Feb 242017
 

The Chargers’ playoff chances took a hit after an ugly 7-0 loss at Bowling Green on Friday night to start the regular season’s final series.

Fortunately for UAH (9-21-3 overall, 9-15-3 WCHA), Northern Michigan lost to Michigan Tech 3-2, keeping UAH one point behind NMU for the eighth and final playoff spot. But it means the Chargers must figure out how to solve the Falcons (16-17-2 overall, 13-13-1 WCHA), who have outscored UAH 19-4 in three games this season, or they are staying home for the playoffs for the second straight year.

BOX SCORE

The game was marred by 85 total penalty minutes on both sides. But Bowling Green was able to slam the Chargers with four power play goals on 11 opportunities. UAH was 0-for-7 with the advantage.

UAH also couldn’t contain Kevin Dufour, who seems to always have the Chargers’ number. Dufour had a hat trick, and he got the Falcons started with two goals in the first period.

At 10:23, right off the faceoff, Dufour broke away and beat UAH goaltender Carmine Guerriero as the Falcons drew first blood.

About five minutes later, Dufour took the puck from the far wall, around in front of the Charger net, and scored on a backhander for a 2-0 BGSU lead.

Bowling Green extended its lead to 3-0 on the power play early in the second period after a high sticking penalty on Cody Champagne. Mitch McLain deflected a Mark Friedman shot past Guerriero at the 4:06 mark.

UAH’s best opportunity to get back into the game was after back-to-back penalties by the Falcons. Lukas Craggs made contact to the head on Hans Gorowksy, earning him a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

After 2:24 of the ensuing major power play, Mark Friedman cross-checked Josh Kestner, giving the Chargers a full two minutes of 5-on-3.

However, the Falcons would survive, as UAH had trouble getting set and Chris Nell making important saves to the delight of a relatively small but vocal crowd at the Slater Family Ice Arena.

The third period started with more penalties on UAH that made it difficult to get any rally going. Further, Adam Smith scored on the power play at the 5:14 to make it 4-0.

Then Dufour completed the hat trick with 13:06 remaining for a 5-0 Falcon lead. That too was on the power play.

The rest of the game was featured more penalties on both sides as several scuffles broke out. Both BGSU’s Tyler Spezia and UAH’s Brennan Saulnier each had 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Reminiscent of the Nov. 19 game in Huntsville, the Falcons added two late garbage goals by Frederic LeTourneau and Alec Rauhauser for the final 7-0 score.

Guerriero made 35 saves, but he was tagged with all seven goals. Nell stopped all 33 shots he faced for the shutout.

The Falcons were tied for fourth place with Ferris State in the WCHA standings coming in, looking for home ice in the first round of the conference playoffs.

The regular season finale is Saturday at 6:07 p.m. Central Time.

Notes: Brent Fletcher played his 138th game at UAH, setting a new program record. … UAH defenseman Kurt Gosselin was back in the lineup after missing three games for concussion-like symptoms.

Feb 232017
 
CATCHING THE GAMES
Friday, Feb. 24, 6:07 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25, 6:07 p.m.
Season stats: UAH | Bowling Green

In the hunt for a berth in the WCHA playoffs, the Chargers head to Ohio to finish the regular season at Bowling Green.

UAH is in ninth place in the WCHA standings, one point behind Northern Michigan for the final conference playoff spot. They’ll need points against the Falcons and some help.

All-time series: Bowling Green leads the series 19-4-1, including a 9-1-1 mark at home.

Back in November, the Falcons swept the Chargers in Huntsville by scores of 4-1 and 8-3, but the games were closer than the scores indicate. The first game was a one-goal affair until BG scored with less than two minutes to go and then added an empty-netter. UAH had the lead going into the third in the second game and was down only one halfway through the third before the Falcons again added another late goal and empty-netter (plus two garbage goals afterward).

Cam Knight has 16 assists this season. (Photo by UAH Athletics/Doug Eagan)

Charger recap: UAH (9-20-3 overall, 9-14-3 WCHA) was idle last week. Two weeks ago, the Chargers split with Bemidji State to finish out their home schedule, losing 3-2 and winning 5-2. Tyler Poulsen scored twice in the win.

The Chargers have started to play better, going 2-2-1 after a seven-game losing streak that has them fighting to stay in the playoff chase.

Kurt Gosselin, who is tied for the team lead with nine goals, did not suit up against Bemidji. He has missed the last three games due to concussion like symptoms.

Cam Knight has 16 assists on the season, the most by a Charger since Brandon Roshko had 17 in the 2007-08 season. Knight has helpers in his last three games and five of his last seven.

Senior captain Brent Fletcher is set to break the school record for most games played this weekend. He is tied with Joel Bresciani, who played 137 games as a Charger from 1999-2003.

Junior goaltender Jordan Uhelski has a 2.82 goals against average and .904 save percentage. In the finale against Bemidji State, senior Carmine Guerriero replaced Uhelski in the second period and stopped all 23 shots he faced.

UAH Tale of the tape
(WCHA games only)
Bowling Green
9-20-3 Overall record 15-17-2
9-14-3-0
(30 pts, 9th)
WCHA record 12-13-1-1
(38 pts, T4th)
2.62 (T6th) Goals/game 2.69 (5th)
3.31 (10th) Goals allowed/game 2.50 (T3rd)
14.8 (6th) Pen. minutes/game 14.9 (5th)
14.6% (5th) Power play 12.9% (8th)
77.6% (10th) Penalty kill 85.6% (4st)

About the Falcons: Bowling Green (15-17-2 overall, 12-13-1 WCHA) played a non-conference game at home, beating Mercyhurst 3-0.

The Falcons haven’t played a conference game in three weeks, when they were swept and double shut out by Atte Tolvanen and Northern Michigan (3-0 and 2-0). BG has been shut out in three straight conference games.

Bowling Green is tied with Ferris State for fourth place in the WCHA standings. The Falcons have already clinched a playoff berth, looking to secure home ice in the first round.

Mitchell McClain, Bowling Green’s top scorer, has 16 goals (2nd in the WCHA) and 28 points (6th), but has been kept off the scoresheet in his last six games. He had a hat trick against UAH on Nov. 19.

Tyler Spezia, who scored a goal in each win against the Chargers in November, is second on the Falcons with 22 points. Chris Dufour also had two goals against UAH earlier and has 10 goals on the season.

Junior goaltender Chris Nell has a 2.35 goals against average and .902 save percentage in 26 starts this season.

Around the WCHA: All times Central. Games featuring WCHA teams at home can be seen on WCHA.tv.

Friday, February 24
* UAH at Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
* Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:37 p.m.
* Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
* Alaska at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Saturday, February 25
* UAH at Bowling Green, 6:07 p.m.
* Northern Michigan at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.
* Ferris State at Lake Superior State, 6:07 p.m.
* Minnesota State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.
* Alaska at Alaska Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.

Feb 192017
 
WCHA standings
Top 8 make playoffs
Pts. Record Next
x-Bemidji State 61 19-5-2-2 vs. MSU
y-Michigan Tech 51 14-6-6-3 at/vs. NMU
y-Minnesota State 48 14-8-4-2 at BSU
z-Bowling Green 38 12-13-1-1 vs. UAH
z-Ferris State 38 11-12-3-2 at LSSU
Alaska 34 9-13-4-3 at UAA
Lake Superior 33 8-12-6-3 vs. FSU
N. Michigan 31 9-14-3-1 vs./at MTU
UAH 30 9-14-3-0 at BGSU
AK-Anchorage 26 6-14-6-2 vs. UAF
x-Clinched regular season championship
y-Clinched home ice in first round
z-Clinched playoff berth

The Chargers are very much alive for a WCHA playoff spot after the results of league games during UAH’s bye week.

UAH, currently in ninth place with 30 points, is on the outside looking in heading into the regular-season final series at Bowling Green. The Chargers will need points against the Falcons and some outside help to reach the postseason.

UAH got some help this weekend with Northern Michigan getting swept by Minnesota State in Mankato, keeping the Wildcats only one point ahead of UAH with that eighth and final playoff spot.

If the Chargers can get one more point at Bowling Green than NMU can get at home against Michigan Tech, UAH should take eighth. UAH has the “D” tiebreaker (head-to-head with fewer than four games played) over Northern Michigan thanks to its sweep in Marquette in December.

UAH could reach as high as sixth place, but they’ll need to sweep Bowling Green and get a lot of help.

Here are the matchups for the final week of the WCHA regular season:

UAH at Bowling Green: The Falcons swept the Chargers in Huntsville by scores of 4-1 and 8-3, but the games were closer than the scores indicate. The first game was a one-goal affair until BG scored with less than two minutes to go and then added an empty-netter. UAH had the lead going into the third in the second game and was down only one halfway through the third before the Falcons again added another late goal and empty-netter (plus two garbage goals afterward). Last season, UAH stunned Bowling Green with a 7-5 win in the final weekend.

The Falcons will have something to play for themselves, however. They are tied with Ferris State for fourth place, which gets you home-ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.

Michigan Tech at/vs. Northern Michigan: This is the most important series to keep an eye on if you’re a Charger fan. The Huskies and Wildcats will play at NMU on Friday and at MTU on Saturday. Back in October, Michigan Tech swept a home-and-home series over Northern Michigan 2-0 and 5-1.

Michigan Tech has secured home-ice in the first round, but could be home for the semifinals as well should it hold off Minnesota State for the second seed.

Ferris State at Lake Superior State: Lake Superior State is in seventh, three points ahead of UAH. The Lakers own the “A” tiebreaker (head-to-head) by winning all four meetings with the Chargers this season. UAH will need at least a win and a tie against Bowling Green and Lake Superior to be swept for the Chargers to pass them.

Ferris State swept LSSU in the series at Ferris in November. The Bulldogs are tied with Bowling Green for fourth place and home ice in the first round.

Alaska at Alaska Anchorage: Alaska is in sixth, four points ahead of UAH. The Nanooks also have the “A” tiebreaker over UAH with a 2-1-1 head-to-head record.  UAH will likely need to sweep Bowling Green and Anchorage to sweep Alaska for the Chargers to catch the Nanooks.

The teams split the first half of their Governor’s Cup series in Anchorage in December. Anchorage has to sweep Alaska and needs UAH and NMU to be swept to make the playoffs.

Minnesota State at Bemidji State: This series has no bearing on UAH’s chances. The Beavers will be celebrating their MacNaughton Cup win while the Mavericks try to snatch the second seed from Michigan Tech.

Feb 172017
 
WCHA standings
Top 8 make playoffs
Pts. Gms Next
5. Ferris State 32 4 vs. UAA
6. N. Michigan 31 4 @ MSU
6. Lake Superior 31 4 @ UAF
8. Alaska* 30 4 vs. LSSU
8. UAH 30 2 Idle
10. AK-Anchorage 27 4 @ FSU
* Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH (2-1-1 head-to-head)

The Chargers are off in this penultimate week of the regular season, which means we’ll be scoreboard watching.

UAH is currently tied for the eighth place in the WCHA standings. The Chargers are tied with Alaska for the final playoff spot, but Alaska has the tiebreaker thanks to the Nanooks’ 2-1-1 record against UAH this season.

This means the Chargers must get points next week in the final series at Bowling Green and get some help, including this week.

So, who do we root for this week that will help UAH’s chances?

Alaska Anchorage at Ferris State: The crazy thing about the standings right now is that only two points separate fifth (where Ferris State is) from ninth (where UAH technically is). And it’s only five points between Ferris State and last-place Alaska Anchoarge.

Obviously, we don’t want Alaska Anchorage, which is only three points behind UAH, to catch and pass the Chargers. UAH really only needs to pass one team, and Ferris State is the least likely the one to be passed, so it might be best to have Ferris State keep UAA down so UAH doesn’t have to worry about the Seawolves.

Root for: Ferris State to at least get four points.

Northern Michigan at Minnesota State: Northern Michigan is on an absolute tear, going 7-0-2 in its last nine (and as mentioned before, has shut out opponents in its last five). The Wildcats , tied for sixth and just a point ahead of UAH, go to Mankato to play a Minnesota State team that’s in third place and has already clinched a spot in the playoffs (and looking to be home for the first round).

Root for: This one’s easy — Minnesota State to sweep.

Lake Superior State at Alaska: This one’s trickier. Both clubs have “A” tiebreakers (four-game head-to-head advantage) over the Chargers. Lake Superior is only a point ahead, and Alaska is tied.

Remember that UAH only needs to beat out one of these teams to make the playoffs. We want is for whoever is closest to UAH to stay as close as possible, and right now that’s Alaska. So, we should want Lake Superior to win to keep UAH and Alaska tied.

However, should Alaska win on Friday, then Alaska jumps ahead of Lake Superior, and the Lakers become our new target. In that case, we’ll want Alaska to win Saturday.

What we don’t want is a split, which would put distance between UAH and both teams.

Root for: Lake Superior State first. If Alaska wins the first game, root for the Nanooks to sweep.

Feb 112017
 

What a nice end to what’s been a rough home schedule for the Chargers: A win over rival Bemidji State.

UAH scored four unanswered goals to beat BSU 5-2 at the Von Braun Center on Saturday, earning a series split in the Chargers final home game of the season.

BOX SCORE

It was only the second home win for the Chargers (9-20-3 overall, 9-14-3 WCHA), who desperately needed the victory to stay in the hunt for a WCHA playoff spot.

However, Lake Superior State took two points from Alaska Anchorage, and Northern Michigan got another shutout of Alaska, moving both teams ahead of UAH. The Chargers are now tied for eighth place with Alaska, but Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH for the last playoff spot having gone 2-1-1 in head-to-head meetings.

Bemidji State, which clinched the WCHA regular-season championship on Friday, fell to 19-12-3 overall and 19-5-2 in conference.

WCHA standings
Top 8 make playoffs
Pts. Gms Next wk
5. Ferris State 32 4 vs. UAA
6. N. Michigan 31 4 @ MSU
6. Lake Superior 31 4 @ UAF
8. Alaska* 30 4 vs. LSSU
8. UAH 30 2 Idle
10. AK-Anchorage 27 4 @ FSU
* Alaska has the tiebreaker over UAH (2-1-1 head-to-head)

Brennan Saulnier put UAH on the board first with an unassisted goal at 13:47. His sixth goal of the season matches his total from last year, and he has scored in three straight games and four of the last five.

The Beavers came right back with two quick power play goals. Kyle Bauman notched his team-leading 12th of the season with 4:31 to go in the first, followed by Gerry Fitzgerald’s 10th with 1:58 remaining.

The Chargers put in Carmine Guerriero in goal to start the second period, replacing starter Jordan Uhelski, and he had to warm up quickly as the Beavers had an 8-1 shots advantage in the frame.

That one shot, however, tied the game up at 2-2. On a 2-on-1 break, Saulnier on the left wing centered to a driving Tyler Poulsen, who beat Bitzer five-hole at the 3:11 mark.

Cam Knight also assisted on the play, giving him 16 on the season, the most by a Charger since Brandon Roshko had 17 in 2007-08.

Poulsen struck again at 10:43 to give UAH its first lead of the series, giving him three on the season.

The Chargers added two more in the third period for the win.

With 7:23 left, Matt Salhany drove to the net on the left side with a Beaver covering him. He poked the puck past Bitzer and crashed into the net. Video review confirmed that the puck crossed the goal line before the net came off, giving Salhany his seventh goal of the season and the Chargers a 4-2 lead.

It was only the third time in 33 starts this season that Bitzer had allowed four or more goals.

The Beavers had one more chance after Cody Marooney committed a slashing penalty with 3:10 to go.

Almost immediately on the ensuing power play, Guerriero made a huge glove save on a rocket by Gerry Fitzgerald.

The Beavers pulled Bitzer for the extra attacker, but Salhany was able to get a steal and send the puck to Hans Gorowsky, who scored on the empty net with 1:24 remaining to seal the win for the Chargers. It was Gorowsky’s seventh goal of the season.

Guerriero finished with 23 saves without allowing a goal in two periods of action. Bemidji State outshot UAH 30-25.

UAH is idle next week, which means the Chargers won’t have an opportunity to get more league points until Feb. 24-25, when they finish the regular season at Bowling Green.

Three stars of the game:

1. Tyler Poulsen, UAH (2 goals)
2. Brennan Saulnier, UAH (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Carmine Guerriero, UAH (23 saves, 0 goals allowed)