Lumberjacks Log: Week 5
November 2, 2011
Muskegon puts its home winning streak on the line when it welcomes Youngstown and Cedar Rapids to L.C. Walker this weekend.
by Matt Gajtka
MUSKEGON, Mich. – As October turns to November, the Muskegon Lumberjacks seem to be finding a groove, especially at home.
Luckily for them, they get two more games at L.C. Walker Arena Friday and Saturday to continue their positive flow and climb the Eastern Conference standings.
After dropping five of their first six, including their first home game, the Lumberjacks (3-5-0, 6 points) played their best hockey of the young season last weekend while earning impressive wins against East rival Chicago and best-in-the-West Waterloo.
Muskegon’s forward line of Matt DeBlouw, Dakota Klecha and Josh Henke combined for 10 points in those wins, including Klecha’s four goals and DeBlouw’s four assists. Although Klecha’s three straight two-goal games have grabbed the headlines, each of the trio has put together a three-game point streak, dating back to Oct. 23.
“They were together the previous weekend as well and created some chances,” said Lumberjacks Head Coach/GM Kevin Patrick. “You look for combinations that produce some magic and they have certainly been doing that.”
Second-year goaltender Paul Berrafato, who produced nine wins in 27 appearances last season, already has presided in three victories in four starts so far. He returned to the crease last weekend after two games in the backup role.
“I just did the same things I always do in practice,” said Berrafato, who stopped 49 of 52 shots between Saturday and Sunday. “I did my best to stay ready and the team really played well in front of me.”
The Jacks will have to continue to play well Friday night, as the surprising Youngstown Phantoms (6-2-0, 12 points) skate to Muskegon. The Phantoms are off to their best start in three seasons of USHL play and are averaging 4.13 goals per game, second best in the league.
The only team to score more than the Phantoms so far are the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (5-1-2, 12 points), who are the Jacks’ opponent Saturday. The Riders have lit the lamp 4.38 times per contest and are the only USHL team with just one regulation loss.
The puck drops between the Jacks and Youngstown at L.C. Walker Arena Friday at 7:15 p.m., with doors opening at 6 for $1 Beer/$1 Hot Dog Night presented by John Morrell. Call 231.724.JACK(5225) to purchase your tickets, or visit startickets.com or any local Meijer location.
Muskegon hosts Cedar Rapids Saturday at 7:15 p.m. on Youth Hockey Night, with kids 12 and under getting free admission if wearing their youth team jerseys. The Meijer Pregame Show engages 30 minutes prior to every game on the radio home of your Lumberjacks, 92.5 FM The Outlaw.
THE PHANTOM MENACE
RIDERS ON THE STORM
UPCOMING JACKS ACTION (HOME GAMES BOLDED)
Friday, November 11 @ YOUNGSTOWN at 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, November 12 @ INDIANA at 7:05 p.m.
Friday, November 18 vs. TRI-CITY at 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, November 19 vs. GREEN BAY at 7:15 p.m.
FOLLOW THE JACKS ALL SEASON
92.5 FM The Outlaw is the exclusive radio home of your Muskegon Lumberjacks! Listen over the air or check out the action streaming online at 925fmtheoutlaw.com as Voice of the Jacks Matt Gajtka has the play-by-play. The USHL is also partnering with FASTHockey to provide video coverage of all league games this season; go to ushl.fasthockey.com to sign up and watch!
TALKIN’ LUMBERJACKS HOCKEY
JackSixty presented by Cinema Carousel is a weekly hour-long talk show devoted to your Muskegon Lumberjacks every Tuesday night from 6-7 p.m. at Hennessy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. Located at the corner of Jefferson and Clay Streets in the heart of Muskegon, Hennessy’s plays host as Gajtka talks hockey with head coach Kevin Patrick, various players and other featured guests on 98.3 FM WLCS!
THE SOCIAL NETWORKS
Never go hungry for Jacks news: “Like” the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Facebook and follow “@MuskegonJacks” on Twitter to stay plugged into the Jacks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, find the Jacks’ exclusive YouTube channel at youtube.com/MuskegonJacks!
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.