MUSKEGON, MI- Thursday marked the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ annual Education Day game, and more than 3,000 elementary school students from the Muskegon area would not be disappointed. Muskegon got three-point nights from Mikael Hakkarainen, Bobby Lynch and Colby Bukes in a 6-4 win, handing Team USA U18 their first loss of the 2018-19 USHL season.
Thanks to the Jacks Foundation, an organization essential to Education Day, 3,343 fans were able to enjoy watching Muskegon improve to 9-1-0 on the year.
After Team USA ended Muskegon’s franchise-record eight-game win streak on Saturday, the Jacks exacted revenge Thursday, with Hakkarainen leading the charge, scoring two goals, including the game-winner.
After Team USA took the 1-0 lead, Bobby Lynch extended his three-game goal streak to four, blasting a shot by starting USA netminder Cameron Rowe.
With just eight seconds left in the period, Brock Bremer tipped an Oliver MacDonald shot past Rowe to give Muskegon the 2-1 lead after one.
In the second, Team USA seized the early momentum by scoring two quick ones, but Muskegon would battle back when Hakkarainen notched a power-play goal to tie the game at three.
With 3:33 to play in the second, captain Nolan Sullivan notched his fifth of the campaign, redirecting a Matt Staudacher shot past goalie Spencer Knight, who relieved Rowe after one period.
Brandon Bussi was phenomenal in net for the Jacks, making 38 saves in total. On the night, Bussi stymied four Jack Hughes breakaways, holding the potential future #1 pick without a point. Team USA was able to generate a multitude of great chances, but Bussi improved to 9-1-0 on the year.
In the third period, Hakkarainen extended the Jacks’ lead to 5-3 with his second power-play goal of the day, giving him five goals and 12 points in just six games this season.
Team USA’s Cole Caufield would narrow the lead to one, but Oliver MacDonald’s empty-net goal sealed the Lumberjacks victory.
The Jacks next head to Chicago to face the Steel on Saturday before returning to LC Walker Arena for a doubleheader with the Youngstown Phantoms November 9 and 10.
Muskegon goals: Lynch (6), Bremer (2), Hakkarainen (4,5), Sullivan (5), MacDonald (2)
Muskegon assists: Bukes (7,8,9), Hakkarainen (7), MacDonald (3), Lynch (5,6), Staudacher (5), Yakovenko (7)