MUSKEGON, MI- Lumberjacks captain Bo Hanson played in his franchise record-tying 156th game, but Madison spoiled his night, winning 6-4 in front of 2,693 Saturday night.
Hanson is now tied with Mason Jobst for the most games played in Lumberjacks USHL franchise history. He recorded an assist in the game, and hopes to break the record on Friday in Youngstown.
Jachym Kondelik recorded a two-goal night for Muskegon, the first multi-goal game of his USHL career.
Muskegon got on the board first, but Madison answered in the same frame to tie the score after one.
In the second, Madison extended the lead to 3-1 on two consecutive goals. Kondelik scored his first of the night to get the Jacks back within one, but Vincent de Mey tallied his seventh of the year to close out the scoring in the second, making it 4-2.
In the third, Madison’s Mick Messner opened the scoring after Ryan Baderka’s shot deflected to him on the back door. It was Messner’s 11th goal of the year; Baderka had two assists.
Kondelik would again give Muskegon life, scoring for the second time on a rebound. With the score 5-3 and still 10:05 to play, getting another goal would bring Muskegon back into it.
Keeghan Howdeshell attempted to fire his team up, dropping the gloves with Austin Redders with 8:03 to play, but instead the Jacks surrendered the next goal to Anthony Callin, who was sprung on a partial breakaway by Baderka.
Jack McNeely would score with 4:35 left, and Andrei Svechnikov was credited with an assist for the fifth-straight game. However, the Jacks couldn’t get anything going with goaltender Keith Petruzzelli on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, and 6-4 was the final.
Petruzzelli, who scored a goal in Friday’s 4-1 win, made 26 saves and was charged with the loss, falling to 16-9-0.
Daniel Lebedeff was in net for the Capitols, and improved to 3-12-1 with his 34-save performance.
The Jacks hit the road next weekend for a pair against Youngstown. Both games begin at 7:00pm and will be aired live on 92.5 Nash Icon.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2017-18 season! Get FREE 2017 playoff tickets if you put $100 down by March 31st.
Muskegon goals: Casey Gilling (11), Jachym Kondelik (5,6), McNeely (2)
Muskegon assists: Howdeshell (10), McNeely (7), Will Smith (6), Koby Bender (12), Hanson (27), Svechnikov (23)
MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks never trailed at LC Walker Arena Friday night, and got a goal from netminder Keith Petruzzelli in the final minute, topping the Madison Capitols 4-1.
Petruzzelli’s goal was the first scored by a USHL goaltender this season, and the first of Petruzzelli’s career at any level. Petruzzelli also made 23 saves, and won his third consecutive game. Petruzzelli leads all rookie goaltenders with 16 victories this season.
Mikael Hakkarainen got Muskegon on the board in the first period, walking the puck over the blue line on the right side, and blasting a wrist shot past the glove of Dryden McKay, off the inside of the post, and into the net. Hakkarainen now has scored four goals in his last ten games after scoring just one in his first 30.
The Jacks extended the lead to 2-0 on a Matt Steeves power play goal in the second, but Madison answered with a goal of their own, a Verners Egle snipe, to make it 2-1 heading into the third.
Early on, Andrei Svechnikov set up Garrett Van Wyhe on the doorstep, and Van Wyhe one-timed it past McKay to make it 3-1 just 1:27 into the third. Van Wyhe has flourished offensively since joining the top line, and has goals in three straight games.
That score would hold up thanks to good penalty killing displayed by the Lumberjacks, who avoided being scored upon on a 6-on-4 situation late in the game.
With less than a minute to play, Petruzzelli caught a dump-in, set it down to the ice, and vaulted a shot toward the empty net. It outraced the Madison defense and trickled over the goal line with :25 seconds left to make the final 4-1.
Petruzzelli improved to 16-8-0, while McKay fell to 16-12-1.
Combined with a Green Bay loss, the win cuts the Jacks’ magic number down to 19 with 14 games to go. The two teams rematch at LC Walker Arena at 7:15pm tomorrow night.
Muskegon goals: Hakkarainen (5), Steeves (12), Van Wyhe (7), Petruzzelli (1)
Muskegon assists: Colby Bukes (4), Bo Hanson (26), Casey Gilling (12), Collin Adams (24), Svechnikov (22)
MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks emerged from last weekend’s gauntlet with five crucial points, drawing into a tie for second, and putting themselves in strong position entering the season’s final quarter.
With only 15 games remaining in the regular season, every point is critical in a tight Eastern Conference playoff race.
Here’s where things stand right now: Muskegon owns third place, four points behind Chicago, tied with Dubuque (who has a game in hand on the Jacks), one point ahead of Youngstown, and eight points clear of fifth-place Green Bay.
The Lumberjacks are assuredly looking up in the standings, trying to chase down Chicago and claim the top spot in the East, but the eight-point lead they have on the Gamblers may be a more important number.
Getting in is the key. Once a ticket has been punched to the Clark Cup Playoffs, anything can happen.
The eight-point lead, combined with the fact that GB has played 45 games, means that the Jacks’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 23. We’ll keep an eye on that magic number, but the smaller it gets, the better. Once the number hits zero, the Jacks have clinched a playoff berth. Each point the Jacks get will cut into that total, and each point Green Bay doesn’t get will also cut into it.
Muskegon can get that number down to 19 this weekend regardless of what the Gamblers do in their home-and-home against Chicago. Playing host to the 7th-place Madison Capitols offers the Jacks a great opportunity to whittle their magic number down as well as move up the standings.
Madison decided to sell at the draft-pick deadline, moving Easton Brodzinski to Green Bay in exchange for prospect Christian Berger and a 6th-round pick.
Since the deal, Madison is 3-2-0, and has beaten Dubuque twice in that span, proving that they won’t give in despite losing their leading goal scorer.
Madison has relied on playmakers up front and a two-time USHL goaltender of the week in Dryden McKay. Forward Mick Messner also earned player of the week honors two weeks ago, and since the trade of Brodzinski, Messner has scored 3 goals and added two assists.
Muskegon also made moves back in early February, but bought instead of selling, bringing in forward Austin Alger. Alger has made an immediate impact in his first five games as a Lumberjack, registering a goal and four assists. Alger was touted as a point-per game player, and through five games, that’s exactly what he’s been.
Alger has played alongside Andrei Svechnikov, who has benefitted from Alger’s presence. Svechnikov has three multi-point games in his last five, and has scored three goals and seven points in that span. Svechnikov now ranks in the top five in the league in goals (4th), points (5th) and points per game (2nd).
Looking at the Jacks’ remaining schedule, nine of their remaining 15 games will be played against teams not currently in a playoff spot. Eight of the 15 will be played at home.
The schedule isn’t a gauntlet, and the Lumberjacks have proven themselves against every Eastern Conference playoff team. They’ve faced Chicago, Dubuque, and Youngstown a combined 15 times, and have an 8-4-3 record in those games.
This weekend’s games both begin at 7:15pm at LC Walker Arena.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2017-18 season, and fans who purchase season seats for next season before March 31st will save money and get FREE tickets for every Jacks home playoff game this season. Call the Lumberjacks at 231-724-5225 today for more information.