BLOOMINGTON, IL- The Muskegon Lumberjacks scored the only two goals of the third period, and came inches from tying the game at five, but fell 5-4 to the Central Illinois Flying Aces Saturday at Grossinger Motors Arena.
Trailing 5-2 to start the third, Muskegon got goals from Anthony Del Gaizo and Vincent de Mey in a 57-second span to get Muskegon within one with 7:23 to play in the third.
With goaltender Keegan Karki on the bench in favor of an extra attacker, Muskegon got a glorious chance when Wyatt Bongiovanni deflected a puck on net, but Aces netminder Ryan Snowden stymied the chance with a sprawling save.
Then, right as time expired in the game, Marc Del Gaizo caught a pass between the circles and rifled a spinning shot that missed the right post by inches. The horn sounded, ending Muskegon’s comeback one goal short, and snapping their three-game winning streak.
Muskegon’s second power-play unit was clicking again tonight, scoring twice. Emilio Pettersen opened the scoring in the first period on the power play, and Wyatt Bongiovanni netted his 15th of the season in the second.
Bongiovanni also tabbed two assists to push his season point total to 32.
After Muskegon struck first, Central Illinois responded with four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead. Bongiovanni’s goal got the Jacks within two, but Calen Kiefiuk netted his second of the game before the expiration of the second period to push the Flying Aces’ lead to 5-2 by the end of the second.
In the third, Anthony Del Gaizo notched his league-leading 35th of the year on a fine play from his younger brother Marc, who spun off a check and located Anthony between the circles. His one-timer found the net to make it 5-3.
Less than a minute later, de Mey’s rebound goal gave Muskegon a shot, but the comeback ultimately fell short.
Karki made 17 saves, falling to 19-13-0. Snowden stopped 36 of 40 Muskegon shots in the win.
Central Illinois snapped a ten-game losing streak against Muskegon, a drought that dated back to the ‘15-’16 season.
Muskegon comes home for a three-game homestand this week starting Wednesday. The Jacks face the Chicago Steel on Wednesday night before hosting Cedar Rapids for Friday and Saturday contests.
Muskegon goals: Pettersen (12), Bongiovanni (15), A. Del Gaizo (35), de Mey (15)
Muskegon assists: Bongiovanni (16,17), Jachym Kondelik (13), Alex Yakovenko (10), Colby Bukes (18,19), M. Del Gaizo (24), Matej Pekar (33)