The Muskegon Lumberjacks ended their short road trip with a tough 6-1 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers on Saturday night from the Buccaneer Arena in Iowa.
The Lumberjacks are now 16-16-4 on the season, good for 36 points in a very tight Eastern Conference race.
Alex Gaffney scored the lone goal for Muskegon. The forward found the back of the net in the second period when the Jacks were trailing 2-0.
Muskegon will look to bounce back at home next Friday and Saturday night against the Lincoln Stars from the Mercy Health Arena. Faceoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. for both games.
The Lumberjacks struggled with special teams, allowing five power play goals on six short handed situations and going 0-for-3 on their power play.
“We didn’t kill off any penalties which was disappointing tonight,” said Lumberjacks coach Mike Hamilton. “We have to be a little more discipline because we played better tonight when we were 5-on-5. The guys played hard and we have time to make adjustments, especially with our special teams.”
The Buccaneers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals from Timothy Lovell (6:28) and Matt Choupani (18:32).
The Lumberjacks, who recorded 22 shots on the goal during the middle period, cut the deficit to 2-1 at the 7:42 mark of the second stanza on a goal from Gaffney.
Des Moines responded with goals from Harrison Roy and Alex Laferriere late in the second period to give the Buccaneers a 4-1 advantage heading into the final period.
The Buccaneers increased their lead to 5-1 on Laferriere’s second goal of the goal 51 seconds into the third period, then closed out the scoring 11:10 into the stanza on a tally from Connor Senken.
The Lumberjacks outshot Des Moines by a 47-28 margin.
Eric Green suffered the loss in net for Muskegon, stopping 22-of-28 shots, while Buccaneer goalkeeper Cameron Rowe stopped 46 Lumberjack shots.
Muskegon returns to the ice on Friday, January 31 when it hosts the Lincoln Stars for a 7:05 PM puck drop.