HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Despite three shorthanded markers for visiting Air Force, the homestanding Alabama-Huntsville Chargers rode three second-period goals to a 6-4 win,to keeping them in first place in the early-season CHA standings.
All in all, 30 penalties were called in the game, 17 of them in the first period. It was a night for special teams, especially with theChargers going into box in the first, third, and fifth minutes of the opening period, giving Air Force three separate five-on-four opportunities. The Chargers killed all three.
Frustrations from last night’s 5-1 UAH victory were evident early on. A scrum ensued at 7:41 of the first period, when a Charger puck sailed into the chest protector of Falcon senior netminder David Polidor and down his left leg, settling in just behind the top of his leg pad. As Polidor searched his equipment for the puck, six players began battling along the boards, sending three players from each team into the penalty box for hitting after the whistle.
The Falcons seemed to be energized by the physical play, as they flew up the ice and scored just 20 seconds later when Steve Mead banged home a rebound past Charger sophomore Scott Munroe for an early 1-0 lead.
Matching minors for roughing opened up the ice four-on-four for the Chargers with a little over five minutes left in the opening period. Freshman Brett McConnachie scored his second of the season with help from Jeff Winchester and Jared Ross.
Andrew Ramsey received a double minor for contact in front of the net with Ross a minute later, giving the Chargers a man advantage. But this time. it was the Falcons who took advantage of the open ice, scoring two shorthanded goals as their forwards pounced on poor passes from the Chargers. Spanky Leonard fed Matt Bader at 16:33 of the period, and Mike Knaeble scored just nine seconds later after picking up a loose puck and skating in alone.
UAH fought back in the second, courtesy of a five-on-three advantage given them by the Falcons. Grant Selinger scored the first goal of his collegiate career just nine seconds before the first minor was to expire. Craig Bushey tied the game at three, netting his fourth of the season just 42 seconds later with helpers from Ross and Selinger.
The home team went ahead at 16:08 of the period when Steve Canter pushed home his first goal of the night on another power play. It added to that lead with the eventual game winner on another Canter goal with 3:30 gone in the third.
The Chargers scored their final goal of the night when Ross, falling down, pushed a puck to sophomore defenseman Jeff Winchester, who banged home his first goal of the season for Ross’s fourth assist of the night at 10:44 of the period.
The Falcons seemed done two minutes later when Billy DeVoney receiveda major penalty for charging, but the penalty killers succeded in scoring their third of the night when Knaeble and Ryan Wiggins broke up the power play and Knaeble picked up his second shorthanded goal of the night.
After the major penalty expired with the Chargers adding no goals, Falcon coach Frank Serratore called a timeout and pulled Polidor, who remained on the bench for the extra attacker for the final 1:23 of the game. The Falcons were solid in holding the puck in the offensive zone for all but 15 seconds or so remaining in the game, but the Charger defenders threw bodies in the way of passes and shots, and Munroe withstood the final rush.
The two teams meet again on January 23 and 24 in Colorado Springs, Colo., to finish their four-game season series. The Chargers, 3-1-0 [2-0-0], travel to Miami next weekend, while the Falcons, 4-4-0 [0-2-0], travel to Bentley.