HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Western Michigan University Broncos came in to Huntsville and spoiled the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers’ home opener, stunning 3,873 in attendance with a 2-1 Bronco win.
WMU coach Jim Culhane was happy with how his charges handled the hostile surroundings.
“We expected [the crowd] and talked about it all week long, he said. UAH had our attention with the start they’ve had, splitting at Notre Dame and sweeping at Air Force. You could feel a buzz around the city today.”
The Chargers (3-2-0) started off the scoring with a power-play goal by freshman Justin Cseter, his fourth of the season.
“It was a nice goal. He worked it well and gave us a shot. Tommy Train in front had good net presence, and Cseter got it through.”
The Broncos tied it up on a penalty shot by Cam Watson, who came streaking out of the box and drew a tripping penalty to get the solo chance.
“I felt our group weathered the storm in the first period,” Cullhane said. And then we were able to tie it up on the penalty shot.”
Cole was happy with his team’s effort, but noted that his charges just didn’t get the bounces.
“The difference between this and our other games was that we didn’t bury a lot of good chances, he said. As for the penalty shot? “We had a mental lapse coming with their guy coming out of the box. You can’t let them come out and loop around and just get the puck. We got out of position and took the penalty for the penalty shot, and he buried a nice shot past for the goal. Shame on us.”
The Broncos (3-0-0) came out noticeably more physical in the third period, taking it to the home team.
“My observation from the bench was that both teams battled hard,” Cullhane said. “Fortunately for us, we came out on top.”
Trevor Elias scored the game-winning goal on a mental lapse by the Chargers, with UAH goalie Cameron Talbot stopping Jared Katz’s shot, but missing the rebound from Elias, which went off his shoulder and fluttered into the net.
“That last one was goofy,” Cole said of the game winner. “[Talbot] was on the original shot but he didn’t see the puck go over his shoulder.”
Jerry Kuhn was strong between the pipes for the Broncos, seeing his first action of the young season.
Cullhane praised his junior netminder, saying, “I thought Jerry’s play was terrific. I thought he made a lot of key saves and was our best penalty killer. He made a big pad save in the third period when it was 2-1 that obviously helped us stay in the game.”
The Broncos killed five of the Chargers’ six power-play opportunities.
Cole praised his opponents.
“That’s a pretty good team over there. They played well and it was a good hockey game. We’ve just got to be a little better.”
The two teams face off at 7:05 p.m. Central time on Saturday night. Cullhane expects to see a similar matchup between the two teams.
“I think you’re going to see both teams with more of the same. Obviously, they’re not going to be happy with the home opener loss, and our guys can’t be happy with just the win tonight.”