Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
While the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville did a lot of things right than last night. The end result had the same net effect. The Chargers lost 4-1 to Lake Superior State. After a Quinn Green deflection off a Dayne Finnson shot on the power play, the Lakers scored the last four goals of the game, and withstood a more concerted offensive effort from the Chargers to hang on to the victory. Ethan Langenegger made 20 saves in the win for Lake Superior State.
Now, lets look at what this means for the Chargers in three areas of focus on the game.
More consistent effort
On the evening, the effort of Alabama Huntsville was not the reason they lost. Their effort gave them several good chances on the evening, and forced the Lakers to defend waves of Chargers from time to time. This team put 20 shots on net, and seemed to listen to the coaching staff after their loss last night. This team made adjustments, and forced the Lakers to defend a lot more in this one, despite the final result. In addition, the Chargers did a lot better in drawing power plays tonight. One of the first ones they earned was because Brian Scoville kept his feet moving through the neutral zone and earned a power play, because a Laker had to interfere with him.
The Chargers have improved dramatically from last season, and each day get a little bit better. One of the last real bedrock things this team is still working to improve is its game managemnt abilities. They got out of the first period tied as Mitchell Oliver wired a seeing eye shot past a screened David Fessenden from the right point. The second period required some more of the ability to blunt the other team’s advance. Going down one is bad enough, but going down two goals in two minutes and 59 seconds is not at all within the concept of game management. From that point on, the Chargers had to be even more aggressive to catch the Lakers, and said aggressiveness cost them in the third. A Brandon Puricelli goal in the third to provide the final margin came when UAH was a result of the Chargers’ push forward. This team has now given up the lead and game after scoring first at least once in three of its past four series. As Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis said of the experience that the game brought ” these are the ups and downs that our players have, and we have to keep learning from the experience.”
Where do we go from here
This team’s improvement from last season is one of the most underrated aspects of the College Hockey landscape this season. The record is not indicative of the effort this team has shown, and their compete level. In several key metrics like penalty killing, power plays, and more, the Chargers are a better team this season. With that said, this is still a work in progress for a group that has shown its effort each and every game. The Chargers now have to get ready for two games this week against Bowling Green. The Falcons are one of the fastest teams in the country, capable of scoring goals in bunches. They have two capable goaltenders in Eric Dop and Zach Rose that can each carry them. Oh, and this is a team firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Should the Chargers take points from the Falcons, their ticket to the NCAA Tournament looks a little less impressive, and the Chargers can ensure playing one of them, Michigan Tech, or Lake Superior State in the first round. While those are all tough teams to play, none are as good as Minnesota State. This team still has a lot of potential to grow this year, and four more games to upset the NCAA Tournament picture. Let’s see what happens this week.
Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts
Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.