Muskegon dominates Chicago for first home win
October 29, 2011
Klecha scored two goals for the second straight game and four other Jacks added a pair of points in a complete effort
by Matt Gajtka
MUSKEGON, Mich.– For the second straight game against the Chicago Steel, the Muskegon Lumberjacks led 2-0 after the first period and received two goals from Dakota Klecha.
Last time, the Steel rebounded for a comeback win. This time around, the Jacks held the Steel down and scored an impressive 5-1 win against their Eastern Conference rival Saturday at L.C. Walker Arena. It was Muskegon’s first home victory in its second try, kicking off a four-game ‘stand in style.
Unlike last Sunday, Chicago never managed to tie the score. After the Steel made it 2-1 early in the second, the Lumberjacks (2-5-0, 4 points) poured in three more to put the game away and deliver their finest performance of the young season.
Along with Klecha’s second multi-goal contest, four other Jacks rung up two points, with Mark Yanis and Ryan Lomberg earning a goal and an assist each. Matt DeBlouw and John Padulo had two assists apiece, and Tyler Heinonen broke through for his first USHL tally.
Aidan Cavallini scored for the Steel (4-5-0, 8 points), who saw their two-game winning streak snapped. Chicago still leads the season series with Muskegon 2-1-0 with five meetings left.
In addition to the four-goal margin of victory, the Jacks tied a season-high with 36 shots, which they reached previously Oct. 14 at Sioux Falls in a 6-5 win. They also limited the Steel to 18 shots, by far the fewest for a Muskegon opponent through the first seven contests.
Jacks goalie Paul Berrafato stopped 17 of 18 shots for his second win of the season, and he had to be sharp in the first with the teams trading chances. Happily for the Jacks, Klecha was the first to score, converting a sharp feed from Josh Henke at the bottom of the right circle with 8:17 left in the first.
Yanis stunned the Steel six minutes later, beating starting netminder Alex Sakellaropolous with a slapper from center ice for his first of the season and a 2-0 edge after one period.
Max Shuart appeared to give Muskegon a three-goal margin to open the second, but his one-timer hit the left post and danced across the goal line. Cavallini buried the rebound of Jimmy DeVito’s shot moments later to cut the lead in half.
But instead of retreating, the Lumberjacks stayed on the attack. After Sakellaropolous stopped Yanis on the doorstep, Klecha backhanded a low shot from between the circles past the stunned goaltender at 8:50, who was trying to reach his stick behind the net.
Heinonen’s first in the USHL with 5:39 left chased the Chicago goalie, who was making his first appearance of the season. Padulo found Heinonen on the rush with a crossrink pass, then the Minnesotan snapped a left circle shot through Sakellaropolous.
Backup Steel goalie Adam Miller was greeted rudely 30 seconds later, when Padulo stole his clearing attempt and shoved a centering pass to Lomberg in the crease.
Go to http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/boxscore.html?gameid=1660276 for complete box score.
Kids under 12 wearing a Halloween costume get in free Sunday, as the Jacks take on Waterloo at 5:15 p.m. Call (231) 724-JACK, or visit startickets.com or your local Meijer to purchase your tickets!
The Muskegon Lumberjacks are proud members of the United States Hockey League, the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and the leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States. The Lumberjacks’ organization prides itself on developing not just premier hockey talent, but also exceptional young men outside the arena of sports. For more information, visit muskegonlumberjacks.com.