MUSKEGON, MI - It'd be hard to put together a more complete victory than the one Muskegon posted Wednesday.
The Lumberjacks dominated the visiting Team USA U17s from start to finish in an 8-0 win in front of 2,094 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.
It's hard to single out one game out of 14 wins, but it's also hard to argue against such a one-sided start.
Muskegon skated to a 4-0 lead through 20 minutes and also outshot the younger NTDP squad 13-1 in the same timeframe.
Add in two goals in the first five minutes of the second period and the Lumberjacks put together an amazing 6-0 lead in just 25 minutes.
The win effectively helped Muskegon double up Team USA in the standings. Muskegon increased its points total to 28 points while Team USA sits at 14 points.
The hosts led 7-0 after two periods and tacked on another in the third period in addition to keeping the guests off the scoreboard for the full 60 minutes.
Brandon Bussi, the reigning USHL Goaltender of the Week, wasn't terribly busy but added to his league-leading totals with his 14th win and fourth shutout of the season.
The U17s did fire more shots Bussi's way in the middle frame, sending 13 shots on frame, but the Lumberjacks tightened up even more in the third period and limited the guests to just five shots in the final 20 minutes.
Jagger Joshua notched his fifth goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner, just before the game was six minutes old. Reigning USHL Defenseman of the Week Alex Yakovenko continued his hot play with an assist on the play.
The Lumberjacks really hit their stride in the latter portions of the first period. Igor Larionov scored his first USHL goal at 14:32 and Yakovenko followed it up with his sixth of the season just 18 seconds later.
Hunter Skinner tallied the first of two power play markers on the game at 18:31 which effectively chased Team USA goalie Noah Grannan.
Drew Commesso played in net the final two periods but fared no better. Cam Knuble found the net at 1:44 of the second period and Skinner again connected on the power play three minutes later to continue the rout.
Oliver MacDonald and Brock Bremer finished off the scoring for the Lumberjacks, who outshot the guests 36-19 for the game.
Colby Bukes (three assists), Yakovenko (1G, 2A) and Skinner (2G, 1A) all recorded three-point games. Danil Gushchin (two assists), Egor Afanasyev (two assists), MacDonald (1G, 1A) and Knuble (1G, 1A) all had two points.
Bukes and Yakovenko were both +4 in the game, which is the first of three at home for Muskegon this week. It plays Green Bay both Friday and Saturday night.
The Lumberjacks scored multiple power play goals once again, connecting on 2-of-6 man advantages. Team USA could not convert on any of its five power plays.
For more stats and info, visit ushl.com