KEARNEY, Neb. — In a physical game, sixth-seeded Wayne State upset third-seed Alabama-Huntsville, 5-3, in the second game of the CHA tournament at the Tri-City Arena.
The defending champion Warriors were led by Billy Collins, whose hat trick helped Wayne State earn the win despite being outshot 43-21.
Entering the final period of regulation tied at three, Wayne State took the lead at the 6:14 mark as Collins earned his second goal of the night, slipping the puck between the pipes off of a pass from Greg Poupard. Collins completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:52 for the 5-3 victory.
Early on, Alabama-Huntsville was the first to put the puck into the back of the net, as junior Jared Ross scored off a pass by Jeff Winchester at the 7:33 mark. Wayne State sophomore John May evened the score at the 14:18 mark, taking a pass from Mark Cannon and Matt Boldt and slipping it behind UAH goaltender Scott Munroe.
Just 24 seconds into the second period, Wayne State’s Billy Collins backhanded a pass from Travis Rycroft to put the Warriors up by one. UAH tied it back up at the eight-minute mark, as Ross added his second goal of the night. With the Chargers holding a two-man advantage due to WSU penalties, Ross dumped in a pass from Craig Bushey and Ryan Brown.
Alabama-Huntsville added another power-play goal to the tally at the 13:14 mark, when Bushey scored on Wayne State netminder Matt Kelly off a pass from Bruce Mulherin. Then it was the Warriors’ turn to even up the score once more, as Chris Vail scored at 16:54 off helpers from Nate Higgins and Greg Poupard.
Kelly was stellar in goal for the Warriors, stopping 40 shots. Adam MacLean, who replaced Munroe in goal for the Chargers, had 11 saves.
The Warriors return to action Saturday at 7:05 p.m., when they take on second-seeded Niagara in the semifinals.