HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama-Huntsville’s last win at the Von Braun Center came nearly ten-and-a-half months ago, against Niagara on March 2nd of 2007. After wearing a special black third jersey set sold off after Friday night’s loss, the homestanding Chargers netted three power-play goals in their road blues and defeated visiting Yale 3-2 in front of 2,705.
As has been the story so often this season, the Chargers found themselves down a goal when the Bulldogs’ Sean Backman solved Chargers’ goaltender Blake MacNicol with just 7:20 gone in the first period. Unlike so many of those games, the Chargers bounced back to tie it 1-1 when Scott Kalinchuk scored his second goal in as many nights.
Danny Kearney put Yale up 2-1 in the second with the only score of the period as he and Jimmy Martin wore down the Chargers defense and found some open net. After that, MacNicol stood tough in net, pleasing Chargers’ coach Danton Cole. “He was outstanding. He matched the other guy save for save. Early on, they were jumping, and he kept us in it.”
Penalties bit the Bulldogs in the third, as Mike Matczak and Robert Page went into the box little more than a minute apart. After Page was whistled for a delay of game for falling on and freezing the puck in the glove-side corner behind goalie Alec Richards, Cole called timeout and set up his power play.
“We got into a goofy setup that kind of worked. We put our forward in a different place, and we just kept working the puck around until we found a guy in the right place.”
Matt Sweazey tied the game at two after both of his defensemen handled the puck and found him down low near Richards, scoring with just three seconds left in Matczak’s penalty. That line stayed out for the next shift, and Joe Federoff scored off of a feed from Sweazey and Andrew Coburn to put the Chargers ahead on the scoreboard for the first time in 2008.
Cole was pleased with that line, both on the power play and as a hole. “Even when they weren’t scoring, they were doing some good things. It’s a good line when they’re working and skating. Joe was real good this weekend. We took his ice time down on the penalty kill to give him some more rest, and I think it paid off.”
MacNicol completed his solid play in net, and despite a late penalty to Kalinchuk that saw Yale pull Richards for the last :45 for a two-man advantage, the Chargers held on for the win, elating both the fans and the locker room.
“They feel pretty good,” Cole said. “I’m more excited for them than I am for the win. Last weekend [against Bemidji State] was tough, but they rebounded well.”
The Chargers travel to College Hockey America foe Wayne State for their final games against the Warriors in Detroit, while Yale plays Cornell and Colgate on the road next weekend.