MUSKEGON, MI- Hank Kempf scored the game-winner in overtime to give Muskegon all six possible points in their three-in-three weekend. This was Kempf’s third, and arguably biggest, goal of the season, and his second since returning from injury.
The first period was controlled late by Muskegon in terms of offense, outshooting the U17s 11-6.
The first great Jacks’ chance came when Jack Williams got a penalty shot, but he was unable to convert. Despite the shots, it would be the NTDP striking first at 8:18, taking the early lead on a snipe from Cruz Lucius.
After this slight setback, the Muskegon offense put their foot on the gas. Within three minutes of the USA goal, Tanner Kelly received a beautiful pass during an odd man rush from Alex Gagne, tying the game at 11:30.
The shots kept coming, and on yet another two-on-one, Cristophe Tellier fed Cam Berg a one-timer. Berg gave Muskegon their first lead of the night at 15:01, 2-1. This was Berg’s 40th point of the season.
The second period started out back and forth with Muskegon gaining a power play after Brad Marek was struck by a high stick. Just seconds after the first high sticking penalty expired, Marek took a second stick to the face, resulting in a double minor penalty. Marek was cut on the play and had to go to the locker room for repairs. He would return in the third period, albeit with a bubble instead of a visor.
Despite the double power play for Muskegon, the Americans scored shorthanded at 10:31 courtesy of Issac Howard, tying the game 2-2.
The injury bug did not stop with Marek, as at 13:46 goalie Jan Skorpik doubled over in agony, and left the game with a lower-body injury. Muskegon turned up the heat on the U17s, culminating in shot off the post by Philip Tresca late in the game. Unfortunately, the score remained tied after two periods.
Team USA and the Lumberjacks traded quality chances to begin the final frame. The balance shifted slowly to Muskegon as the shot quantity and quality began to rise. Muskegon’s power play created some incredible opportunities, but the Lumberjacks could not convert. The majority of the period continued to be a goaltender’s duel with Nate Redi filling in for the injured Skorpik in exceptional fashion. USA goalie Tyler Muszelik was outstanding as well, finishing with 28 saves on 31 shots.
The Lumberjacks took a penalty with just 1:41 to play, but the PK came up big to force overtime.
In overtime, Muskegon killed the remaining 19 seconds of the carryover penalty time, and the four on four turned into three on three. After a heavy hit in the Jacks’ defensive end, a two-on-one made the difference for Muskegon as Kempf put home the one-timer from Cam Berg at 4:31, securing the extra point for Muskegon.
Reid earned his third win in as many days for Muskegon, stopping all 21 saves he saw in relief of Skorpik.
Muskegon plays next on February 26th in Youngstown at 7:05 PM EST to start a two game series.
Muskegon Goals: Kelly (14), Berg (19), Kempf (3)