticut 5, UAH 2
#4 North Dakota 5, Lake Superior State 2 (Ice Breaker at Portland, Maine)
#16 Bowling Green 6, Ohio State 3
Western Michigan 3, Ferris State 2
Northern Michigan 2, Wisconsin 2, OT
#10 Omaha 3, #6 Minnesota State 2
Bemidji State at #2 Minnesota Duluth, postponed (power outage)
St. Cloud State 3, Alaska 0 (Kendall Hockey Classic at Anchorage)
Alaska Anchorage 3, Arizona State 2, OT (Kendall Hockey Classic)
#15 Michigan Tech 5, Laurentian 1 (Exhibition)

Saturday, Oct. 10
UAH 5, Connecticut 2
Michigan State 4, Lake Superior State 1 (Ice Breaker at Portland, Maine)
Western Michigan 1, Ferris State 1, OT
16 Bowling Green 2, Ohio State o
Northern Michigan 3, Wisconsin 3, OT
#10 Omaha 2, #6 Minnesota State 0
Bemidji State 3, #2 Minnesota Duluth 2
Arizona State 2, Alaska 1 (Kendall Hockey Classic at Anchorage)
St. Cloud State 6, Alaska Anchorage 2 (Kendall Hockey Classic)
#15 Michigan Tech 5, Laurentian o (Exhibition)

Bowling Green moved up to No. 10 in this week’s USCHO.com poll. Minnesota State fell to No. 14, and Michigan Tech is at No. 16. Bemidji State, Northern Michigan, and Ferris State all received votes.

Hoof Beats: Marooney, McHugh earn WCHA weekly honors

Cody Marooney

Cody Marooney (Photo by Chris Brightwell)

Two Chargers earned WCHA weekly awards Monday for their contributions to UAH’s sweep of Alaska-Anchorage over the weekend.

Cody Marooney was named UAH’s first WCHA Offensive Player of the Week after scoring both game-winning goals. His goal on Friday gave UAH a 3-0 lead early in the second period, and the Chargers held on to win 3-2. On Saturday, his goal at 12:50 of the second period broke a 1-1 tie en route to a 2-1 Charger victory.

The two goals raised Marooney’s season total to three. The sophomore from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, has played in all 60 UAH games the past two seasons.

The WCHA Rookie of the Week is Max McHugh, who had a three-point weekend. The freshman from Seattle scored the Chargers’ first two goals in the first period in Friday’s win, and pitched in an assist in UAH’s first goal on Saturday. He is the third Charger to win the award, following Matt Larose last season and Brennan Saulnier back in November.

McHugh has 15 points on the season, already the highest single-season total in the past four years. He leads all WCHA rookies in points is tied for 11th overall.

CG35 stays strong: Goaltender Carmine Guerriero just missed on the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week (again — he’s been nominated SEVEN times this season), but he had another good week between the pipes. Guerriero stopped 58 of 61 shots combined as his record rose to 5-8-2 on the season.

Guerriero’s goals against average dropped to 2.31, and his save percentage rose to .934. His save percentage is now third best in the WCHA and tied for ninth in all of Division I.

Maybe it’ll stick.

Around the WCHA: No. 13 Bowling Green got to play outside on Saturday, hosting No. 19 Robert Morris at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, home of the Mud Hens and the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate. There was concern that the rainy weather would delay or cancel the game, but the teams played to a 2-2 tie. Bowling Green won the second game at Robert Morris on Sunday, and moved up to No. 11 Monday in this week’s USCHO.com poll.

No. 5 Michigan Tech went to Madison to play a struggling Wisconsin team, and blew out the one-win Badgers on Friday, 8-1. But the Badgers got that second win on Saturday, stunning the Huskies 2-o despite being outshot 47-19. Tech dropped three spots to No. 8.

While Tech was playing a non-conference series, Minnesota State moved into sole possession of first place in the WCHA with a three-point weekend at Northern Michigan. The Mavericks cruised to a 4-1 win on Friday, but just managed a 2-2 tie on Saturday. Minnesota State is now ranked fourth in the poll.

Ferris State struggled in its first weekend in Alaska, getting swept by the Nanooks. Alaska got the game-winner Friday with 5:32 to win 2-1, and rolled FSU goaltender C.J. Motte and the Bulldogs on Saturday, 6-0. Alaska goalie Davis Jones notched his fourth shutout.

Shake it off: We end this edition of Hoof Beats with some silliness, courtesy of the UAH Blue Crew and all Charger athletes. You’re welcome.