BLOOMINGTON, ILL – The Muskegon Lumberjacks are probably thinking “There’s no place like home” after a 1-3 road trek spanning two weekends.
Muskegon limps home after going 0-2, albeit with one OT loss, this weekend after getting blitzed by Central Illinois 4-0 Saturday.
The Lumberjacks have been so good on the road all season, but the miles may have caught up with them this weekend.
First, Muskegon lost a lead in the third period and eventually fell at Dubuque Friday. Then Central Illinois, a team Muskegon has owned all season, shocked Muskegon with a goal 16 seconds into the game and another quick goal at 3:07 of the first on its way to a shutout win over the top team in the East.
The Lumberjacks will finally return to L.C. Walker Arena next weekend with a pair of games against Des Moines.
Muskegon was put on its heels almost immediately by the Flying Aces, who needed just 3:07 to take a 2-0 lead.
Joseph Dunlap scored his tenth and 11th goals of the season in a hurry. His first was a deflection past starting goalie Ryan McInchak. His second was a nice shot past McInchak’s blocker after a Muskegon giveaway.
Things stayed relatively quiet for the next 10 minutes, but Tyler Gratton connected for the hosts for their third goal in seven shots on goal to chase McInchak.
Bussi replaced McInchak and stopped 14 of 15 shots. He allowed a Ryan Siedem goal 2:28 into the second period.
The Lumberjacks outshot the Flying Aces 14-2 in the final period and 37-22 in an effort to mount a comeback, but couldn’t dent Mitchell Gibson, who stopped all 37 shots he faced.
The teams combined to go 0-for-9 on the power play, with the Lumberjack 0-for-5.
Muskegon is now 5-1 against the Flying Aces. It had beat the Flying Aces 5-1 at Grossinger Motors Arena in the most recent meeting on February 21.
The Flying Aces came into the game with a bit of desperation, as they are fighting for the final playoff spot in the East. Right now they’re on the outside looking in but not too far behind Team USA and Dubuque.
The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, saw their lead in the East shrink, as the Steel gained one point with their OT loss to Team USA.
For the complete USHL standings, click here.