MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks have trimmed their roster down to 28 players with the 23-man deadline approaching. The Jacks must cut down to 23 players by September 24th.
Over the weekend, Muskegon played a home-and-home series against the Central Illinois Flying Aces, splitting the pair. Both home teams won: Muskegon by a score of 2-1 on Friday, and Central Illinois by a 5-4 score on Saturday.
The Russian trio of Alex Yakovenko, Egor Afanasyev and Daniil Gushchin led the way for the Jacks. Gushchin, a second-round, phase-one pick this year, scored the game-winner on Friday and added two assists on Saturday. Yakovenko, in his first action of the preseason, scored a goal in each of the Jacks’ games. Afanasyev sat out on Friday, but returned Saturday and scored twice.
“I thought we played a pretty good team game both nights,” said head coach Mike Hamilton. “I think we’re getting better at defensive responsibilities, working both ends of the ice better. However, we still have things to work on. We have to tighten up and be more disciplined. We took lots of questionable penalties that put us in tight spots this weekend.”
Moving forward, Hamilton excited to have his full team on the ice all at once for daily practices. With the extra personnel, practice had previously been split into two groups.
“We are excited today to hit the ice today as a full team,” said Hamilton. Now, we can start building and stop evaluating.”
“Our goal this week is to implement our regular routine that includes on-ice, off-ice and film. We’re also starting to work on special teams as we look ahead to Saturday.”
Following the two tight games, Muskegon cut its roster down to 16 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. Narrowing the roster further, Lumberjacks GM Ryan Bennett dealt forward Randy Hernandez to the Lincoln Stars in exchange for future considerations.
The Lumberjacks have one remaining preseason game that will take place at LC Walker Arena this Saturday at 7:15pm. The game against Team USA will be free of charge, and all seating will be handled on a first-come, first serve basis. Concessions will be available and doors open at 6:15pm!
Here are the 28 players that remain in Muskegon. For more information on each player, click here.