By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
The Muskegon Lumberjacks faced a stiff challenge last weekend with home games against Waterloo and Green Bay.
This weekend may be even tougher for the Lumberjacks (8-1-1), who face the undefeated Dubuque Fighting Saints both Friday and Saturday nights. The best part of it all is both games will be played at L.C. Walker Arena.
“Yeah, it’s nice to be home,” Lumberjack forward Ben Foster said. “It beats the bus.”
Last weekend, the Jacks dropped a 3-0 decision to Waterloo then came back on Saturday night and nipped Green Bay 3-2.
Dubuque heads into the week with a league-leading 9-0-0 record. The Fighting Saints begin the week Thursday with a game against Team USA in Ann Arbor.
“This is going to be a great month,” Lumberjack coach Jim McKenzie said. “We’ve got Dubuque five times.”
Two years ago, as a first-year franchise, the Fighting Saints captured the playoff championship.
“They obviously are playing very, very well,” McKenzie said. “They are always good and it’s great for us. If we can keep putting our game together a little bit, hopefully we will be up for the challenge.
“Again, it’s good to have challenges.”
Leading scorer out
Lumberjacks’ leading scorer Chad McDonald will be out of the lineup at least 45 days after suffering an upper body injury. According to the USHL website, McDonald has been removed from the Jacks’ active roster and placed on the 45-day injured list.
“We kept him out (last) weekend,” McKenzie said. “He’s going to get some more followup tests.”
McKenzie knows how bad McDonald wants to get back on the ice.
“He’s dying to get out there and dying to be part of it, but obviously he’s a bit banged up,” McKenzie said.
McDonald has 11 points in eight games this season.
Stewart in NAHL
Former Lumberjack goaltender Hayden Stewart is now playing for Corpus Christi in the North American Hockey League.
Stewart won his only start of the season for Muskegon.
In two games for Corpus Christi, Stewart has a 1-0-1 record and a 2.40 goals-against-average.
Muskegon’s goaltending tanden includes Kevin Lindskoug and Jordan Uhelski.