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Gaffney nets hat trick as Lumberjacks top Cedar Rapids with big offensive night

By LocalSportsJournal.com, 01/04/20, 11:15PM EST

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Goalie Jacks Williams makes 33 saves in win

LocalSportsJournal.com

The Muskegon Lumberjacks got their first win in 2020 with an offensive explosion against Cedar Rapids on Saturday night.

The Lumberjacks bounced back from Friday night’s overtime loss with an 8-4 victory over the RoughRiders at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Iowa.

Muskegon is now 12-14-3 on the season, good for 27 points and sixth place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference.

The Lumberjacks will continue their five-game road trip on Thursday against the Green Bay Gamblers. Faceoff is slated for 8:05 p.m.

“This was a good game all the way around,” said Lumberjacks coach Mike Hamilton. “The good offense started with good defense that led to break outs.”

Alex Gaffney lead the Lumberjacks with a three-goal hat trick, while Cameron Berg added two tallies along with an assist.

Rhett Pitlick, Dylan Wendt and Christophe Fillion each chipped in with two assists for Muskegon.

“We had a handful of guys get involved today and a couple of players score their first goals,” said Hamilton. “I’m glad to see the guys responded tonight and it was a huge weekend for us. I think we took a step in the right direction.”

The Lumberjacks opened the scoring 7:26 into the opening period on Jan Lasak’s first goal of the season.

Muskegon increased its advantage 2-0 with Gaffney’s first goal of the game 10:11 into the first period.

Gaffney added his second goal of the contest 17:08 into the first period to give the Lumberjacks a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Muskegon outshot the RoughRiders by a 17-10 margin during the first period.

The RoughRiders cut their deficit to 3-1 at the 30-second mark of the second period on a goal from Bennett Zmolek.

The Lumberjacks responded with a goal from Cameron Berg 4:53 into the second period and Tyler Dunbar at the 6:26 mark of the middle stanza to give Muskegon a 5-1 lead.

Cedar Rapids cut the deficit to 5-2 with a goal from Jack O’Leary, 14:42 into the second period.

Muskegon led 5-2 heading into the final period with a 30-27 advantage in shots on goal.

Berg added his second goal of the game 13 seconds into the third period to increase the Lumberjacks lead, then Gaffney completed his three-goal hat trick at the 1:11 mark of the final stanza, giving the Lumberjacks a lopsided 7-2 lead.

The Lumberjacks increased their lead to 8-2 on a goal from AJ Hodges 9:10 into the third period.

Cedar Rapids then closed out the scoring with goals from Nate Hanley (12:30) and Nikolai Mayorov (17:58).

The Lumberjacks outshot Cedar Rapids by a 40-37 margin throughout the contest.

Jack Williams picked up the win in net for Muskegon, stopping 33 of 37 shots.