HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — In a game dubbed by some as “the Battle of the ‘Bamas”, the ACHA Division 3 club team from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa traveled to face their varsity counterparts in the UA system, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, for an exhibition game to start the Chargers’ season. While UAH is usually the “small school” in the system, the Chargers loomed large on Saturday night, steaming through to a 12-1 win over the Frozen Tide.
With Kurt Kleinendorst still in his first month as UAH’s head coach, everyone was excited to see what would transpire. Kleinendorst’s charges scored early and often; Sebastian Geoffrion lit the lamp with just :30 gone with a backhand shot between Sean Vinson’s pads. Kyle Lysaght followed his linemate’s lead, scoring the first of his five goals just 2:17 later.
“I saw a lot of things that I liked,” Kleinendorst said. “We’ve only been together a little while, and we did some good things. We did some things that we’re going to have to find a way to do better. … It’s a win. We’ll take it, but I don’t want to get carried away with it.”
The Chargers kept building momentum, with goals from Lysaght and Curtis deBruyn followed by short-handed goals from Brice Geoffrion and Lysaght. From there, the Chargers cruised to victory.
Alabama coach Mike Quenneville was clearly excited about the opportunity that playing the Chargers presents to his team.
“We preach stuff every day, and when we get an opportunity to play a team that does everything so right, and have got the speed, it’s going to make us a better hockey team.”
Alabama scored midway through the second period, as 5-foot4-inch Huntsville native Mark Wysock found open space in the slot to push in a tumbling rebound for a power-play goal.
Kleinendorst seemed happy with his team’s effort.
“For the most part, the guys went out and executed the plan that we’ve put in place up to this point. This is not about winning. This is about the process. When you play the game the right way, when you work your way through the process, winning is a by-product of that.”
The teams play the second game of the series at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, and Quenneville is ready to see his team face the challenge.
“[The Alabama players] are going to get faster, they’re going to be smarter, they’re going to move the puck quicker. We’re definitely going to get better for this experience.”