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Oliver MacDonald

Lumberjacks explode for eight goals to earn first win of 2019-20

By Scott Brandenburg, 10/11/19, 10:15PM EDT

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Oliver MacDonald's first-period hat trick keys 8-1 Muskegon win over Team USA U17

PLYMOUTH, MI - The Muskegon Lumberjacks looked like an offensive juggernaut Friday.

The 8-1 Lumberjack win over the Team USA U17s in Game No. 5 comes on the heels of scoring just seven goals total in their first four games, all losses.

After not being able to buy a goal in their first four games, Muskegon exploded for four goals in the first period alone Friday, including three from Oliver MacDonald.

"I think the guys were finally rewarded for their efforts," Muskegon coach Mike Hamilton said. "We've been doing the right things for a couple of weeks, and they finally got rewarded. It was fun to see them continue to work hard and start putting some goal into the back of the net."

MacDonald scored just 50 seconds into the game, and added markers at 12:14 and 18:13 after Danil Gushchin scored near the midway point of the opening 20 minutes.

Gushchin wound up with a goal and three assists and linemate Christophe Fillion added two assists to key Muskegon.

"You're not going to find a guy that works harder than Oli," Hamilton said. "He put himself in a good position and he was the beneficiary of a couple of great plays by his line mates. He'll be the first to tell you that. That line was really clicking tonight."

The Lumberjacks led 4-0 after one period and 6-0 late in the second period before the NTDP could get on the board.

Fittingly, it was MacDonald who capped the scoring on the game early in the third period for a four-goal game.

John Prokop and Alex Gaffney scored their first goals of the season. Tanner Edwards was credited with a goal and two assists.

Ty Gallagher scored Team USA's lone goal at 18:38 of the second period.

Muskegon outshot the hosts 44-42. Lumberjacks goalie Noah Giesbrecht made 41 saves to earn his first win with the team. Hamilton said he had a "phenomenal" game.

The Lumberjacks improve to 1-4 for their 5-game road trek to start the season. They open the home portion of their regular season Saturday at L.C. Walker Arena at 7 p.m. against this same Team USA U17 squad.

"I can see our team getting better on a daily basis," Hamilton said. "Every day they're figuring out what we're asking of them. Wins and individual successes will come if they keep going the way they're going.

"The guys are excited to be home. We only have five returners (from last season's team), so for the majority of the team this will be their first game at home. Hopefully we have a nice crowd and it is a nice experience."

To view the complete USHL standings, click here.

Don't forget to order your tickets for the Lumberjack home opener on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:05 p.m. You can order online through muskegonlumberjacks.com, in person at the L.C. Walker Arena Team Store or by phone through 231-726-2400.

For season or group ticket packages, call 231-799-7000.