Lumberjacks fight back from two-goal deficit, but lose game in overtime

By Steve Gunn and Dave Hart
LocalSportsJournal.com

MUSKEGON – Overtime games are usually money in the bank for the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Prior to this week, the Jacks were 6-0 in games that went to overtime and/or overtime shootouts.

That impressive streak ended on Tuesday in Youngstown, when Muskegon fell to the Phantoms in overtime 3-2.

The frustration continued on Thursday night, when the Lumberjacks fought back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game, then lost 3-2 in overtime to the Waterloo Black Hawks in front of 2,368 fans at L. C. Walker Arena.

Waterloo’s Ace Cowans ended the game 1:40 into the extra period when he snapped a wrist shot from the left circle that slipped between the pads of Muskegon goalie Adam Brizgala.

“Nine out of 10 times he stops that shot,” said Muskegon Coach John LaFontaine, whose team fell to 15-11-2 on the season, but earned a point in the league standings for playing to a tie in regulation.

Collin Adams tries to go inside on Waterloo goaltender Robbie Beydoun. Photo/Jason Goorman

The dramatic loss was hard to take for the Lumberjacks, who tied the game with a pair of power play goals late in the second period, following a sudden flurry of Waterloo penalties.

The Jacks had a 5-on-3 advantage when Andrei Svechnikov put Muskegon on the board at 18:08 of the second period with his 12th goal of the season.

Koby Bender tied the game with a goal 1:17 later, with Muskegon again enjoying a 5-on-3 advantage following two more Waterloo penalties.

“We played with more desperation (after falling behind), and then the power plays came at the right time,” LaFontaine said.

The Lumberjacks seemed to have the momentum at that point, but the third period was scoreless, and Waterloo escaped with the win on Cowans’ dramatic overtime goal.

The Lumberjacks have now gone three straight games without a victory, largely due to a lack of offensive output. They are second in the United States Hockey League in goals, but only managed to score five times in the past three games, with no more than two goals in any game.

The Jacks have had their share of scoring opportunities. They outshot Youngstown 29-25 in Tuesday’s overtime loss, and outshot Waterloo 37-27 on Thursday.

“When you outshoot your opponents good things should happen,” LaFontaine said. “We won a few games we shouldn’t have won and I think these last two games we deserved to win.”

Waterloo’s Jake Ryczek opened the scoring at the 7:29 mark of the first period to give the visitors a 1-0 edge.

The Black Hawks increased their lead to 2-0 at the 8:11 mark of the second period on a Nick Swaney goal.

The Jacks followed with the 5-on-3 goals by Svechnikov and Bender to tie the score. Collin Adams and Bo Hanson assisted on the first goal while Jachym Kondelik and Mikael Hakkarainen had assists on the second.

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