Jan 072018

Jordan Uhelski made 35 saves as UAH held on for a much-needed 3-1 victory over Alaska in Fairbanks on Saturday night to earn a series split.

UAH (7-15-2 overall, 6-10-2 WCHA) snapped a six-game losing streak, and leaped back into sixth place in the WCHA standings.


Alaska (8-12-2 overall, 6-9-1 WCHA), coached by UAH alum Lance West, saw its three-game win streak end.

The Chargers will now head to Alaska Anchorage for a series next weekend against the Seawolves and finish off their 12-game road odyssey.

There was no scoring in the first period, although it was the Chargers who had the bulk of opportunities, outshooting the Nanooks 13-5.

However, Alaska goaltender Anton Martinsson continued where he left off at the end of Friday night’s game, making the big saves to keep UAH out of the net.

The second period was Uhelski’s time to shine as the Nanooks started to get the most scoring chances. Uhelski stopped all 19 Alaska shots on goal in the frame.

The closest Alaska came to scoring was after an initial Uhelski save, but the UAH defense was able to clear the puck from the crease after it started to trickle through.

UAH made nine shots of their own in the action-packed second period, and one of them gave the Chargers its first lead in weeks. Josh Kestner got the puck in front, went backhand to forehand to put the puck past Martinsson for this 15th goal of the season with 5:41 left.

John Teets, playing in his hometown Fairbanks, got the primary assist, his sixth of the season. Levi Wunder tallied his fourth helper.

UAH made it 2-0 with 9:18 to go when, right out of the penalty box from a tripping penalty, Austin Beaulieu broke away and deked Martinsson for his second goal of the season.

Alaska cut UAH’s lead to 2-1 just 24 seconds later, as Tayler Munson found Justin Young all alone in the slot, and Young was able to beat Uhelski.

That would be the only goal he would allow, making 11 saves in the third period for a total of 35.

Christian Rajic scored his eighth goal of the season, putting away the empty netter with 43 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Andrew Dodson was not in the lineup after suffering a concussion in Friday night’s game. Tyler Poulsen was also a late scratch for UAH.

Nanooks stun Chargers with last-minute goal

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Jan 062018

Alaska scored with 55 seconds left in regulation to hand UAH a 3-2 loss on Friday in Fairbanks, Alaska.

UAH (6-15-2 overall, 5-10-2 WCHA) has lost six straight games, falling to eighth place in the WCHA standings. Alaska (8-11-2, 6-8-1) moved up to sixth.

Game two of the series and 10th game in this long road swing is Saturday night at 10:07 p.m. Central Time.

Alaska took the early 1-0 lead at 6:17 of the game. Ross Heidt put in a rebound during a scramble in front of UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair. Heidt was assisted by UAF captain Justin Woods.

The Chargers then put on the pressure, and tied the game on the power play with 1:39 left in the first period. After he was boarded by Steven Jandric, Kurt Gosselin one-timed a Brennan Saulnier pass from near the right point for his fourth goal of the season.

Saulnier and Brandon Salerno each got their fifth assists of the season.

Alaska regained the lead at 5:35 of the second period, as Kyle Marino beat Sinclair on a semi-breakaway.

UAH tied the game again, right after a power play expired. Austin Beaulieu notched his first goal of the season from the right circle dot with 3:57 left in the second. Salerno got another assist, and Brandon Parker also tallied a helper.

In a bit of a scoresheet oddity, Josh Kestner had a hat trick of tripping penalties in the second period.

UAH had chances to take the lead late in the third, including a power play. They peppered Anton Martinsson, who make scrambling saves in the final two minutes.

And then just like that, Zach Frye’s blast found its way past Sinclair with 55 seconds left in regulation. UAH pulled Sinclair for the extra attacker, but to no avail.

Sinclair made 21 saves in his fifth career start, still looking for his first win.

UAH outshot the Nanooks 26-24.

Preview: UAH at Alaska

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Jan 042018

Where: Carlson Center, Fairbanks, Alaska
When: Friday, 10:07 p.m.; Saturday, 10:07 p.m. (CST)
Watch: WCHA.tv
Team stats: UAH | Alaska

Josh Kestner

Josh Kestner leads the WCHA in goals in league play. Photo by Todd Thompson/RiverCat Photography

Charger update: UAH (6-14-2 overall, 5-9-2 WCHA) saw its losing streak extended to five games at Bemidji State last week, losing 3-1 and 4-1.

The Chargers have struggled to score during the skid with only four goals in the last five games. UAH is now in seventh place in the WCHA standings, one point ahead of this week’s opponent, Alaska.

Josh Kestner was UAH’s only goal scorer at Bemidji, getting the lone tally in both games. That boosted his season total to 14, the most in a season by any Charger since Grant Selinger scored 17 in the 2006-07 season. Kestner is second in the WCHA in overall goals, and his 12 goals in WCHA play tops the league.

With 35 career goals, Kestner is tied for ninth in UAH’s modern Division I era. It’s been 11 years since anyone has entered the top 10.

UAH will have Brennan Saulnier, who is tied for second on the team in goals with seven, back in the lineup after his two-game suspension.

Jordan Uhelski was very busy between the pipes, stopping 67 of 73 BSU shots on goal.

UAH goes to Fairbanks directly from Bemidji, and will head directly to Anchorage for next week’s series against the Seawolves. This is the fifth of sixth straight series on the road.

Players to watch:
Josh Kestner (Sr., F, 14 goals-4 assists-18 points in 22 games played)
Tyler Poulsen (Jr., F, 5-11-16 in 21 GP)
Brennan Saulnier (Sr., F, 7-4-11 in 20 GP)
Christian Rajic (Fr., F, 7-4-11 in 22 GP)
Kurt Gosselin (Jr., D, 3-5-8 in 22 GP)
Jordan Uhelski (Sr., G, 3.00 goals against average, .907 save percentage in 18 starts)

Lance West

Lance West, who had 113 points as a Charger, fires a shot against the Nanooks in a 1991 game in Huntsville.

About the Nanooks: Alaska (7-11-2 overall, 5-8-1 WCHA) has had the last three weeks off for the holidays. The Nanooks’ last action was Dec. 8-9, sweeping their arch-rival Alaska Anchorage. They have won three of their last four, all on the road.

This weekend will be the first time UAH will face a Division I opponent whose head coach is a Charger alum. Lance West, who was promoted to head coach at Alaska over the summer, played for UAH from 1991-95. West was an assistant at UAF for nine seasons under departing coach Dallas Ferguson.

Justin Woods is tied for fourth among WCHA defensemen in points with 15.

Players to watch:
Kylar Hope (So., F, 8-8-16 in 20 GP)
Justin Woods (Sr., D, 8-7-15 in 20 GP)
Colton Leiter (So., C, 7-8-15 in 19 GP)
Nikolas Koberstein (Jr., D, 1-8-9 in 20 GP, 5th-round pick by Montreal in 2014)
Anton Martinsson (So., G, 3.11 GAA, .893 SV% in 18 starts)

UAH Tale of the tape
(per game averages)
6-14-2 Overall record 7-11-2
5-9-2 WCHA record 5-8-1
2.50 (8th) Goals 2.93 (3rd)
3.25 (8th) Goals allowed 3.21 (7th)
16.2 (2nd) Penalty minutes 13.8 (7th)
18.7% (3rd) Power play 9.7% (10th)
81.2% (6th) Penalty kill 80.9% (7th)
WCHA rank in parentheses, conference games only


Series notes: Alaska leads the all-time series 21-8-2, including a 12-4-0 mark in Fairbanks. The teams played four times last season, with an Alaska win (3-1) and tie (3-3) in Huntsville and a split (UAF 3-0, UAH 4-1) in Fairbanks.

This week in the WCHA: All times are Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, Jan. 5
* UAH at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
* Bemidji State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
* #7 Minnesota State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.
#13 Boston College vs. Michigan Tech, 7 p.m. (Ice Vegas Invitational, Las Vegas)
Arizona State vs. Northern Michigan, 10:30 p.m. (Ice Vegas Invitational, Las Vegas)

Saturday, Jan. 6
* UAH at Alaska, 10:07 p.m.
* #19 Bowling Green at Ferris State, 4:07 p.m.
* Bemidji State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
* #7 Minnesota State at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.
Arizona State/Northern Michigan vs. Michigan Tech, 7 or 10:30 p.m. (Ice Vegas Invitational, Las Vegas)
#13 Boston College/Michigan Tech vs. Northern Michigan, 7 or 10:30 p.m. (Ice Vegas Invitational, Las Vegas)

Sunday, Jan. 7
* #19 Bowling Green at Ferris State, 2:07 p.m.

Bemidji State takes down UAH again, 4-1

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Dec 302017

Bemidji State defeated UAH 4-1 on Saturday, completing a series sweep as both teams are moving in opposite directions fast.

UAH (6-14-2 overall, 5-9-2 WCHA) has lost five straight games and is winless in their last six. Bemidji State (9-6-5 overall, 6-4-4 WCHA) has won four in a row and is unbeaten in its last seven.


The Chargers, sitting seventh in the WCHA standings, will head directly from Bemidji to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they will take on the Alaska Nanooks next weekend and continue their stretch of 12 straight road games.

UAH was able to get more scoring chances to start this game, a carryover from the third period Friday night, but still had trouble finding the net. The Chargers have only scored four goals in the last five games.

However, it was Bemidji State that got the first goal again with 7:08 left in the period. Myles Fitzgerald had a shot from the slot in front of Uhelski, who made the save. The rebound was short and right to Jay Dickman, who slid the puck between Uhelski’s legs before Uhelski got a chance to cover.

BSU asserted more puck possession the rest of the period, finishing with 15 shots on goal to UAH’s nine.

Bemidji pounced early in the second period, with Zach Whitecloud scoring just 18 seconds in for a 2-0 Beavers lead.

UAH got on the board at the 5:13 mark, when Josh Kestner tipped in a bouncing puck over BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer to cut BSU’s lead to 2-1. It was Kestner’s 14th goal of the season and second of the series (scoring UAH’s lone goal on Friday). Levi Wunder and Richard Buri got the assists.

The first power play of the game didn’t come until 4:22 left in the second, and Bemidji State didn’t waste time converting. Adam Brady, who scored twice on Friday, found the net just 19 seconds into the man advantage.

UAH got its first power play with 2:48 left in the second. The Chargers couldn’t score, and with Gerry Fitzgerald coming out of the penalty box, Bemidji State had a 3-on-1. Fitzgerald’s centering pass deflected off a UAH defender and past Uhelski for a 4-1 BSU lead.

The Chargers outshot the Beavers 9-7 in the third period, but no scoring occurred. BSU had the shots advantage for the game, 32-23.

Uhelski finished with 28 saves.

Chargers’ struggles continue in 3-1 loss at Bemidji

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Dec 292017

UAH’s offense has gotten as cold as the Bemidji, Minnesota air, which had a temperature of 15 below zero at game time.

The Chargers lost 3-1 at Bemidji State on Friday night, their fourth loss in a row. UAH has only scored three goals in the skid.

UAH (6-13-2 overall, 5-8-2 WCHA) was outshot 42-19 for the contest. In the losing streak, the Chargers have been outshot 157-62.


The Chargers played their best period in the third, outshooting the Beavers 8-6 but failing to find the equalizer down 2-1. They can take this into the series finale Saturday night.

Despite dominating most of the game, Bemidji State (8-6-5 overall, 5-4-4 WCHA) needed an empty-net goal with 24 seconds left to extended its unbeaten streak to six games. BSU moved into fifth place in the WCHA standings, keeping the Chargers in sixth.

Jordan Uhelski was the prime reason UAH stayed in the game. The senior goaltender made 39 saves, 20 of them in the second period alone.

If the Christmas break put some rust on the Chargers, it showed. UAH was not sharp in the first period, turning the puck over and giving the Beavers the bulk of scoring chances and the first goal of the game.

Adam Brady took a T.J. Roo pass, then beat Uhelski from the right side at the 6:04 mark. The Beavers outshot the Chargers 16-6 in the first period, and most of those UAH shots came late.

It didn’t get better during the second period, although the Chargers were able to tie the game on the power play.

Josh Kestner ripped a one-timer from the left circle at 5:45 of the period, his 13th of the season. With 13 games left in the regular season, Kestner has the most goals in a season by a Charger since Grant Selinger’s 17 in 2006-07.

Kestner was assisted by Tyler Poulsen with his team-leading 11th of the year, and Cam Knight, his ninth helper.

But UAH hardly sniffed the offensive zone the rest of the period, and Bemidji State reclaimed the lead with 4:03 left in the second. Zach Whitecloud beat Uhelski high from the slot as the Beavers relentlessly put 20 more pucks on net in the period while UAH only had five.

Hands down, the third period was the best for the Chargers, who finally applied some stretches of sustained pressure. That kept the Beavers from getting a shot on goal in the first eight minutes.

But UAH couldn’t tie the game against all-American goaltender Michael Bitzer, who had 18 saves.

Brady put the game away with his second goal of the game, an empty-netter with 24 seconds left after Uhelski was pulled for the extra attacker.