Jacks build late lead but fall in OT
January 27, 2012
Ryan Lomberg scored on two breakaways and Matt DeBlouw added one of his own, but the National Team came back to win 4-3 in Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In the conclusion of three consecutive games between Eastern Conference rivals, the U.S. National Under-17 Team erased a 3-1 deficit to top the Muskegon Lumberjacks 4-3 in overtime Friday night at the Ice Cube.
Ryan Lomberg scored twice as the Lumberjacks built a 2-1 lead through two periods, then Matt DeBlouw netted one of his own early in the third to increase the spread. Muskegon (10-17-3, 23 points) appeared on its way to Head Coach Jim McKenzie’s second win in three games.
But the National Team (18-12-4, 40 points) completed a two-goal rally when Tyler Motte scored midway through the frame to tie. Motte then deposited the game winner 1:30 into sudden death, ripping a left-wing wrister just barely through John Keeney, who made 28 saves in his fifth straight start.
Muskegon will begin the second half of their 60-game USHL season Saturday night when they welcome second-place Indiana to L.C. Walker Arena. The Jacks have gone 2-0-1 against the powerful Ice with five meetings left in the season series.
The Lumberjacks and the Under-17s split a pair of games last weekend in Muskegon, with each contest not decided until the final minutes. Appropriately, Friday night’s confrontation in Ann Arbor continued the trend.
Jordan Masters, playing three days after recording an assist in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Muskegon, earned another helper in the first period at the Ice Cube. The New Hampshire recruit led Lomberg with a quick pass from the right side, giving the future Maine Black Bear a breakaway from the blue line. Lomberg beat Hunter Miska through the legs for a 1-0 lead at 9:34.
Lomberg victimized Miska last Friday with a breakaway goal in the final seconds, and he beat the NTDP netminder one-on-one for the third time in the second period. Kevin Labanc knotted it up for the National Team with a deflection power-play goal, but it was only prologue for Lomberg’s star turn.
While killing a penalty, Jacks defenseman Mark Yanis got to a loose puck and fired a headman pass to Lomberg, who was behind the defense again. His backhand deke fooled Miska badly, giving Muskegon four shorthanded goals in seven games and a 2-1 lead to boot.
The Jacks had been 9-1-1 when leading after two periods, and when DeBlouw snapped a dart inside the left post 5:17 into the third, the 10th win in that situation seemed imminent. John Padulo and Max Shuart earned assists on the fast-developing play from the right circle.
However, another power play goal, this time from Tyler Kelleher at the left post, drew the National Team back in the game 1:01 after DeBlouw’s strike.
Motte made it 3-3 with 8:25 remaining, finishing J.T. Compher’s pass from the right dot. Compher controlled the faceoff himself and found Motte open on a timing play. The goal was Motte’s team-leading 10th in USHL play.
He added No. 11 (and his 19th overall) 90 seconds into sudden death. Collecting the carom of a Lumberjacks’ shot attempt, he cruised down the left side and snapped a shot that Keeney had for a brief moment before it dropped over the goal line.
Click here for complete box score.
The Lumberjacks return to Muskegon Saturday night to face Indiana. The game was originally scheduled to be on the road but it has been switched to the Port City to accommodate Super Bowl-related activities in Indianapolis.
Call the L.C. Walker Arena box office at 231.724.JACK(5225) for Lumberjacks tickets and information, or visit startickets.com or go to your local Meijer.
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.