For the first time this season, the University of Alabama in Huntsville Chargers hit the ice at home. After starting the season with four straight series on the road, the Chargers took the ice at Propst Arena against the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves and won in dominant fashion by a score of 5-1. The last time UAH notched five goals in a home opener was all the way back in 2001.
UAH got things start off early playing one of their best periods in recent history. Just 20 seconds into the game, the Chargers went on the power play thanks to a hooking penalty on Alaska Anchorage’s Tad Kozun. The Chargers had difficulty getting set up early on during the power play, but soon found their groove, generating opportunities. Near the end of the power play, Brennan Saulnier notched his fifth goal of the season and eighth point in nine games. Austin Beaulieu and Kurt Gosselin tallied assists on the score.
First period play continued and the UAH attacked did as well. The Chargers went on the power play again, but couldn’t muster another goal. Still, the creativity and speed of UAH shined with their continuous zone time. The Chargers ended the first period with 19 shots on goal out of 24 total shot attempts.
UAH had to begin the second period on the penalty kill, but they killed it off then went on the power play when Tomi Hiekkavirta of Alaska Anchorage took an interference penalty. UAH did not convert, but the momentum continued for the Chargers as Brennan Saulnier scored his second of the game at 4:52 of the second. The goal was Saulnier’s sixth goal of the season, making it nine points in nine games. The Seawolves responded with a goal of their own a couple minutes later, but the Chargers, dominated the period with two more goals.
Christian Rajic put in his third of the season with Austin Beaulieu getting his second assist of the night. Freshman Levi Wunder put his first career goal in the back of the net at 16:49 of the second with an assist by John Teets and Connor Wood.
The Chargers continued to do the little things to disrupt play. Whether it was a stick lift, a poke check or getting a stick in a lane, UAH made it difficult for Alaska Anchorage to exit their defensive zone and get through the neutral zone. The Chargers pounded goaltender Olivier Mantha, racking up 31 shots on goal through two periods.
UAH started the third sitting back a bit, letting the Seawolves have some of their best five-on-five play of the game. Goaltender Jordan Uhelski showed great awareness by tracking the puck and covering at the right opportunities to stop the push by Alaska Anchorage. Midway through the third however, the Chargers maintained a 4-1 lead. UAH began to push back with opportunities of their own.
As frustration mounted for the Seawolves, so did the post-whistle physicality. Each team received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to hopefully settle things down. The teams then played at four-on-four, which opened up the ice, though neither team took advantage of it. Play continued in the third period, and UAH added an empty net shorthanded goal by Madison Dunn at 18:08 with an assist from Hans Gorowsky to give them a 5-1 victory. The Chargers put on a shooting clinic in the win, tallying 40 shots on goal for the game including 61 shot attempts.