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Muskegon Squeaks Past Youngstown in Shoot-out Victory

By Frank Zawrazky, 02/27/21, 10:15PM EST

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Youngstown OH – Muskegon came from behind to defeat the Youngstown Phantoms Saturday night in a shootout. This victory puts Muskegon five points behind Chicago’s first place lead of 50 points in the Eastern Conference.

The Phantoms started out strong offensively, peppering Nate Reid with shots early. This paid off for Youngstown’s Gerogii Merkulov, who scored at 4:39 after Reid had sprawled to one side, giving the Phantoms the 1-0 lead. The Lumberjacks started out slow, getting their first shot after the halfway point of the first period but steadily gained momentum afterwards and had some quality cycle chances. 

Late in the frame, Quinn Hutson received a tripping minor, which was successfully killed off to end the first period. The shots after the first were 8-7 Youngstown.

The second period was back and forth hockey, with both teams getting quality opportunities in their respective offensive zones. The first power play chance for Muskegon unfortunately did not yield an equalizer, despite a couple great point blasts.  Muskegon’s second man advantage of the middle period caused some net front scrums, but Youngstown’s net minder Colin Purcell smothered any chances the Lumberjacks had.

Despite the lack of power play goals, Muskegon ratcheted up the pressure on the Phantoms with several fast breaks, but Purcell continued to be lights out for Youngstown to round out the second period. The shots were 18-5 in favor of Muskegon.

The third period continued to tilt the ice in favor of Muskegon, where the Lumberjacks continued putting pucks on Purcell. The best chance of the period was on a two on one, where Phillip Tresca just barely missed on the glove side. However, Quinn Hutson got Muskegon the tying goal low glove side evening out the game 1-1 from Tanner Kelly at 11:54.

Big hits started to be dished out and culminated with a hit from behind call against Youngstown at 18:41 resulting in yet another Muskegon power play that resulted in carryover penalty time going into overtime. The shots in the third were 11-8 in favor of Muskegon.

Overtime started out well on the abbreviated power play, where some heavy shots were blocked by the Youngstown penalty killers. Overtime was a 200 foot game, with both teams rushing back and forth up the ice. However this was not enough to decide the game.

Tanner Kelly made the first attempt of the shoutout while Cristophe Tellier missed five hole. However, Nick Portz put it past Purcell and with the Reid stops, closed out the shootout in favor of the Lumberjacks

The Lumberjacks play the first place Chicago Steel this Friday, March 5, 7:10 PM EST at home.

Muskegon Goal: Hutson (7)

Muskegon Assist: Kelly (17)