Alabama Huntsville is a good fit for Atlantic Hockey this season: Here’s Why

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Well, Atlantic Hockey has found itself down to ten member schools for the upcoming season. While we of course want Robert Morris reinstated, the league finds itself at a crossroads. What is a league always looking to get more into the national conversation to do when one of its legacy members, due to a callous, myopic, short sighted, and ill-explained decision faces an uncertain future ? (in a perfect scenario, we want Huntsville admitted this month, along with Long Island, Robert Morris brought back, and a divisional play system established, identical in terms of idea to the pod setup a year ago, but with some cross pod play allowed, team alignments to be determined).

Well, the reality of the upcoming college hockey season could actually set what the members could do for them.

For the conference, if it wants to get bigger, which it has the opportunity to do, as it will be entertaining pitches from Alabama Huntsville. Long Island, and one other school in meetings this June, the Chargers’ pitch for this season has to have a renewed interest. In addition, given all of the reschedules due to the pandemic-marred season we just completed, most non conference schedules are set. For most teams to add another non conference weekend, they would need to travel, and risk not going on a revenue guarantee. If teams added another conference weekend, then some will still add travel costs, with no money coming back to them in return.

Despite suspending their season and, as of now, not participating in the 2021-2022 campaign, sources around the program do not see the suspension as a bar to participate. Should Atlantic Hockey change their course for this season (based on sources around the conference, it seemed clear that expansion, prior to the Robert Morris news for the 2021-2022 campaign seemed unrealistic). Given the history of Huntsville Hockey, finding a conference is the only way to go, and given the changing landscape of Atlantic Hockey, the Chargers’ pitch for this season allows the league’s members to travel to some of their games and get paid for them, adds a market with a strong fan base (despite winning only two games at home, the Chargers had the third highest average attendance in this weird just finished season, and in the 19-20 campaign, before many of their roster came to town, the team outdrew eight Atlantic Hockey teams from that year).

Given the large number of players in the transfer portal, the lack of players lost in it by the Chargers (David Fessenden and Tyrone Bronte), and the amount of junior hockey age-outs looking for a Division One home, the time for the Chargers very well could be this summer, if Atlantic Hockey wants to even maintain the number of teams that it competed with in the 20-21 campaign. The mere fact that this program got two transfers to come to it during the month before its suspension should show how Huntsville Hockey is viewed by other teams. Players do not get advice to come anywhere from other colleges if the coaches do not have a trust of what the other staff is doing. We remember how happy Dominick Procopio and Matthew Jennings were to be coming to Huntsville, for both, this team and this city represent a fresh start, and for Jennings, it allows his parents to see him play, every night.

From a conference view, the Chargers have the academic bona fides to join the conference, the financial backing of a network of donors led by Sheldon Wolitski and Taso Sofikitis, and a long term plan to build an on campus arena. Oh, and they also have a network that includes relationships with the Nashville Predators, a growing NHL profile through the exploits of their most famous alum, Cam Talbot, and the Nashville Market within their grasp. Oh, and the Chargers pitch remains on the table. Ten schools all have a chance to make money (25000 dollars per series) every time they play a series in Huntsville. Sean Henry, President of the Predators, has noted early discussions about marquee games at Bridgestone Arena with the Chargers. Perhaps starting a southern hockey challenge tournament with the Chargers, another Atlantic Hockey team, and two programs from other leagues each year, combined with a massive club tournament, could serve as a kickoff to the season for everyone, promote the game, and more.

In the long run for Atlantic Hockey, the Chargers have a solid reason to be in the program. Academically, they belong, as Huntsville’s engineering programs, and relationship with NASA make it a unique member of any conference it would be in. The town is called Rocket City for a reason. On the ice, the Chargers play a gritty game that relies on team tenacity to do well, which helps individuals thrive in the group, a style that teams at the top end of the conference play, as good as anyone in the country.

Fiscally, this makes sense for the league, to grow the brand of the conference, this makes sense, academically, the Chargers make sense, and logistically, right now, Huntsville makes sense.

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

Dominick Procopio: One must imagine him happy

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Dominick Procopio has one of the most refined views on life and hockey that we have seen. The defenseman who just transferred to Alabama Huntsville is coming to study English, and pursue a Masters Degree at Huntsville in Literature. The reasoning behind that goes to his love for existentialist philosopher Albert Camus. Camus said in the myth of the Greek Legend Sisyphus, forever cursed to push a boulder up a hill for it to roll back down and start over the the next day ” one must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Kamus comes to this conclusion, arguably because to perform a task, repetitively, he concludes that Sisyphus must enjoy what he is doing. That quote is Dominick’s favorite, and one we kept jumping back to discussing as we talked about his choice to come to Huntsville. He does so with nothing but thanks and gratitude to everyone in Lowell, and the staff there was helpful in coordinating whatever he needed in his journey to Huntsville.

He comes to Alabama Huntsville from Umass-Lowell. His relationship with the Huntsville staff centers around his time being coached by current Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis. He coached him when Procopio pushed his Shreveport team to a Robertson Cup. That moment so far has been the highlight of his hockey career. Since coming to Lowell, in his three seasons there, the stay at home defender has played more than 10 games in a season once. His box score numbers do not account for the kind of player he is. As he said,” I’m not flashy but I am effective.” He is bringing a game that should fit well with the current group of defenders. Karlis taught him to focus on being himself, noting that there are a lot of ways to be effective on the back end. As Dominick said that he has learned from Karlis ” you don’t have to be Erik Karlsson to be effective.”

Dominick wants to model his game after Mark Giordano. That is, he wants to be the responsible player who knows how to add offense in bursts when able. As he put it of what fans of the Chargers should expect from him both on and off the ice,” I am going to be unapologetically myself.” On and off the ice, Dominick wants to be involved with teaching. He values all of his professors, and teachers, past, present and future. Getting a Master’s Degree in Literature from Alabama Huntsville would allow him to have options. When we asked about what he wanted to do when he was done playing hockey, he mentioned every option from coaching to being a tenure-track professor. In his time in hockey he has helped shape people’s minds and served as a servant-leader for the teams he has been a part of, Procopio looks to bring same mindset towards leading a college classroom one day.

He picked Huntsville because it looked like the program that provides the best fit for him to play. He did tell Karlis when he comitted, ” you have to let me fail.” By that he means letting him get consistent looks and chances to develop chemistry with a defense partner and play. Procopio is thankful for his time at Lowell, and actually received sound reviews of Lance West’s coaching style, and West himself from former Charger Josh Latta when making the tough decision to transfer. For the positives he is bringing to Huntsville from Lowell, he noted the superb culture of the team that he was a part of, that same culture allowed the River Hawks to go on a postseason run and finish one game short of the NCAA Tournament. As he said of Lowell’s culture, “if your car breaks down you can call anybody… and you can play two games and be respected like you have 40 goals.”

As he continues to push the boulder up the mountain, and works to improve his game and his grasp of existentialism on a daily basis. One thing is clear, in making the choice to come to Huntsville, Dominick has found a place where he can continue his academic career, while getting more chances to help his team push the boulder up the hill each day and improve, not just in practice, but in games. A lot of the growth in Alabama Huntsville this past season came from a new start during each week, from having the ability to delete the past and work harder to strive to a better future. Dominick plays his game around that same ideal, and will be a leader for Zirnis once again, and a leader for Alabama Huntsville, on the ice, in the practice room, in the classroom, in the community, and in so many other places. He is himself, and one does not have to look very far to imagine Dominick to be happy with his choice to transfer to Huntsville.

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

Cam Talbot on UAH Hockey: Past, present and future

Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-Minnesota Wild

Cam Talbot became a goaltender for a very practical reason. He started playing the position, and the game of hockey at the age of seven, and gravitated to the net in part because of the fast skaters around him. Talbot had a three year gap to make up for compared to some of his Caledonia, Ontario friends growing up with skating, and mentioned that it was tough for him to keep up with the skaters around them. What has not changed since he found the game a bit later than some of his friends is his passion for the game. He played his junior hockey for the same organization that has produced Zach Hyman, Marty McSorley, and many more great players. The Hamilton Red Wings, which later became the Markham Royals have a proud junior hockey history in Canada, of which Talbot is a big part.

Cam Talbot is probably one of the most famous alumni of Alabama Huntsville Chargers program. He has played at multiple levels of professional hockey, starting his NHL career as a backup to Henrik Lundquist with the New York Ranger, before making trips to the Edmonton Oilers, then the Calgary Flames, and now the Minnesota Wild. The story of Talbot’s ascent to the NHL is one of hard work and determination, and a textbook example Head Coach Lance West and his staff have to hold up to his current players as an alumnae who put in the hard work when given a chance, and earned every minute of ice he took.

Talbot’s story of getting to Alabama Huntsville came a bit by luck, as he said ” It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. They had goalie decommit in June of 2006 and they had a full scholarship available, I had to redo some credits had to wait another year. I didn’t know UAH had a hockey team when I started looking. Everyone that has gone there has a special place in their heart for UAH.” That spur of the moment choice, combined with the work of Talbot has set him on a journey to being one of the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL in the past few seasons.

Of his time at Alabama Huntsville, Talbot has a lot of good memories in the three seasons he spent there. Top among all of them is winning the CHA Conference Tournament over Niagara, 3-2 in overtime to send his team to their first NCAA tournament appearance.

Talbot is on the Advisory Board, and after the season just completed was assured to be played, he focused on preparing for his season, where he is leading a resurgent Minnesota Wild group back to the Stanley Cup playoffs with his consistent play in net. He hopes to be active in helping the board provide recommendations to chart the future trail of UAH Hockey upon his season with the Wild ending this spring. As for what Talbot wants to see get added on to the program in future years, he states his thoughts in a practical manner, saying he wants to be a part of the group that helps get a ” state of the art dressing and weight room. WOW them with a dressing room and weight room on fly ins and visits. Have all the tools needed. This is what I would want as a player.”

Talbot also took the time to discuss the improvement in Lance West’s group, showing its readily apparent progress. He said, “you can tell that the team turned a corner, games where closer, won some big games. I am impressed with West, that team he assembled was very competitive, the schools commitment to them was outstanding to see. ”

As for having the Chargers in the game of Division one College Hockey, Talbot provided a litany of reasons, saying ” I think it just helps to grow the game in the south. You have people on the board, you have tons of youth hockey because of Huntsville and to grow the game of hockey. It allows for 25-27 kids to have the chance to play. If nothing else they get to work towards a degree while playing the game they love.”

He went on to discuss more about the great city of Huntsville in relation to hockey. ” I wish people knew how passionate the fans are, the alumni, and community all are for UAH Hockey. You wouldn’t think that it would be there. Having an on campus arena, to pack it full of students and have a lot more bigger schools travel here to allow people to see how passionate people here are are would also mean the world to the program going forward.”

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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Matthew Jennings: Read what he brings to the Herd at UAH

Graphic Credit: Total Package Hockey

Photo Credit: Ohio State University Athletics

Matthew Jennings is a Buford Georgia native who spent the first three years of his college hockey career at Ohio State. Through overcoming injuries, the Georgian has gotten a chance to play the game he loves as part of a hockey family. His Dad Steve taught him about hockey, and he has always been encouraged by him. Steve taught him the value of hard work on and off the ice, and has been one of his coaches through the Total Package Hockey program. Jennings praised the honesty of his dad, and his ability to keep things on the level with him. That same honesty and ability to build relationships is something Jennings has taken into his hockey career.

Jennings is a consistent two way center who has a battle level that made his game ideal for what the Chargers Coaching staff is looking for. While he has battled injuries in his time at Ohio State, his resume with the Buckeyes and the Green Bay Gamblers speak to the type of player he is. He is a hard nosed, two way forward that prides himself on outworking the opponent at all times. In a way, parts of his game are similar to one of his friends, and the other Buford native to play hockey for the Chargers, Connor Wood who is good friends with Jennings. Of the school and the hockey program, according to Jennings, Wood told him ” nothing but positives.”

On what the coaching staff told him, he said that the staff said that there was ” nothing guaranteed”, and that he will have to earn every second of ice time. That does not at all phase Jennings, and he praised the staff at large personally, saying ” I like them both as people.” For the type of culture all three coaches have talked about building, adding a player with the mentality of Jennings, and one with solid two way potential, is an ideal add for a team looking for more depth at its center position.

With Jennings’ family now living two hours away from Huntsville, they will get to see him play in a lot of games. While his entire family is happy that Jennings is a lot closer to home, Jennings singled out the excitement of one of his family members. As he said ” my mom is pumped.”

When his hockey career comes to an end, Jennings wants to be a financial planner. He belives it combines the best of what he likes most, relationship building and numbers. As he said, “I Really like Math…. also you get to have personal connections with people.. its not all crunching numbers.”

As for his time asa Buckeye, Jennings is nothing but thankful for the relationships he has built with his former teammates. Multiple times when talking about the game and what he cherishes most about it, the ability to form lasting bonds with his team, no matter at what level of the game he has played it at, means the most to him. As a Charger, he now has the ability to forge new relationships, and provide another example to a young group working to improve on its past season, and learn from how they arrived at its conclusion.

Growing up, playing for the TPH program Jennings would get to come to the Von Braun Center at least once a season. He saw what Charger Hockey meant, and was part of the superb atmosphere that its fans bring to games every night. Now, he will be one of the players that those same youth hockey players in attendance get to look up to, playing closer to his family. While nothing is guaranteed for where the forward will play this season or how much, his path to rehab after his injury at Ohio State, combined with his tenacious effort on and off the ice to improve, it is clear that Jennings is ready to help lead the Herd to greater heights this season. On getting to come back and play as a Charger, after growing up getting his love for the game of college hockey at UAH games, Jennings aptly said ” Its kind of funny how the universe works.”

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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UAH Hockey 20-21: A foundational season

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

13 freshmen, and no certainty in net. That is what the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville faced when they went into their opener against Robert Morris. They of course had to deal with this because of their program being cut and then reinstated soon after over the summer. A new staff with Lance West at the helm, working with Carmine Guerriero and Karlis Zirnis had their work cut out for them just to get a team to that point of the opener, let alone through a tough WCHA schedule.

This staff did just that. The work started out in the summer, where Zirnis and West spent a lot of time watching video and finding 12 freshmen to come to campus and compete as a part of a program looking to start over. One of those players they found is their first line center, Tyrone Bronte. He had no division one offers in June, and had to earn a spot on the top line for the Chargers with his speed and hockey sense. His story of being discovered late and getting a lot of time is not uncommon for anyone in this group this year.

Bronte’s main linemate, Bauer Neudecker improved his game dramatically from the previous season. His shot, combined with his sense and leadership on the team are some reasons why he is the captain of the Chargers. What stands out about Bauer’s leadership is how he has bought into the process, a common trait on this group, and worked to help others get better. He talked to us about trying to take the extra year of eligibility to be a fifth year captain after next season. Like so many in this group, Bauer wants to be a Charger, and wants this group to keep developing. With Neudecker, Bronte jumped onto the scene and proved that he belongs. On the back end, Lucas Bahn’s leadership stood out for similar reasons. He chose to come to Huntsville and stay through the reinstatement of the program.

On the ice, his game has improved as he finished the year with six points (two goals, four assists). More importantly, he has played more minutes this year than any other Charger defender. His quiet leadership and ability to work with the new staff has lead to a lot of his success, and his effort, again this effort is common among this group, will help him and the program. We will spend a lot of time this offseason talking to more in this group about this year, but Bronte, Neudecker, and Bahn up front are three players that stand out to us among this group.

In net, the Chargers did not really know what they had with David Fessenden. Now they do. Fessenden is a top flight goaltender in college hockey who had many a high-save night for the Chargers. While the record does not show it, his statistics do. Night after night, the Chargers faced in excess of 35 shots per game, and Fessenden still saved 91 percent of them. While this team has things to work on going forward, finding a starting goaltender is not one of them. Ensuring he does not need to make 70 or more saves over a series is. We hope to publish more about his development from year one to this year, and on what he is working on for year three.

Before their season finale against Lake Superior State, Guerriero said of how they want the team to play ” I just want to see a passionate group tomorrow. I want to see a team who stays true to and plays HERD hockey. Our identity has made us successful this year. When we get away from that, we hurt ourselves. At the end of the day, I want to see guys playing hard and with pride.” This team did that all year, they worked together to play HERD hockey. Their collective physicality and effort throughout the year which produced some good results, and showed the staff how they can take this group to the next level.

He also said ,”Play with passion, play with pride, and play for each other. At the end of the day, we have to be selfless and willing to do anything it takes to win.” Those two sentences describe all of this program’s efforts this season. They worked to get better each day, and build the foundation for this program. Regardless of the future, which we have written about and covered, and will continue to look for more on, what this team did to be competitive in their games, sweep Ferris State at home, and show the world that a team that finished the year with 14 freshmen, many of whom had no division one offers, and some, like Bronte, who took on big roles, all leading the way with guidance of senior leaders Connor Wood, and Connor Merkley, both of whom set the example and showed the grit and physicality needed to compete at this level. While both may not be back next year, as this group moves forward, the example those two have set will resonate in Huntsville for years to come.

We will have more on this season, and stories about Chargers Hockey in the summer and beyond. This program needed a fresh start this season, and they got one. Beyond the box score, this team proved that it is on the course, as of now, of heading in the right direction.

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.

UAH Hockey: One game season time-some thoughts

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Think back in this game for a minute. On a five-on-three power play, against a very good Lake Superior State team, trailing 2-0, Lucas Bahn walked in and got around Yuki Miura and beat Mareks Mitens (LSSU netminder) clean. The game, for a brief moment was 2-1, but the Chargers looked ready to make a comeback. Then six seconds later, Pete Veillette got a turnover shorthanded and had all day to beat David Fessenden to regain the two goal lead for the Lakers who would go on to win 6-1 on the night. Now the Chargers will play in nothing but one game seasons the rest of the way. Should they win tomorrow, they get another one game season on Sunday, and so on. Here are some takeaways from tonight’s game.

Lucas Bahn is a leader on this team

It is hard to believe he is only a sophomore on this group. He plays like a senior pretty much every night. His power play goal was the highlight of the night for the Chargers, and the defender he deked, Yuki Miura, is one of the best penalty-killing forwards in the WCHA. His goal stands as the only marker that has beaten Mareks Mitens clean from the Chargers all season. As Head Coach Lance West said of his play ” Lucas has been great all year. He is our anchor back there and quietly goes about his job with a workman like attitude. I love the kid and how he approaches working.” Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis added ” Lucas has been playing great hockey for us. He is a very smart player and we depend on him a lot on both ends of the ice.”

Hit the net more

If we told you that despite the score, the Chargers actually played about as well as they did against Bemidji State in terms of finding chances, well, the metrics provide us some back up. They got 30 shot attempts, but in similar percentages to last weekend, their opponent only had to face 13 of them. The Lakers only had 50 shot attempts, but six of them found their way into the UAH net. The Chargers, once again, generated plenty of chances, but need to figure out other ways to hit the net. When your opponent only has five blocked shots on 30 attempts, and you only put 13 on net, well the math equates to many shots missing. Some were closer than others, but that is probably the most quantifiable aspect of tonight that the staff and players would like to correct tomorrow.

Delete the past

Every game from now on for this group is a chance to play another one. Tonight was the last time this team can lose and have another game to play. The effort from the group was there. The focus is now all on tomorrow, and trying to extend the series. As Zirnis said of tomorrow about his group, ” come out and compete and believe that you can play against anybody.” Game two happens tomorrow at 4:07 PM (central time).

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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Charging to the postseason: Lance West on UAH preparing to face Lake Superior State

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Over the season, the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville have built a new collective culture with a roster of 14 freshmen, and dedicated returners looking to come back and start a new chapter in the history of this program. As West said of his team’s growth each day they are ” getting more confident.” This group has to face the Lakers of Lake Superior State this weekend on the road to open the first round of the WCHA playoffs. West warns of calling any team in the postseason a “good matchup” and said of the Lakers ,”they’re the number two team in our league this year and finished ahead of a lot of really good hockey teams.”

As a team, their sweep at the hands of Bemidji State gave West and his group a final chance to see what they need to work on in the postseason against a veteran opponent. The Lakers play a similarly strong defensive game with one of the best goaltenders in the country, Mareks Mitens, backstopping them. In their own end, West noted that “we have to be better in our zone defending our zone and their motion.” The Lakers do a lot with their defenders on offense and are good at getting teams out of sort with the amount of motion they bring.

While the Chargers had more than a few opportunities this weekend, they could not score. West and the staff understand that and think the process is still paramount in its importance. For him, the focus is on not scoring in games but the constant focus is on on “continuing to have the right habits in practice.” As this team continues to build its new future this year and beyond, the staff believes goals and success will come from that.

In net, West praised the year David Fessenden has had for the Chargers. Fessenden’s ability to compete for this group means, according to West that ” “It gives your team a mentality that when he’s in there we know we have a chance.” His skill in stopping multiple shots in succession and keeping rebounds to non danger areas are two reasons why the net is his to lose in the postseason.

Finnaly, for this group development is at the forefront given that it has 14 freshmen. Part of the reason goal scoring is where the Chargers have it at is due to the consistently shifting line charts. Out of necessity to see what they have, most Chaargers have not played with their line mates for more than a few games. Despite the season, West noted that he could spend a long time talking about how all of his freshmen have grown their games. They all have grown, and players like Tyrone Bronte, Brian Scoville, Quinn Green, Conor Witherspoon, among so many skilled players in this freshman group have all stood out for what they bring to the Chargers.

Despite the tough task ahead of this group, West is still hopeful for the weekend. The puck drops on game one this Friday at 6:07 PM. If the Chargers can limit their mistakes, and streamline their game towards the net, anything is possible against a very good Lake Superior State team.

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.

BSU 4 UAH 0: Recap and three thoughts

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Other than the pace of scoring, for the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville, today’s regular season finale against Bemidji State looked eerily similar to the series opening loss yesterday.

That is, the Chargers had multiple chances to take the lead or tie things up, but could not solve Bemidji State goaltender Zach Driscoll who put another shutout on the board on his Senior Day game. Defensively, for the first two periods, the Chargers were able to limit the looks of the Beavers to the periphery, and clear the danger areas for most of the first 40 minutes.

Their issue, as was the case last night, came down to dealing with long shifts and getting tired out. Bemidji State has worn out teams all year to score a lot of goals, and today in the first two periods was no different.

The moment that put the game away for the Beavers came in the third period. Peyton Francis came down into the offensive zone midway through and hit both posts with his shot. At the other end, Alex Adams potted an unassisted goal to make it 3-0. Upon review, his goal stood as Francis’ shot never crossed the red line according to any available view. 27 seconds later, Adams scored against Derek Krall again to make it a 4-0 game. Despite multiple chances from the Chargers to round out the game, they could not solve Driscoll, who finished with 13 saves for the game.

What have we learned going into the postseason

This Chargers group did a lot of things right this weekend, when you look beyond the box score against a defensively strong Bemidji State team that will serve this group well next weekend against Laker Superior State, and beyond. They also did some things this weekend that will be hot topics of discusson with UAH Head Coach Lance West and his staff this weekend.

Here’s some takeaways from today

Take the quick out/make the simple play

Multiple times today the Chargers could not get a clear and a line change. Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis, among others, has driven home to this team the value of simplifying their game on defense. When you face a veteran team like Bemidji State who knows how to make you pay for your mistakes, and you make them.well the result is what we saw today. As this team matures, they will learn to take the simple out to get to their offense. In net, while Derek Krall had some nice saves today, the team gave up their second goal after he did not cover the puck and the Beavers hemmed the Chargers in. While he will get better at making that read, and had some highlights today, the ability to make the simple play or clear was not shown as a need by just the skaters for the Chargers today.

Speed will bring this program forward

Two players stood out this weekend for their speed, Tyrone Bronte and Peyton Francis. Both of them had some of the best looks the Chargers had all weekend, and Francis came millimeters from making things a one goal game before Bemidji State scored their two insurance markers to provide the final score. Speed is what will get this program to the next level, and these two have it in spades. Their effort today and this weekend was some of the best for the Chargers. Francis had many good looks today, and Bronte threw some of the best checks of the game for either team. His ability to get physical and add some checking to his game has grown leaps and bounds since he came to Huntsville

Delete the past

This team has one series to win, next week against a Lake Superior State team that they were about nine seconds away from earning at least two points against on the year, all on the road. The Lakers have a bit more offensive upside than Bemidji State, and one of the best goaltenders in the country in Mareks Mitens. They are also a bit more open in their game and present more opportunities to be countered than the Beavers do. If the Chargers can play the same way they did in the first and second period tonight, and make the simple play to get a few more clears, then against a team that is more open and more offense forward, they can make things interesting.

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PHOTOS: BSU 2-UAH 0

Credit to all photos belongs to Kelsey Lee of Violet Turtle Photography

Check out Kelsey’s photos of Alabama Huntsville as they took on Bemidji State yesterday. The Chargers lost 2-0, but showed they could compete with a veteran Bemidji State side. The finale takes place today at 2:07 PM.

For more of Kelsey’s work from yesterday click the link below for her full gallery.

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.

UAH-BSU: Three things to watch from the Chargers in the regular season finale

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Well, today is the last chance for the Chargers to earn some points before the WCHA postseason kicks off for them Friday night on the road at Lake Superior State. They did some good things yesterday in defending against an always formidable Bemidji State side, losing 2-0. Despite the good from last night, the Chargers could not solve Zach Driscoll, and only made him face 16 shots on the evening. Here are three things to watch to get an idea of how this game could go for the Chargers. Keep in mind, while the result of game does not change the first round opponent for either team next weekend, it could be the difference for the Beavers in plaiing in the NCAA Tournament or not. They are squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble, and a loss to the Chargers would hurt them in the “eye test” portion of what the Selection committee is looking at 14 days from today when the NCAA Tournament field is unveiled. The last regular season, conference game for the Chargers against Bemidji State presents Lance West’s team with an opportunity to keep their rivals out of the NCAA Tournament.

Here are three things to watch from the Chargers in the finale today

Shot attempt generation

The Chargers, in the first and second period yesterday, had more offenive zone time than they have earned in ther past few games. They did not convert any of those chances into goals. To compound that, on the night, the team only had 29 shot attempts. Of those, only one of those shot attempts came on the power play, by Peyton Francis. It was blocked. This team has improved in their systems, and cohesion from last year to this year, and the next consistent harbinger of that improvement is in how they can convert on their offensive zone time. In addition, this team conceded 69 shot attempts on the night. While they blocked 22 of those looks, it goes to the efficiency of getting the system. When you have to block that many shots, consistently, eventually your team will tire out and be more susceptible to taking penalties and giving up goals on long shifts. Both Bemidji State goals came on long shifts and off a series of plays that made David Fessenden’s job tough.

Development matters

If we had to put together a world cloud of what any of the coaches have said to us this year, about this team, it is development. Last night saw Peyton Francis in the top six, and he played well on the wing there, and on the power play. His speed, combined with the shot and speed of Tyrone Bronte and Bauer Neudecker on the power play was the most high-end speed line that the Chargers had last night. Francis has the speed and skill to earn a top six role on this team, and his work yesterday was nice to see to give the Chargers another option to play with Neudecker and Bronte full time next year.

On the back end, despite taking a delayed penalty that lead to an extra attacker goal, Ayodele Adeniye played well for the Chargers, not with his normal partner Brian Scoville, but with Dayne Finnson. The offensive upside of Finnson, combined with the defensive skill of Adeniye had a good night for the Chargers. Over this year, Adeniye has gotten better at stepping up into the play and generating some looks. On the defensive side, his ability to clear attackers in front of the goal has been a constant for the Chargers. Like Adeniye, Scoville had a decent night playing with Lucas Bahn except for taking two minor slashing penalties back to back in the first period. His defense and ability to stay at home gives Lucas more space to create the offense he is good at generating.

Game Management

When Bemidji State came out in the third period, they played the best of their three in the final stanza. They earned their only goal in that period on a delayed penalty. The issue for the Chargers in that period was shot generation. They only had four shots on net, compared to 12 from the Beavers. Despite not getting burned for many goals in a period, as a few teams have done to this group, their ability to generate offense or suppress the other team’s is another area this staff is working on constantly, answering back when your opponent does really well. They have a chance to hurt the tournament chances of their rival, get some momentum going into the postseason, and show how far they have come as a group one more time before the postseason starts in five days. The puck drops at 2:07 PM.

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.