HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — When asked for a prediction prior to the game, UAH head coach Danton Cole joked, “I’ll pull the old Lou Holtz routine: ‘We’ll try to keep them within a touchdown.’
Unfortunately for Cole and his Chargers, his words proved to be prescient, as the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks dominated the home-opening Alabama-Huntsville squad by a score of 7-0.
Jon Kalinski started the Mavericks’ tallies with two fast power-play goals in the first period. The first was a twisted wrister high glove-side on freshman netminder Cameron Talbot just 2:02 into the game, having skated between the circles to let loose his shot. Kalinski netted his second by redirecting a shot on by Kurt Davis past Talbot’s blocker.
“Our penalty kill just didn’t get it done for us tonight, and allowing them to go up early had us lose a bit of confidence in our play,” Cole said. “It was a slow start and a slow finish.”
Jason Wiley and Rylan Galiardi scored just 1:13 as the first period drew to a close, ending Talbot’s first home start early. Wiley’s goal, fed by a solid outlet pass from his own end, exemplified the speed that the Mavericks exhibited all evening. “We weren’t trusting our gaps, and when you do that, any team is going to look fast.”
“I don’t think Cam was playing all that badly,” Cole said. “I didn’t pull him because he was letting us down. I was trying to get us to rally.”
It worked for a while, as sophomore goaltender Blake MacNicol held the Mavericks scoreless for over 20 minutes before Jerad Stewart netted the Mavs’ fifth goal with just 30 seconds remaining in the second.
“We had some zip in the second, but the third period wasn’t very good for us at all.” Geoff Irwin and Brian Kilburg added goals in the final frame as the Mavericks put it out of reach.
“It was a little bit of everything tonight,” Cole remarked. “Mentally, we have to be a lot better.”
The Chargers host the Mavericks Saturday afternoon starting at 3:05 p.m. at the Von Braun Center.