Muskegon MI – Danil Gushchin’s record-tying goal in overtime completed the comeback for the Muskegon Lumberjacks Saturday night, beating the Youngstown Phantoms 4-3. Gushchin ties former Lumberjack Matheson Iacopelli’s franchise record in goals with 64.
Muskegon started off explosively, with their first two shots going off the post within the first five minutes. This fire paid off on an early power play, when Jack Williams slapped a bouncing puck past Kyle Chauvette at 6:39, 1-0. Muskegon dominated the pace of the game throughout the first period, keeping Youngstown without a shot on goal until 10:40. Jacob Guevin hit a third pipe, and the puck ended up going into the equipment of Chauvette and staying out of the net. As the period progressed, the hits became heavier, resulting in a power play for each team. This man advantage had its best chance from Cam Berg, but it was blocked right in front of the net.
The second period started even, but quickly morphed into a penalty kill for the Lumberjacks, which was very successful. The highlight was goaltender Nate Reid, who went into the splits to rob Youngstown’s Kenta Isogai at the post. On the ensuing face off, an unintentional Muskegon deflection on Grant Hindman’s shot slipped past Reid, tying the game at 1 at 3:39.
The Phantoms turned the momentum towards them, racking up shots. The new energy culminated on the Youngstown power play, where the ex-Lumberjack Dylan Gratton darted one past Reid to give Youngstown the 2-1 lead.
Youngstown’s Riley Duran continued the charge on a slick backhand move, roofing it over Reid at 13:09, to make it 3-1. However, the Muskegon muscled back quickly, as Cristophe Tellier skated in on a two-on-one with Quinn Hutson, and Tellier’s 18th of the year cut the Phantom lead in half at 13:54. Tellier now has seven goals and seven assists in the last five games.
The next stretch of hockey had rushes going both ways and the second frame ended with a heated exchange between former teammates Brad Marek and Yusaku Ando.
The Lumberjacks came busting out of the gate with energy in the third, getting several good looks that all were stopped dead by Chauvette. The pressure paid off by way of Dylan Wendt, who evened the game at three at 7:00.
The two goaltenders continued swapping sensational saves while the forwards sped up and down the ice in continued gridlock. Guevin had two grade-A shots that like many others were turned aside by Chauvette and overtime decided the contest.
Overtime started out on the wrong foot, as Youngstown nearly scored right off the bat, but Reid stood tall. After a deflected puck at the Muskegon blue line,l Gushchin closed out the game on a two on zero with Nick Portz, blasting a one-timer into the net and winning the game.
The Lumberjacks have brief rest before an away game at Team USA versus the U-18s on Wednesday March 31 at 7pm EST
Muskegon Goals: Williams (14), Tellier (18), Wendt (13), Gushchin (26).
Muskegon Assists: Tellier (25), Portz (16, 17), Quinn Hutson (16), Marek (10), Gushchin (28).