MUSKEGON, MI -- In the rubber match against one of their main rivals, the Muskegon Lumberjacks emerged victorious, earning their first home win of the season.
Anthony Del Gaizo led the Jacks with two goals and an assist, en route to a 5-2 win over the Youngstown Phantoms.
After splitting the first two games against Youngstown, Saturday night’s game represented a great opportunity for Muskegon to pick up a big win in front of their home crowd.
Del Gaizo got the scoring started for Muskegon late in the first period as he was able to put away a power-play goal on a net-mouth scramble. It was the first power-play goal for Muskegon since the second game of the season against the Des Moines Buccaneers back on October 7. The power play had gone 0/13 since then.
In the second period the Jacks continued to pour the pressure on with two goals four minutes apart. University of Minnesota commit Clayton Phillips extended the Muskegon lead after his blast from the point found its way past Phantom reminder Wouter Peeters.
This was followed up by another goal as Nash Nienhuis sent a hard shot from the top of the slot that was tipped on its way in by Del Gaizo to give the Jacks the 3-0 lead. This chased Peeters from the net, who took the loss and dropped to 0-2-1. Peeters stopped 11 of 14 shots.
Things got interesting in the third period as Youngstown took advantage of two short-handed goals just 85 seconds apart, to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Phantoms came on strong near the end but the Jacks held firm defensively with goaltender Adam Brizgala making several spectacular saves to preserve the one goal lead. Brizgala finished the night with 22 saves on the evening and improved his record to 3-3-0.
Muskegon would eventually pull away with back-to-back empty net goals by Matej Pekar and Bray Crowder, the first goals of their United States Hockey League careers.
The five goals scored by the Lumberjacks marked the most goals they have scored in a game since last season when they defeated the Bloomington Thunder 5-2 on April 8.
With the win Muskegon, improves to 3-4-0 on the year and 1-2-0 at L.C. Walker Arena. The Lumberjacks will continue a six game homestand next weekend with a Friday-Saturday series against the Tri-City Storm. Faceoff is set for 7:15 pm on Friday night.
Muskegon goals: A. Del Gaizo (2,3), Phillips (2), Pekar (1), Crowder (1)
Muskegon assists: A. Del Gaizo (3), Colby Bukes (1,2), Nienhuis (1), Blake Evennou (2), Emilio Pettersen (2), Kondelik (2)