MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks fell behind the Chicago Steel 4-2, but Danil Gushchin caught fire, tallying a hat trick and propelling Muskegon to a 7-5 win Saturday at Mercy Health Arena.
The Lumberjacks again fell behind first-place Chicago, allowing the Steel to build a 4-2 lead by the later stages of period two. However, Gushchin’s partial-breakaway goal got the Jacks within one with 5:06 to play in the second.
Trailing 4-3, Gushchin would tie the game early in the third, and the floodgates opened from there. Chicago’s Sean Farrell would give Chicago the 5-4 lead just 33 seconds after Gushchin’s goal tied the game. Then, Muskegon immediately re-tied the game when Hank Kempf scored on a deflection 1:43 after the Farrell goal.
Just 41 seconds after Kempf’s goal, Gushchin completed the hat trick and gave Muskegon the 6-5 lead with 11:27 to play in regulation.
Chicago would press Muskegon’s defense for the remaining 11 minutes, peppering Muskegon goaltender Nate Reid with 33 shots in total. However, Reid came up clutch throughout the game and preserved his tenth win of the season.
Reid made several outstanding saves throughout the game, including a breakaway save against Steel Captain Erik Middendorf.
Cristophe Tellier potted the empty-net goal with just 17 seconds left to seal the victory for Muskegon.
The come-from-behind win is Muskegon’s fifth win when trailing entering the third, the most such wins in the USHL. On the other side, Chicago had not lost in regulation when carrying a lead into the third, a streak that was snapped on Saturday.
Gushchin, Tellier, Kempf, Nick Portz, and Alex Gagne all recorded multi-point games for the Jacks, who draw within six points of Chicago for first place in the East.
The Jacks’ next matchup is against Team USA next weekend, March 12 and 13, at home.
Muskegon goals: Gushchin (18,19,20), Portz (12), Brad Marek (10), Kempf (4), Tellier (11)
Muskegon assists: Gushchin (25), Portz (13,14), Kempf (4), Tellier (17), Gagne (16,17), Davis Pennington (16), Jack Williams (10), Dylan Wendt (19), Kyle Aucoin (4)