GREEN BAY, Wisc. – For the second time this season the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Green Bay Gamblers went wire-to-wire all the way to a shootout. This time the host Gamblers came away with the extra point in a 4-3 victory on Saturday.
The Gamblers (4-1-2, 10 points) tallied the game’s first goal of the night as their special teams gave them a 1-0 lead at the 7:55 mark with Kevin Irwin’s team-leading fifth goal of the season on the power play as he backhanded a goal on the backdoor off a nice pass down low on the left wing from Evan Tironese. Ryan Lough also received a helper on the Irwin marker.
A few minutes later at the 13:49 mark, Green Bay doubled their lead to 2-0 as Ryan Siroky used some fancy moves to slip his way through the Muskegon defense and found himself all alone in front of Jordan Uhelski (2-0-1) to backhand his second goal of the season. Frederik Olofsson received the lone helper on the Siroky tally.
Green Bay took that two-goal lead into the second intermission while outshooting Muskegon by a slim 12-9 margin.
The score held into the second half of the second period when the Lumberjacks (4-2-1, 9 points) cut the deficit in half to 2-1 at the 13:26 mark when Connor Hurley used some crafty moves of his own to fire his third goal of the season home past Jared Rutledge (4-1-0) that was assisted by Carson Gatt.
The game went into the second intermission the same score with Muskegon outshooting Green Bay in the middle frame, 10-8.
The third period featured a back-and-forth affair in which Muskegon notched the equalizer at the 6:03 mark with a breakaway tally from Matt Iacopelli for his second of the season that was assisted by Tommy Panico.
A few minutes later at the 8:38 mark, Green Bay regained the one goal lead at 3-2 with Irwin’s second of the night and sixth of the season as he one-timed a slap shot home past Uhelski that was setup by Aaron O’Neill.
The score held into the latter stages of regulation when the Lumberjacks tied the game for the second time of the night with 2:24 left as Tommy Panico fired his first career USHL goal past Rutledge from the left point that was helped by Gatt.
No more scoring would be had in regulation and the game went into overtime as the Lumberjacks edged the Gamblers in shots during the third period, 9-6. The overtime frame saw no goals tallied as Green Bay outshot Muskegon in the extra session, 3-1.
In the shootout, no goals were tallied through the first four rounds until Green Bay seized the extra point as Nick Schmaltz laced the game-winner in the fifth round as he slid a low wrist shot under Uhelski’s glove side to capture the home victory.
Green Bay outshot Muskegon slightly, 30-29, and Jared Rutledge stopped 26 shots on the night to earn his fourth victory of the season. Jordan Uhelski saved 27 shots on the night for the visiting Lumberjacks. Kevin Irwin led the Green Bay offense with his pair of goals, while Tommy Panico (one goal and one assist) and Carson Gatt (two assists) led the Lumberjacks offense with two points each. The Lumberjacks are now 1-0-1 this season against the Gamblers.