Location: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Friday, October 22 – 7:07 PM
Saturday, October 23 – 7:07 PM
Broadcast: WCHA.TV (PPV)
The Alabama-Huntsville Chargers open their WCHA campaign at home this weekend against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves.
The Chargers have a 4-18-1 all-time record in the 23 games between the two in a series that dates back to December 7, 1987. All of UAH’s wins in the series have come at the Von Braun Center, with the Chargers holding a 4-5-1 record at home against the Seawolves. Last season, UAH swept the Seawolves at home, the only two meetings between the two teams.
The Seawolves roll into the Rocket City on a decent 3-1 start facing significantly light competition, defeating first year team Arizona State, as well as RPI and American International. The lone defeat was a 6-2 thrashing by St. Cloud State. They also started the season by losing an exhibition to Canadian university Mount Royal. Anchorage finished last in the media poll to start the season, so it will be interesting to see if the three wins against weaker competition affected the team at all.
Alabama-Huntsville, meanwhile, has just two games to its credit so far this season, splitting the opening series against Huntsville. The resilience of the team on the second game of the series gives hope to the Chargers coming into this weekend and they could be off to a very impressive start. Last weekend, UAH steamrolled Alabama’s ACHA team in an exhibition, winning 11-1.
On paper, this is a series UAH must win. Alabama-Huntsville seems to have a better team this season than Anchorage. The two teams will meet again later this season, so UAH can perhaps afford to lose one of the four, but it would be far better for the Chargers to come out of this weekend 3-1.
Alabama-Huntsville Key Players:
Chad Brears, F, Senior
Overshadowed a bit by Brendan Saulnier’s big opening weekend, Brears put up four points on opening weekend while scoring three in the second game of the series. Always one of UAH’s better scoring players, Brears is finally surrounded by a core that can help get the puck in the net. Look for him to try to continue that this weekend.
Carmine Guerriero, G, Junior
Carmine Guerriero’s rise to the top stalled a bit on opening night when he gave up four goals to UConn’s offense on 34 attempts. The junior netminder bounced back the following night, however, to score his first win of the season stopping 29 of the Huskies’ 31 shots in the Chargers’ 5-2 win. Guerriero was the goaltender in both of UAH’s wins against Anchorage last season, saving a total of 58 shots on 61 attempts. A win on Friday night could put Guerriero in position to win three games in a row for the first time in his career.
Max McHugh, F, Sophomore
Last year’s leading scorer banked three points on opening weekend. More importantly, McHugh faces a UAA team that he scored three points against last season. He earned WCHA Rookie of the Week honors against this team last year, so they will remember him well.
Brennan Saulnier, F, Sophomore
What a difference an offseason makes. Saulnier exploded in the series against UConn, registering three goals and two assists. His five point weekend was enough to earn WCHA Player of the Week honors for the first week of the season. Not a bad start for a guy who only had one goal in 32 games last year. Friday night is only the third game of the season and Saulnier has already tripled his goal output from last season. If the sophomore can stay out of the penalty box this year, he might do some big things.
Alaska-Anchorage Key Players:
Matt Anholt, F, Sophomore
Anholt has at least a point in each of Anchorage’s first four games, the only player on the Seawolves who has managed to pull of this feat. For a player who scored only nine points in his freshman year, his sudden consistency is a blessing to the Anchorage squad.
Wyatt Ege, D, Freshman
The freshman defenseman has four points in his first four collegiate games, including a pair of goals versus RPI. Two weeks into the season, he’s the nation’s leading goal-scorer among freshman defensemen.
Blake Tatchell, F, Senior
Tatchell rolls into Huntsville coming off a big four-point game against lowly American International. The leading returning scorer for the Seawolves has scored a lot of points in his career, including four against UAH. Guerriero managed to keep him off the board last year, but Tatchell has had a very good week.