MUSKEGON MI– Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Bradley Marek tied the game with less than a minute to go in regulation and went on to win the game with less than a minute to play in overtime, propelling the Jacks to a 5-4 win over the Chicago Steel.
Marek’s two goals are his first as a Lumberjack- in his first week in a Muskegon sweater, Marek notched three points, including two massive goals for the Jacks on Saturday.
Muskegon wins for the first time at home, and snaps Chicago’s eight-game win streak in the process.
The first period leveled things for both teams through nearly the first half, until Cristophe Tellier drew first blood for Muskegon. The later part of the period would again be even, but before long, Chicago would strike back to tie the game at one.
The first would come to a fiery conclusion. Shortly after the Chicago goal, a fight would break out between John Druskinis of Muskegon and Erik Middendorf of Chicago. Druskinis landed a flurry of right hands before taking Middendorf to the ice, energizing the Muskegon bench.
The second would be an interesting affair, where Muskegon led in shots 10-7, but trailed in goals. Chicago would get on the board midway through the frame, taking the 2-1 lead. But, the pendulum of momentum would continue to swing back and forth; less than two minutes later, Dylan Wendt put one home to tie the game. However, Chicago would respond with a late goal to give them the 3-2 lead going into the third.
The third period would be the inverse of the second, with Muskegon securing the scores while Chicago fired more shots. Thomas Sinclair would score his first-career USHL goal early in the third to tie the game at three.
The majority of the third featured great scoring chances for Chicago, and the Steel finally put one in just prior to three minutes remaining in regulation. Just as all hope seemed lost, Marek would score his first goal as a Lumberjack, a six-on-four tally that sent the game to overtime.
Overtime was a rollercoaster of emotions and chances. Despite Chicago having some outstanding opportunities to end the game, the hero from the third would return, as Marek would put it below the blocker of goaltender Ian Shane on a breakaway, giving Muskegon the extra point.
Jan Skorpik put on a show in net, stopping 22 of 26, including three clutch saves in overtime.
Muskegon has the week off and then plays a two game series at home against Dubuque on December 29 and January 30 with both games starting at 7pm EST
Muskegon goals: Tellier (5), Wendt (3), Sinclair (1), Marek (3,4)
Muskegon assists: Pennington (7,8,9), Gushchin (10), Strinden (5), Berg (6,7)