Jacks come through late again
November 12, 2011
Cox netted his 2nd game winner of the weekend as Muskegon improved to .500 in Indy. Seeler, Padulo and Shuart racked up three points each
by Matt Gajtka
INDIANAPOLIS– For the second straight night, the Muskegon Lumberjacks saw an opponent rally to tie in the third period. For the second straight night, Joseph Cox made the difference in a dramatic win.
Cox netted his second game-winning goal of the weekend with 4:04 remaining as the Lumberjacks pulled out a white-knuckle 5-4 victory against the Indiana Ice Saturday night at Pepsi Coliseum.
A Michigan State recruit, Cox finished the rebound of Jordan Masters’ shot as it laid at the feet of Indiana goalie Jon Gillies, who replaced starter Dalton Izyk minutes earlier. Friday night, Cox scored his first USHL goal with 6:57 left in a 2-1 win at Youngstown.
The Lumberjacks (6-6-0, 12 points) have now won two in a row, both on the road, and five of six overall to climb to .500 for the first time this season.
Cox certainly wasn’t alone in the heroism category, as defenseman Nick Seeler and forwards Max Shuart and John Padulo registered a goal and two assists each. Their efforts helped Muskegon build a 3-1 lead after two periods and a 4-2 advantage eight minutes into the third, as Tyler Heinonen chased Izyk with a long goal from the left wing.
The Ice (7-3-2, 16 points) had cut the lead to 3-2 on Woody Hudson’s redirect three minutes earlier, and Indiana had another answer in store after Heinonen’s goal. With the Ice shorthanded, Robbie Baillargeon lifted a point-blank forehand over Paul Berrafato at 8:21 to make it a one-goal game again.
Baillargeon’s goal was his second of the night, and after Indiana killed a series of Muskegon power plays, Hudson finished a two-goal game of his own by firing a loose puck into the twine to tie the score 4-4.
Cox then capped the wild final frame just 1:04 later. Remarkably, he did the same thing Friday night to down the Phantoms, albeit exactly a minute after Youngstown knotted the score.
Shuart was denied an apparent power-play goal Friday, but he left little doubt about it Saturday. Just 1:40 into the game, the future Michigan Wolverine slid the rebound of Seeler’s point shot under Izyk while the Jacks were on their first power play of the night. It was the first man-advantage goal surrendered by the Ice at home this season; Muskegon finished the night 2-for-9 while holding Indiana’s No. 1 ranked unit scoreless on four tries.
Muskegon couldn’t escape the first period with the lead, though. Christian Hilbrich laid out on the ice to block a clearing pass and deflected the puck ahead to an open Baillargeon, who deked and scored with less than a minute left in the frame.
The Ice entered the game clicking at over 35 percent on the power play, but the Jacks’ unit continued to steal the show in the second period. Seeler ripped a hard slapper through traffic and over Izyk’s glove from 50 feet away to put Muskegon back on top 2-1 with eight minutes left before intermission.
Forty-eight seconds later, Shuart found Padulo open in the slot with a backhand pass, and Padulo rifled a wrister inside the left post, giving the Jacks a two-goal lead entering the third.
Click here for complete box score.
Muskegon returns home next Friday for a 7:15 p.m. faceoff with the Tri-City Storm, another John Morrell $1 Beer/$ Hot Dog Night at L.C. Walker Arena. The Meijer Pregame Show engages 30 minutes prior to every game on the radio home of your Lumberjacks, 92.5 FM The Outlaw.
Call 231.724.JACK(5225), visit startickets.com or go to your local Meijer for Lumberjacks tickets and information.
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.