Better effort but same result: LSSU 4 UAH 1

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.

Game management

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.

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NMU 8 UAH 2: Beyond the box score

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

The Chargers of Alabama Huntsville put more shots on net tonight than they did last night. Many more of their opponent’s shots, Northern Michigan University, found the back of the net to make the 8-2 final, forcing UAH to settle for a split. Bauer Neudecker and Quinn Green’s tallies came in the second and third periods, respectively. Both came after the Chargers were six goals down, each time. The potent offense of Northern Michigan came alive, and credit the Wildcats for putting a complete game out there after the Chargers did more to earn their luck yesterday. For the Chargers, they have no time to rest, which given the composition of this roster with 14 freshmen and a staff dedicated to continuous training and evaluation, that is probably best. Below are three things from tonight that stood out to us, including some positives for the team going forward, looking beyond the box score today.

The shots on goal, or even shot attempts are not useful when describing the success of this team in this series

Look at these two game numbers for the Chargers, last night, they finished with only 34 attempts (NMU had 76), with three of them being goals. Tonight, they finished with 40 attempted shots (NMU only had 64). In a traditional sense, most metrics suggest that the Chargers should have lost last night and tonight. They lost tonight for a lot of the same reasons they lost to Minnesota State, playing a speedy team on the road for the second of four games this weekend. That is, they got beat in transition on many of the goals conceded before their offense could get going. Last night, they did a better job at clogging grade-a looks in transition and forcing a block or shot wide before a second or third look by the Wildcats. While shots on net and attempts matter, they do not tell the story of this series as much as transition goals and speed by both teams do.

The effort of this team was there all night, even as the game got out of hand

First, the goal from Bauer Neudecker to open the scoring ledger for the Chargers was indicative of this first line. Tyrone Bronte found him and Neudecker’s clean release found its way into the back of the net. Quinn Green would use his speed in the third period to create enough space to pot a goal of his own. Everyone on the first line had a point tonight, and played with the speed and grit UAH fans are getting used to seeing from them this year. Neudecker played like the captain tonight, given that he tried to get the team back into things with his goal, and his efforts pushed the Chargers forward. It did not make a major difference in the final score, but Head Coach Lance West and his staff did have a big bright spot in the first line, and seem to have found a consistent one, given the effort and chemistry of everyone on the line.

On defense, we were impressed with the consistency of Lucas Bahn, and his effort as well. One sequence in the third period stood out to us as an illistrstive example. With about 10 minutes left in the game, he pursued a NMU forward through the neutral zone and denied him a grade-a look. This is well after the Wildcats took the lead, and during a time in the game where we have seen players in this situation on other teams not exude the same effort Lucas did. He does not have a goal, yet, for this group, but has one of its biggest reservoirs of effort and consistency in the face of playin in many adverse results. Bahn also leads a power play unit for this team, and does anything else West and the staff ask him. In terms of modeling the new direction of Charger Hockey, he is definitely the type of player this staff wants to bring more of to campus in future years.

What comes next

Well, the Chargers now get a brisk 24 or so hours off to travel over to Sault Ste. Marie to face the Lakers of Lake Superior State this weekend. They have earned a tie with them in a December non-conference series, and will be up against one of the best and most underrated goalies in the country in Mareks Mitens. Karlis Zirnis was a part of the Latvian coaching staff in the 2017 World Juniors Tournament that Mitens played in. Karlis knows how hard working Mitens is, and respects how tough it is for his team to score on him. In addition, the Lakers are lead up front by Aston Calder, who is continuing to show the league, and the country how good of an offensive threat he is, with 18 points (9 goals, 9 assists) in 17 games played so far. For the Chargers to have success, his line must be kept in check, and UAH will have to earn a rebound goal to score on Mitens. He does not give up many clean looks at this level, and is, in our opinion, ready to compete for an NHL roster spot in the fall.

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

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Play the right way-behind UAH 3-1 win, and more

Photo Credit-Kelsey Lee Violet Turtle Photography

This afternoon, the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville went on the road to play the Wildcats of Northern Michigan. Coming into this one, UAH was facing a team that scored at least three goals in its past six games. Today, they faced a team that peppered David Fessenden with 36 shots. He stopped 35 of them, and often times made plays look easy due to using his big size, and his positioning, which was perfect for most of the game. Derek Krall made the last save, but Fessenden looks to be ok, and could be in the net starting tomorrow night. Head Coach Lance West wanted his team to play the right way and focus on the game, and they did both of those things pretty well.

Let’s go to the Chargers, and what they did well. First off, Tyrone Bronte’s line is a problem to defend. Fessenden said that Bauer Neudecker has the most deceptive shot on the team and he used it today to put home what would be an important insurance goal. He took a perfect pass from Connor Wood, and went far side and in to make it 3-0. As for Bronte, well, he opened up the scoring going down three-fourths of the ice and roofing a backhand before anyone could catch hm. Tyrone Bronte’s acceleration today was something to watch and behold, and it makes us question even more how he did not have any Division One offer until June. Oh, and his line also has an incredibly fast Quinn Green on it who has grown into a prominent top-end winger for this team as well.

The game today came down to who played the right way most often. While Northern Michigan won the shots on net by a large margin, they also allowed a higher percentage of attempts conceded on net unblocked. That is the Chargers put 16 shots on net, and put 10 wide, only having six attempts blocked. The Wildcats put 76 attempts towards the net, having 27 blocked with 10 wide, and two posts.

When it came to overall ability to compete for lose pucks tonight, the Chargers did a better job in the corners, winning puck battles and moving things towards offense in a much more efficient manner. Their transition game produced results on two of their goals, and the third from Josh Martin was a result of a battle in front of the net, and the shot finding a lane (it may have been deflected by Adrian Danchenko, but given that Martin went over 300 days without playing hockey, for now, it is Martin’s goal).

For the finale tomorrow night, the biggest thing UAH may want to adress is working to win a few more faceoffs, especially against the Joseph Nardi line. That group for the Wildcats can score quickly, and in bunches. Winning some more faceoffs can mute that to some degree. Tonight, the Chargers lost that battle 47-23. That has to improve tomorrow night. Look for there to be a few more tie-ups off the draw where the wings can step in and help win possession. Northern Michigan is plenty good enough without letting them win more faceoffs.

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

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Three goals and Six Points: A Recap of UND Soccer’s 2-0 Start in the Big Sky

Rain, cold weather, and constant pressure defending leads all weekend. Despite all of these things, the Fighting Hawks took all six points at home this weekend over Idaho State, and Weber State and eclipsed their conference win total of 2016.

Both games had some things in common. The Fighting Hawks generated multiple chances throughout the weekend. In addition, the forward play was markedly more consistent as more UND chances ended up on goal than a few weeks ago.

Friday’s game against Idaho State was punctuated by two Katie Moller goals. The first one came on a penalty kick after she got a quick ball through and earned a foul in the box. The second one came on a bouncing ball that went into the net after going through a lot of the six yard box. The Fighting Hawks then had to finish a second half against an Idaho State team that did not quit.

Head Coach Chris Logan noted the need for UND to play a complete game. He also credited Idaho State for changing the pace of play for the last 60 minutes of the game.

On Sunday, UND took their coach’s advice and generated more chances throughout the game against a Weber State team whose record was not at all indicative of their skill level. UND controlled the pace for multiple increments throughout the game. Katie Moller came close a few times to adding to her goal total on the weekend.

Moller would run her point total on the weekend to three midway through the second half. She expertly placed a ball for Mimi Eiden who headed the ball to the back of the net with rocket-like quickness.

From that point, Weber State came close on multiple attempts, but like on Friday, goalie Catherine Klein was equal to the task. The sophomore goalie has three clean sheets on the season.

Fighting Hawks fans are lucky to have Mimi Eiden play for them. She has personified the attack-oriented mentality Head Coach Chris Logan and his staff have worked so hard to instill in this program. Both Logan, and Associate Coach Chris Citowicki noted how strong Mimi played in practice. That manifested itself twice over this weekend. On Friday, she drew a couple of fouls against the Bengals late in the game to eat into the clock and preserve a shutout.

Today, Eiden got extra time playing with Katie Moller and used every bit of her talent and skill to give UND its best start in the Big Sky, and its first 2-0 start in conference play since 2003 in the NCC.

UND will have a tough test next weekend as they head out on the road to face Sacramento State and Northern Arizona.