The Muskegon Lumberjacks need to finish off the regular season strong if they want to qualify for the Clark Cup playoffs next month.
Good goaltending will be a key part of that effort. They certainly received that on Friday night, when Jack Williams stopped 38 of 39 shots to lead Muskegon to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Storm at the Viaero Center in Kearney, Nebraska.
Muskegon is now 21-22-5 on the season, good for 47 points and fifth place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference. The top six teams in the conference make the playoffs, and there are 14 regular season games remaining.
“Jack was really good today,” said Lumberjacks coach Mike Hamilton about his starting goaltender. “We started off slow and he weathered to storm and allowed us to get the first goal of the game. It is nice to be able to go on the road and get some important points.”
The Lumberjacks found a way to win the game despite being outshot 39-18.
“At the end of the day we made the shots that we took count,” Hamilton said.
The Lumberjacks opened the scoring 13:31 into the first period with a goal from Alex Konovalov.
They increased their lead to 2-0 on a goal by Cameron Berg 14:28 into the second period. Muskegon’s Tanner Edwards added a goal about three minutes later.
The Storm finally ended Williams’ shutout bid 5:45 into the third period on a goal by Carter Mazur.
The Lumberjacks’ Christophe Fillion closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at the 18:46 mark of the third period.
The Lumberjacks were 1-for-4 on the power play, but killed all three of Tri-City’s power play opportunities.
Rhett Pitlick, Alex Gaffney, Dylan Wendt, Berg and Edwards each collected assists for Muskegon.