MUSKEGON, MI- A sellout crowd of 4,035 witnessed a back-and-forth game between the Muskegon Lumberjacks and the rival Youngstown Phantoms at LC Walker Arena Saturday. Vincent de Mey scored with 2:38 to play in regulation, but Muskegon fell in overtime to the Phantoms, 4-3.
The first sellout at L.C. Walker Arena since 2002 witnessed military appreciation night as the Jacks skated in their special military night jerseys as a salute to our nation's military servicemen and women on Veterans Day.
After a first period in which the Lumberjacks looked sluggish and generated few chances, Muskegon trailed 1-0 on Curtis Hall’s 5-on-3 goal.
However, the Jacks stormed back in the second period. Bobby Kaiser put Muskegon on the board early in the second as he received a pass from Corey Clifton, who made his USHL debut tonight, in the high slot and sent a rocket of a shot into the top-shelf over Phantom reminder Ivan Prosvetov.
Muskegon would strike less than two minutes later on the Belle Tire power play when Emilio Pettersen netted his first goal as a Lumberjack to put the home team up 2-1 and the sellout crowd into a frenzy. Pettersen’s power-play goal marked the fifth consecutive game that the Lumberjacks have scored on the power play.
Muskegon held that 2-1 lead going into the third period but could not extend the lead on a early power play. Just as that man-advantage was ending the Phantoms counter-attacked and Youngstown defenseman Steve Holtz was able to tie the game nine minutes into the third period.
Not 90 seconds later the Phantoms would strike again as Max Ellis took a shot from the far right goal line that was initially saved by goalie Adam Brizgala, but produced a rebound. The loose puck was then tapped in by Chase Gresock, who tucked it in short-side under Brizgala.
Gresock’s third goal of the season gave Youngstown a 3-2 lead with less than ten minutes remaining.
Muskegon would find redemption when Vincent de Mey struck late. The Northern Michigan commit streaked in along the left side, fighting off a Youngstown defensmen. On his backhand de Mey roofed a shot over the blocker of Prosvetov to tie the game with 2:48 left in regulation.
With the score tied at the end of 60 minutes, Muskegon and Youngstown embarked on a five-minute three-on-three overtime to decide a winner.
Muskegon did well most of the overtime session, controlling the puck and dictating the play. However, when Youngstown got set up in the offensive zone they made no mistake.
A centering pass by Phantom forward Curtis Hall was deflected on its way to the goal by defenseman Zach Metsa, past Brizgala and into the back of the net.
Metsa’s first goal of the season lifted the Phantoms past Muskegon 4-3, giving them both points in the standings and improving their record to 4-4-3. Muskegon falls to 4-5-2 on the year and 2-1-1 against Youngstown this season.
Muskegon outshot Youngstown 34-31, the sixth consecutive game that they have outshot their opponent.
The Lumberjacks will look to avenge their loos when they play the Phantoms again on Saturday afternoon. Faceoff is set of 3:15 pm. The first 500 kids through the door will receive a free lunch voucher good for one hot dog and soft drink.
Muskegon goals: Kaiser (1), Pettersen (1), de Mey (3)
Muskegon assists: Clifton (1), Wyatt Bongiovanni (2,3), Blake Evennou (4)