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Muskegon posts huge comeback to remain unbeaten

By Scott Brandenburg, 10/14/18, 6:30PM EDT

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Lumberjacks erase 3-0 deficit in a 5-4 home win over Youngstown to push record start to six straight

MUSKEGON - The Muskegon Lumberjacks had to know adversity would come sooner or later.

One night after a feel-good home debut, the Lumberjacks played perhaps their worst period of the season to fall behind winless Youngstown 3-0 Sunday.

Muskegon showed its mettle, however, responding with three second-period goals and adding one more rally in the third period in a 5-4 win in front of 1,522 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.

The Lumberjacks have seemingly won every way imaginable on their way to a perfect 6-0 start, their best in USHL franchise history.

It looked like that record start would stop at five after Muskegon gave up two short-handed goals in the first frame Sunday. Phantoms forward Craig Needham tallied both shorties, sandwiched around Connor MacEachern's even-strength tally, to stun the hosts through 20 minutes.

Mikael Hakkarainen kickstarted the Muskegon comeback with his second goal in as many games. This one came on the power play on assists from Christoffer Bjork and Alex Yakovenko at 7:27 of the second period.

The Lumberjacks began to swarm but still trailed 3-1 until scoring two goals in 32 seconds late in the second period. Alex Gaffney notched his first goal of the season from Cam Knuble and Yakovenko at 14:59.

The Muskegon faithful had barely settled back into their seats when Bjork set up Matthew Staudacher for the equalizer at 15:31.

Youngstown (0-4-0-1) wasn't about to go quietly though. Matthew DeMelis put the guests back up a goal just 2:57 into the third period.

The Lumberjacks would not be denied, however. Cam McDonald tied it back up a little over two minutes later on assists from Hakkarainen and John Farinacci. Three minutes later Farinacci was at it again, this time scoring the game-winning goal.

Three different Lumberjacks scored their first goals of the season. The team went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.

Youngstown outshot the hosts 33-30, including 15-5 in the first period, but went 0-for-2 on the power play.

Brandon Bussi showed he's human after back-to-back shutouts, but still improved to 6-0 with 29 saves. Phantoms goalie Jon Mor made 25 saves.