MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks scored twice in the third, but couldn’t overcome a 4-0 deficit, falling 5-2 to the Fargo Force on Saturday.
On Jacks Fight Cancer Night, a crowd of 3,201 was energized when Colby Bukes scored the Jacks’ first goal of the night to make the score 4-1 midway through the third. Bukes was playing in honor of his mom Debbie, who has been battling cancer for the better part of the last six years.
Debbie was able to fly in from Colorado for the special event, and got to see her youngest son score his fourth goal of the season.
Bo Hanson would add another goal with 5:43 to play in the third, and the Force lead had been cut to 4-2. However, Hanson then took a costly minor penalty that stalled the Muskegon rally, and they eventually fell short.
Kevin O’Neil potted an empty netter, his second goal of the night, to make the final score 5-2.
Matt Murray made 33 saves in net, and earned his 27th victory of the season. He is the first goaltender in Fargo Force history to win 27 games in a single season.
Jack Adams continued his excellent season, scoring his 32nd goal of the year and 13th on the power play. Both of those marks lead the league.
The Force power play struck three times on the night, helping them build a 4-0 lead that was too much for Muskegon to equal. After the Jacks had killed off 47 of 48 penalties, they coughed up four goals to the Fargo 5-on-4 attack this weekend.
At the postgame jersey auction, Muskegon was able to raised hundreds of dollars (exact amount still being calculated), as Andrei Svechnikov’s jersey alone went for more than $2,000. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Johnson Family Cancer Center.
Additionally, the Tempting Tables organization donated $1,000 to Debbie Bukes directly.
The Jacks continue their final regular-season homestand next weekend, with a pair of games against the Bloomington Thunder and Team USA. Saturday’s game is fan appreciation night, and tons of giveaways will take place. Follow the Jacks on social media @MuskegonJacks to get more information on the giveaways!
Muskegon goals: Bukes (4), Hanson (6)
Muskegon assists: Austin Albrecht (34), Austin Alger (26)
MUSKEGON, MI- The Fargo Force scored three times late, but ran out of time at LC Walker Arena Friday night against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
The Lumberjacks got two goals from Andrei Svechnikov and built a 4-0 lead on his second goal of the night, an early third period tally. However, Fargo stormed back late, scoring three goals in the game’s last 5:14 to make the final 4-3.
Keith Petruzzelli made 42 saves and earned his 20th win of the season, becoming the fourth Lumberjack in franchise history to win 20 games in a year.
Svechnikov’s two goals give him 28 on the year, and his 56 points rank second in the USHL, two behind league-leading Zach Solow.
Bo Hanson got the scoring started early in the first period, netting a backdoor tap-in 2:48 into the game. Keeghan Howdeshell set up the goal and Collin Adams got a secondary assist on the play.
In the second, Muskegon added goals from Svechnikov and Anthony Del Gaizo to make the score 3-0 after two periods. It was Del Gaizo’s first goal in 14 games, and eighth of the season.
Svechnikov made it 4-0 early in the third with a pretty goal. Picking up a puck in the corner, Svechnikov powered his way between two defenders right to the front of the net. He handled through the crease and beat goaltender Ryan Bischel to the far blocker side.
Bischel, who entered the game in a relief appearance, is charged with the tough-luck loss after his team rallied back to make the only one allowed by Bischel the game-winner.
Fargo charged back into the game in the late stages, getting goals from Jack Adams, Blake Lizotte, and Hank Crone all with less than six minutes to play. Lizotte got the Force on the board with 5:14 left, and Crone made it a one-shot game with 1:33 to play.
Petruzzelli and the Jacks fended off the rest of the Fargo onslaught, and the American netminder is now 20-10-0 on the season. Petruzzelli’s 42 saves were a career high, and the 24 shots he saw in the third were the second-most seen by a goaltender in any period this season.
The Jacks have now won three straight and six of their last seven, and their magic number shrinks to just three.
Austin Alger racked up two assists, and now has 41 points on the year. Since being acquired by Muskegon, he’s notched 17 points in 15 games. He, along with Svechnikov, has recorded three-straight multi-point games.
Muskegon and Fargo rematch tomorrow night for Jacks Fight Cancer night at LC Walker Arena. Puck drop is at 7:15pm, and the game will be followed by a postgame jersey auction.
Muskegon goals: Svechnikov (27,28), A. Del Gaizo (8), Hanson (5)
Muskegon assists: Alger (24,25), Howdeshell (12,13), Adams (26,27), Matt Steeves (13), Jack McNeely (10)
MUSKEGON, MI- With six games remaining in the regular season, the Muskegon Lumberjacks have put themselves in good position. They control their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs, and if they can hold off third-place Dubuque, Muskegon can take home-ice advantage in the first round of the Clark Cup Playoffs.
Four of the Jacks’ final six are at home, including this weekend’s pair against the Fargo Force. Fargo is battling for their playoff lives, currently sitting fourth place in the West.
Nothing will come easily for Muskegon down the stretch, and it begins with a hungry Fargo team this weekend. Aiming to clinch a playoff spot, the Force will bring the USHL’s top-scoring trio to LC Walker Arena. Blake Lizotte, Hank Crone, and Jack Adams have combined for a whopping 156 points, and Adams leads the league with 30 goals.
Muskegon will have the luxury of hosting the potent Force lineup, and the Jacks have a tidy 17-6-2-1 record at LC Walker Arena. However, Fargo has been among the league’s best road teams, checking in a 16-7-3-0 away from their home ice.
The Jacks have a top line that can go toe-to-toe with Fargo’s electric trio in Austin Albrecht, Austin Alger and Andrei Svechnikov. The “A” line combined to score 16 points in last weekend’s sweep over Tri-City. Svechnikov is now tied with Lizotte for second in the league scoring race. He has 54 points, and sits three behind league leading Zach Solow.
In looking at the numbers, Fargo looks to be a tougher matchup than their fourth-place standing suggests. The Force rank in the top five in the league in goals per game, goals allowed per game, shots per game, shots allowed per game, power play, and penalty kill.
Muskegon is the hotter of the two teams, as they’ve won five of their last six, including a franchise record nine-goal output in last Friday’s 9-1 win over Tri-City. Muskegon has 33 wins this season, just two shy of the franchise-best 35 wins they racked up back in 2014-15.
Again, this weekend Muskegon has a chance to officially clinch a bid to the postseason. Their magic number has been trimmed down to five points, meaning a pair of victories over Fargo combined with any Green Bay loss will seal a playoff berth.
Clark Cup Playoff tickets are now on sale as a result. Call 231-724-5225 for more information!
Saturday’s game will be a special one for the Muskegon community: LC Walker Arena will host its annual Jacks Fight Cancer night. There will be a postgame jersey auction to benefit the Johnson Family Cancer Center; come bid on your favorite player’s jersey!
Both Friday and Saturday night’s games begin at 7:15pm, with doors opening at 6:15pm.