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PREVIEW - Lumberjacks open 2021-22 regular season

By Ryan Vallon, 09/23/21, 4:45PM EDT

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Lumberjacks will open the 2021-22 regular season this weekend with a pair of games at the DICK’S Sporting Goods USHL Fall Classic in Cranberry Township, Penn. against the Sioux Falls Stampede and Sioux City Musketeers, respectively.

Lumberjacks Set To Begin Regular Season

After six preseason contests, the Lumberjacks are gearing up for the start of the regular season at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in the USHL Fall Classic. The first game will be on Saturday, Sept. 25, against the Sioux Falls Stampede, with the following matchup on Sunday, Sept. 26, against the Sioux City Musketeers. Both games will start at noon eastern.

Four More Years

Mike Hamilton, recipient of the USHL Coach of the Year Award in 2021, will return for his fifth season behind the bench, fourth as head coach, and a four-year contract extension, making him the longest-tenured coach in Lumberjacks history. The River Rouge, Mich. native is also the winningest coach in Lumberjacks history with a combined record of 102-56-10.

Jacks go to College

Ten players from last season moved on to NCAA Division one college hockey. Nathan Reid (Yale), Kyle Aucoin (Harvard), Alex Gagne (New Hampshire), Hank Kempf (Cornell), Davis Pennington (Nebraska-Omaha), Cameron Berg (Nebraska-Omaha), Tanner Kelly (Michigan State), Bradley Marek (Ferris State), Nick Portz (North Dakota), Christophe Tellier (Quinnipiac) all departed for college after playing for Muskegon last year.

Gushchin Inks NHL Deal

After three consecutive seasons in Muskegon, forward Daniil Gushchin signed an entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks. Gushchin skated in 139 career games with the Lumberjacks, totaling 70 goals, 70 assists for 147 points. The Yekaterinburg, Russia native was selected No. 76 overall by the Sharks in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Experience Returns For Lumberjacks

Muskegon restores 13 players from last season’s roster. Leading the charge up front is forward Quinn Hutson, who skated in 46 games with Muskegon the previous year, totaling 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points. Jacob Guevin returns to the Port City on the backend after appearing in 53 games last season, totaling seven goals and 38 assists for 45 points. Guevin was also voted to the USHL All-Rookie team. In the crease, Muskegon welcomes back goaltender Jan Skopik, who backstopped the Jacks with a 16-7-3 record.

Jack of all Trades

Jack Williams was selected as the next captain of the Lumberjacks, with Phil Tresca and Ben Strinden chosen as alternate captains. Williams, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward skated in 58 games with the Lumberjacks during the 2020-21 regular season, totaling 18 goals and 20 assists for 38 points while registering 30 penalty minutes. The Biddeford, Maine native is committed to playing with the Northeastern University Huskies.

 Jacks in the NHL Draft

The Jacks add an NHL draft pick to the roster with the addition of defenseman Noah Ellis. Committed to play at the University of Massachusetts, Ellis was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights No. 184 overall in the sixth round of the 2020 NHL Draft. The Urbandale, Iowa native appeared in 40 games with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers during the 2020-21 season, totaling five goals and 12 assists for 17 points.

Scouting the Stampede

Saturday’s matchup against the Sioux Falls Stampede is set for noon. Forward Garrett Pinoniemi returns to Sioux Falls for a third season after playing 94 games for the Stampede, totaling 15 goals and 42 assists for 57 points. Brandon Chabrier brings the most experience on the blueline, having skated in 81 games, tallying three goals and 12 assists for 15 points. 

Scouting the Musketeers

On Sunday, Muskegon will battle the Sioux City Musketeers to finish out the Fall Classic schedule. Forward Kirklan Irey leads the way as the highest returning point scorer, totaling 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points in 51 games. In goal, Alexander Tracy return to the blue paint after putting up a 2.66 GAA and a .899 save percentage in 18 games last season.

Lumberjacks Broadcasts

Muskegon Lumberjacks games can be heard on Mixlr (Audio) and video can be streamed on available devices through HockeyTV (Video).

Upcoming Games

Saturday, Oct. 2 | 8:05 pm ET | at Chicago

Saturday, Oct. 9 | 7:05 pm ET | at Team USA U18

Friday, Oct. 15 | 7:10 pm ET | vs. Chicago | Flannel Fest | BUY TICKETS

Saturday, Oct. 16 | 7:10 pm ET | vs. Chicago | Flannel Fest | BUY TICKETS

Opening Weekend

We’re kicking off our season with a bang! Come down to night one of Flannel Fest and rock out with the AC/DC cover band “Let There Be Rock.” Plus, the first 100 adults to open an account with Family Financial Credit Union during Flannel Fest will become the proud owners of an exclusive white Lumberjacks jersey. You do NOT want to miss out on the biggest party of the Fall!

Flannel Fest rolls into Saturday! Night two will feature several exciting events for the whole family including hayrides, pumpkin and axe throwing, and much more! Later, during the game's first intermission, watch your favorite teachers dash for cash to benefit local classrooms as the Lumberjacks take on the Chicago Steel! Single-game tickets are now on sale. For more information, call the Muskegon Lumberjacks Business office at (231)-799-7000 or email afranczek@muskegonlumberjacks.com.

Follow the Jacks

Be sure to follow the Muskegon Lumberjacks on social media!

Facebook - Muskegon Lumberjacks

Twitter - @MuskegonJacks

Instagram - @muskegonjacks

Tik Tok - muskegonlumberjacks

 

About the Muskegon Lumberjacks

The Muskegon Lumberjacks are proud and dedicated members of the United States Hockey League (USHL), the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league and leading producer of NCAA players and National Hockey League draft picks in the United States. The club’s goal is to create an environment where student-athletes develop into successful young men both on and off the ice, which includes playing the game the right way while keeping up with their studies in the classroom and staying actively involved in the West Michigan community. The organization is committed to providing quality, affordable, and top-notch family entertainment while providing positive role models for the youth for the local community.