MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks will hit the road this weekend, taking on their rival, the Youngstown Phantoms, in a two-game set.
Muskegon, currently 2-2-0 through four games this season, has scored a blistering 6.25 goals per game, but has struggled on the defensive end, allowing 6.50 goals per game.
“This week in practice, there was a focus on stronger decision making when it comes to puck management,” said Assistant Coach Josh Nelson. “We need to play better team defense in all three zones, both forwards and defensemen. At the end of the day, we are a unit of five out there on the ice, and we need all five players working together.”
It will be Muskegon’s first meeting of the regular season against Youngstown, who sit at 1-2-0 through three games. The Phantoms and Jacks met twice in the preseason, with each team winning one of the two.
Muskegon’s offensive charge has been led by two likely suspects in Cameron Berg and Danil Gushchin, who have each tallied five goals and four assists in just four contests. Among players who have played four or more games, only USHL leading scorer Matt Coronato has scored more points per game.
Little can be guaranteed when these two rivals face one another, but so far this season, you can bank on excitement whenever the Jacks take the ice. In addition to scoring and allowing 6+ goals per game, Muskegon also leads the league in shots on goal per game (36.50). Youngstown hasn’t done exceptionally well at limiting opposing teams’ offenses, either. The Phantoms have allowed 12 goals in three games thus far, and given up more than 32 shots per game.
It’s still very early in an already crazy 2020-2021 season, but Muskegon has proven that they can win even the highest-scoring shootout. However, the defense and penalty kill will have to improve if the Jacks want to come back home with a pair of wins.
Both Friday and Saturday’s games at the Covelli Centre begin at 7:05pm and will be aired on HockeyTV.com