By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
The Muskegon Lumberjacks didn’t seem to mind too much that they had a hockey game to play Wednesday morning.
With a 10:30 a.m. start on Hockey for Health Day, the Lumberjacks seemed a big groggy in the early going, but picked up steam and blanked the Indiana 3-0 at L.C. Walker Arena.
A season-high turnout of 3,960, many of whom were school children from throughout the area, saw the Jacks improve their record to 10-4-1 for 21 points in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I think some of the boys started waking up,” said Lumberjack forward Mason Jobst, who had one goal and one assist. “As it went on, we definitely got better, that’s for sure.”
“It was different actually because nobody was used to it,” said Lumberjack goaltender Kevin Lindskoug, who posted the shutout. “You just focus on the warm up and get your head mentally prepared.”
The victory will also help erase some bad memories of a long road trip to Dubuque last weekend that resulted in a pair of losses.
That includes goaltender Kevin Lindskoug, who stopped everything the Ice shot at him and posted the shutout.
“We played really good today,” said Lindskoug, who improved his record to 8-4-1. “We had really good defense and we scored on our chances. We played well for all 60 minutes.”
It did take the Jacks a bit to get on the scoreboard.
At 5:27 of the second period, Adam Gilmour wristed home a shot from the right side that gave the Jacks a 1-0 lead. Frederik Tiffels and Joe Cox assisted on Gilmour’s fourth goal of the season.
Muskegon was able to muster a couple of insurance goals in the final period.
Defenseman Rasmus Bengtsson fired a low shot from the left side that Jobst was able to tip into the net. For Jobst, it was his second goal of the season. That goal came at 2:18 of the final period.
Three minutes later, defenseman Patrick Koudys took a shot on net that Ice goaltender Dalton Izyk was able to save. However, Riley Alferd was able to corral the rebound and slap it into the net for his second goal of the season.
From there, the Jacks were able to preserve Lindskoug’s second shutout of the season.
“He’s solid,” Lumberjack coach Jim McKenzie said of his workhorse goaltender. “We didn’t have any terrible breakdowns, but he was there.
“It’s great to see because he wasn’t happy with the way the weekend went,” McKenzie said.
Lindskoug has appeasred in 13 of the Jacks’ 15 games this season.
“We’re judging on what he wants to do,” McKenzie said. “But he’s used to playing 50-60 games the last few years.
“For goalies who are used to doing it, it’s probably harder taking them out of that routine,” McKenzie said.