DUBUQUE, IA- The Muskegon Lumberjacks saw their seven-game winning streak come to a close Saturday despite a third-period rally in which Muskegon tied the game. The Lumberjacks scored three unanswered goals to knot the game 3-3, but Dalton Hunter scored with 19 seconds left to lift Dubuque to the 4-3 win.
Mikael Hakkarainen was outstanding for Muskegon, scoring twice in the third period to tie the game. Hakkarainen’s second goal deadlocked the game at three with 2:00 to play.
However, Hunter played hero for Dubuque, netting the game-winner in the final seconds to end Muskegon’s longest-ever winning streak.
Alex Steeves and Quinn Preston led the way for the Saints, each scoring three points. In the first 13 minutes of the game, Steeves scored twice and Preston added another to put the Saints in front 3-0.
Muskegon would get a late first-period goal from captain Anthony Del Gaizo, who gave the Jacks life with 18 seconds remaining in the first. Del Gaizo now has scored 16 goals on the year, tied for the second-most in the USHL. Anthony is just one goal behind league-leading Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup.
After a scoreless second period, Hakkarainen’s first of the night put the Jacks within a shot early in the third. The Finnish forward forced a turnover at the Muskegon blue line just as Del Gaizo stepped out of the penalty box, creating a 2-on-0. Hakkarainen and Del Gaizo gave the puck back and forth before Hakkarainen got it at the side of the crease and roofed the shot past goalie Cole Weaver to make it 3-2.
Weaver stopped 22 of 25 Muskegon shots in the win.
Muskegon continued to apply pressure until Hakkarainen’s power-play goal tied the game with 2:00 to play. The goal was set up by Matej Pekar, whose 18 assists rank first among rookies and second among all USHL players.
Dubuque, though, would get the last laugh when Preston found Hunter in the slot as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the third. Hunter made a nifty move to get in on goal alone, and stached the puck past Keegan Karki’s glove to give the Fighting Saints the win, and a split on the weekend.
Karki stopped 15 of 19 Dubuque shots in the loss, dropping him to 9-6-0 on the season. Karki made his 12th straight start tonight, the longest streak of consecutive starts in the USHL this season.
Muskegon will head home for a weekend doubleheader against 1st-place Green Bay next. Both Friday and Saturday nights’ games are scheduled for 7:15pm, and tickets are on sale now online, at the LC Walker Arena box office, and over the phone (231-726-2400).
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Muskegon goals: A. Del Gaizo (16), Hakkarainen (6,7)
Muskegon assists: Benito Posa (4), A. Del Gaizo (9), Pekar (18), Marc Del Gaizo (13)