By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
The way Muskegon Lumberjacks’ coach Jim McKenzie sees it, his team just didn’t play smart enough to win on Saturday night.
A 6-3 setback to a team that came in having won just one of its last 12 games just didn’t sit very well with the Jacks’ coach.
“Every team plays hard,” McKenzie said. “It doesn’t matter what your record is or what you’re doing, we did not play hard in the first, and if you give a team life, they’re going to come at you.”
That’s exactly what the Phantoms did, especially in the second period when the scored four goals on 21 shots against Lumberjacks’ goaltender Kevin Lindskoug.
“You can’t give up 21 shots to anybody in a period and we did that in the second,” McKenzie said. “We were lucky to get out of the first at 1-1 with the sloppy way we played.”
Joe Cox gave Muskegon a 1-0 lead at 9:30 of the first period, but Sam Anas scored two minutes alter to account for the final goal of the first period.
And then came the second period and the gates opened up in a bad way for the Jacks.
Austin Cangelosi scored on a penalty shot, Luke Stork scored at 6:48 and Markus McRae at 13:06 and that put the visitors up 4-1.
About a minute after McRae’s goal, Muskegon did get cut into the deficit. Adam Gilmour scored his sixth goal of the season with some help from Mike Brozinski and Campbell Elynuik.
But before the period would end, Youngstown scored to make it 5-2 after two periods.
Brodzinski scored his fifth of the season at 4:07, but former Lumberjack Jon Padulo scored his second goal of the season less than two minutes later to cap the evening’s scoring.
Youngstown fired 41 shots at Lindskoug.
“Any time you give up 21 shots you’re either getting outworked, but I don’t really think we were getting outworked,” McKenzie said. “But we’re out of position, you’re not stopping and starting, it’s just that kind of stuff.
“It wasn’t the officials and it wasn’t bad luck or bad bounces,” McKenzie said. “We certainly had our chances and we should have finished those. It was just not good hockey, not smart hockey and it’s not acceptable.”
Youngstown came into the game having won its first four games of the season, but losing 11 of the last 12.
“I thought we had energy, but I didn’t think we played smart,” McKenzie said. “You have to play smart to be successful.”