Fifteen minutes into the game, it looked like the Muskegon Lumberjacks were on their way to snapping out of their recent funk.
But the Omaha Lancers had other ideas, scoring five unanswered goals to come away with a 5-2 victory over the Lumberjacks on Saturday at the Ralston Arena in Ralston, Nebraska.
The Lumberjacks have now lost three straight games and are at the .500 mark with an 8-8-1 record, good for 17 points and seventh place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference.
Muskegon will look to get back to its winning ways on Wednesday when it hosts Team USA’s Under-17 squad. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 p.m. at L.C Walker Arena.
Despite the loss, Lumberjacks coach Mike Hamilton was impressed on how hard the team played in the finale of the two-game series.
“The guys played hard for a full 60 minutes, but unfortunately there is no such thing as a good loss,” Hamilton said. “We have a tough stretch ahead, so it doesn’t get easier, but we must right the ship.”
AJ Hodges opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the season 3:45 into the first period to give Muskegon a 1-0 lead. The goal, scored on a power play, was assisted by Dylan Wendt and Alex Gaffney.
The Lumberjacks increased their lead to 2-0 with Christophe Fillion’s fifth goal of the season at the 15:08 mark of the first period. Tanner Edwards assisted on the tally.
The Lancers responded with a goal from Ryan Lautenbach 19:13 into the first period, and the Lumberjacks led 2-1 at the first break.
The Lancers had a strong second period for the second straight night, outscoring Muskegon 2-0 on goals from Logan Will (1:22) and Christian Berger (13:31). Omaha led a 3-2 after two periods.
Omaha maintained the momentum down the stretch with goals from Ross Mitton at the 5:26 mark of the third period and Grant Anderson at 13:51.
The Lancers outshot Muskegon 37-22.
Omaha goaltender Jakub Dobes stopped all 16 shots faced in relief of starting goalkeeper Kyle McClellan, who made four saves on six shots.
Noah Giesbrecht suffered the loss in net for the Lumberjacks, stopping 32 of 37 shots.
Muskegon was 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Lancers were 1-for-3 with a man advantage.