Jacks shoot down Phantoms to wrap weekend
February 12, 2012
Goalie Hayden Stewart stopped 43 shots and Joe Cox (pictured) netted the shootout winner as Muskegon snapped an eight-game road winless streak in Youngstown Sunday
by Matt Gajtka
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Muskegon Lumberjacks snapped an eight-game road winless streak Sunday afternoon, downing the pesky Youngstown Phantoms 4-3 in a shootout at Covelli Centre.
Joe Cox netted the game winner in the fifth round of the shootout, making a winner of goalie Hayden Stewart, who made a career-high 43 saves and stopped four of five in the tiebreaker. The Phantoms rallied from 3-1 down midway through the third to force overtime, but the Lumberjacks (12-20-5, 29 points) owned the shootout, just their second of the season.
Stewart rebounded from a tough outing Friday against Youngstown to turn in the finest performance of his young USHL career, which included a penalty shot stop on Austin Cangelosi with 1:55 left and the game tied 3-3. The Illinois native Stewart picked up his second victory in his fourth league start.
The dramatic victory was the Jacks’ first away from L.C. Walker Arena since Nov. 12, when they vanquished Indiana 5-4. Since that night, Muskegon had gone 0-5-3 as the visiting team, including a bittersweet 6-5 OT loss to Indiana Saturday night.
Tyler Heinonen scored a goal in regulation and also beat Phantoms goalie Matt O’Connor to cancel out Ryan Belonger’s goal that extended the shootout beyond the usual three rounds. Ryan Lomberg opened the scoring for the second straight game, and Matt DeBlouw also tallied for Muskegon.
Dylan Margonari scored a pair of goals for Youngstown (24-13-4, 52 points), giving him eight points in the season series with Muskegon, which finished with each team earning nine points. Phantoms’ leading scorer Mike Ambrosia started their comeback with a power play goal midway through the third.
The win gave the Lumberjacks a 1-1-1 record over the weekend and a 1-1 record in shootouts. Muskegon’s only previous shootout this season was Jan. 5 at Youngstown when the Phantoms claimed a 4-3 win.
Just like Saturday night in Indiana, it was Lomberg who triggered the Lumberjacks attack in the first period. With Muskegon shorthanded, the University of Maine recruit jumped on a loose puck at center and beat Matt O’Connor on a partial breakaway for his team-leading 13th goal at 3:58. Lomberg now has three goals in his last two games and a team-leading 25 points.
The Phantoms thought they tied the game at the midway point of the opening stanza, but the officials ruled Pat Conte intentionally kicked the puck behind Stewart on a rebound chance. However, Youngstown did get the equalizer just moments later when Margonari stepped out from behind the goal and slipped a backhand shot through Stewart’s legs with 9:39 left.
DeBlouw pushed the Jacks back ahead at 4:29 of the second, as he tossed a backhand shot from the right circle that bounced off O’Connor’s arm and into the net. Jon Padulo set up shop in front of the net to prevent the Phantoms goalie from getting a good look at the shot.
Muskegon grew the lead to two with about seven minutes left in the middle period, as Heinonen cashed in for his 10th off a pass from Cox. Defenseman Travis Walsh wristed a shot from the point that O’Connor stopped, but Cox picked up the rebound and stashed it in front to the open Heinonen, who has seven goals since mid-January.
The first 10 minutes of the third were uneventful, but the Phantoms squeezed back into the game when Ambrosia nudged the residue of J.T. Stenglein’s shot under Stewart during a power play. Each team had eight opportunities on the man advantage, but Ambrosia’s goal was the only conversion of the game, which was pugnacious as always between the two East rivals.
Margonari wrapped a forehand shot through Stewart’s legs with just 2:37 to go in regulation, seemingly setting up overtime as a certainty. But Cangelosi was hauled down on a breakaway less than a minute later, giving him a penalty shot, the first of the season against the Jacks.
Cangelosi tried to shoot low, but Stewart closed down all available space and made the pivotal save, ensuring the Lumberjacks would earn at least a point.
Click here for complete box score.
The Lumberjacks will stay on the road next weekend, as they travel to Dubuque Friday for an 8:05 p.m. start against the Fighting Saints. The Meijer Pregame Show begins at 7:35 on 92.5 The Outlaw with Voice of the Jacks Matt Gajtka on the call.
Call the L.C. Walker Arena box office at 231.724.JACK(5225) for 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.