MUSKEGON, MI - The Muskegon Lumberjacks have a rare opportunity Thursday.
It's not often a team gets the chance to rematch against the very team that ended its winning streak like what the Team USA U18 squad did to Muskegon Saturday.
The Lumberjacks owned an 8-0 record before the talented veteran Team USA National Team Development Program skated into Muskegon's L.C. Walker Arena and skated out with an impressive 8-3 win.
Muskegon's looking to reverse its fortunes Thursday at 10:30 a.m., or at the very least make a better showing.
"We're absolutely looking forward to it," said Muskegon coach Mike Hamilton. "They're fun to play against because they have great speed and great skill and they push you to be your best."
The Lumberjacks made several good plays through the first half of Saturday's game, but were not at their best in the second half.
Team USA scored the final five goals to earn the win and stop Muskegon's best ever start to a season.
Hamilton is looking for more discipline and more "special" things Thursday in the Education Day tilt.
"We watched some film and definitely learned a few things," Hamilton said. "At the end of the day we did a lot of good things but we lost our discipline.
"We've got to be better on the forecheck and take advantage of the opportunities we have. We lost the special teams battle Saturday as well, and we can't afford to do that. We have to win the special teams battle or at least have a tie."
Hamilton said the Lumberjacks are also looking forward to performing Thursday because it's Education Day.
It'll be a loud arena as it's sold out and there's be plenty of kids there ready to cheer on some quality hockey on both ends.
Rounding out the week on the ice for the Lumberjacks, who may see the debut of Igor Larionov II happen this week, will be a trip to Chicago on Saturday.
Muskegon has already beaten the Steel twice this regular season, but it was a tightly contested game the last time the teams met in Chicago on October 19.
"We'll look to put our best foot forward Thursday and then immediately turn our attentions to Chicago," Hamilton said. "We want to get back on track right away."
For more information or for previous results and stats, visit the United States Hockey League website at ushl.com