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Lumberjacks outlasted by Waterloo in seesaw affair

By Scott Bradford, 12/01/17, 10:15PM EST

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MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks erased a 3-1 deficit, taking a 4-3 lead in the third, but two late goals scored by the Waterloo Black Hawks lifted the visitors to a 5-4 win Friday night at LC Walker Arena.

After falling behind 3-1 with 10:30 to play in the second period, the Lumberjacks rallied to score three straight, taking the 4-3 lead with 13:32 to play in the third.

Goals from Monte Graham and Egor Afanasyev in the second would tie it after two periods. Graham tallied on a deflected Marc Del Gaizo shot, while Afanasyev jammed a rebound past Waterloo goalie Jared Moe.

Moe came into the game with the USHL’s best goals against average and save percentage, and while he escaped with his seventh win of the season, the Jacks were able to score four times on the American netminder, who has only allowed more than two goals on one other occasion.

On Afanasyev’s goal, Benito Posa grabbed an assist, his first point in the USHL. The 18-year-old from Grand Blanc, MI, made his USHL debut tonight.

Halfway through the third, Wyatt Bongiovanni lit the lamp for the 6th time in eight games, giving Muskegon a 4-3 lead. Emilio Pettersen made a fine play to dig the puck out from behind the Waterloo net and slide it to Bongiovanni, who buried from the slot.

From there, Waterloo took control, scoring at the 5:30 mark to tie the game at four. Muskegon goaltender Keegan Karki made 36 saves, but fell to 1-4-0.

Anthony Del Gaizo was handed a critical major penalty with 3:29 to play, and on the ensuing five-minute power play, the Black Hawks cashed in. Matej Blumel gave the Hawks the win, banging a nifty feed from Garrett Klee past a sliding Karki on a 2-on-1 netfront.

Matej Pekar and Marc Del Gaizo each recorded multi-point nights, grabbing two assists each. Pekar leads the team with 15 points on the season.

Muskegon will be back on the ice tomorrow, facing the Central Illinois Flying Aces at 7:15pm at LC Walker Arena. Check out MuskegonLumberjacks.com for money-saving holiday ticket packages.

Muskegon goals: Bray Crowder (3), Graham (4), Afanasyev (2), Bongiovanni (7)

Muskegon assists: Matej Pekar (11,12), M. Del Gaizo (6,7), Bobby Kaiser (3), Posa (1), Pettersen (8)