Local Sports Journal

From the opening puck drop to the final buzzer, there was no doubt that the Muskegon Lumberjacks were dominate rival Youngstown, as six different Lumberjacks notched at least a goal, including the first four goals, o conclude their season-long eight-game road swing with a 5-3-0 record.

The Lumberjacks (17-16-4, 38 points) wasted little time in getting on the board first on the night as Chase Hatcher one-timed his second goal in as many nights past Colin DeAugustine’s (5-6-5) blocker side while crashing to the net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at the 2:59 mark of the first period.

Lumberjack teammates Matej Paulovic and Connor Wood picked up the assist.

Just under 90 seconds later, at the 4:19 mark, Muskegon doubled their lead to 2-0 when Mason Jobst found a loose rebound to the left of DeAugustine and roofed his sixth goal of the season top shelf short side, assisted by Adam Larkin and Matt Iacopelli.

Later in the opening frame, at the 18:42 mark, the Lumberjacks went up 3-0 as Iacopelli found a rebound of his own to the left of DeAugustine and slid his team-leading 24th goal of the season through the five-hole. Larkin and Carson Gatt assisted on the score.

Muskegon continued its assault into the early portions of the second period, scoring at the 4:21 mark as Scott Pooley received a nice outlet feed from Janik Moeser at the center ice line and found himself all alone on a breakaway. Seconds later, he wristed his twelfth goal of the season past DeAugustine’s blocker side.

At the 8:07 mark, the Phantoms (8-20-5, 21 points) were able to crack the scoreboard and make it a 4-1 game courtesy of Trey Bradley as he roofed his first career USHL goal top shelf off a loose rebound to the right of Eric Schierhorn (11-9-1) that was set up by Zach Evancho and Kiefer Sherwood.

Later in the middle stanza, at the 16:17 mark, the Lumberjacks got that goal back to make it a 5-1 advantage as Iacopelli ripped his second of the night and 25th goal of the season over DeAugustine’s glove from the left faceoff circle, He was assisted by Jobst and Daniel Willett.

In the third period, Youngstown would strike first, cutting the deficit to 5-2 at the 5:52 mark as Luke Stork fired home a rebound given up by Schierhorn to his right for his 12th marker of the year that was helped by Truman Reed and Kyle Connor.

Again, the Lumberjacks retaliated to make it a 6-2 game at the 8:51 mark as Haralds Egle’s centering feed hit a Phantom’s body in front of the crease and somehow trickled under the right pad of DeAugustine for his 3rd goal of the season that was aided by Cullen Hurley.

The host Phantoms showed no quit scoring the next two goals of the night to make it a 6-4 game in favor of the Lumberjacks that began at the 12:23 mark on the power play from Sherwood as his shot from the top of the slot had eyes and slid under Schierhorn’s right pad for his 6th of the year that was assisted by Bo Pellah and J.J. Piccinich.  Minutes later at the 17:43 mark, Youngstown potted a shorthanded goal from Tommy Parran as he wristed his 3rd goal of the season top shelf from between the faceoff circles to make it a two-goal game that was helped by Josh Melnick and Luke Stork.

To conclude the busy night offensively for the Lumberjacks, they would get the last laugh with :50.5 seconds to go in regulation as Gatt fired a slap shot from the left faceoff circle past DeAugustine’s blocker for his 5th of the year that was set up by Chase Hatcher.  Youngstown outshot Muskegon for the game by a 31-26 margin.

Eric Schierhorn earned another victory in net for the Lumberjacks stopping 27 shots on the night, while Colin DeAugustine took the home loss for the Phantoms making 19 saves of his own.  Muskegon was led offensively by Matt Iacopelli with his pair of goals plus one assist along with four others chipping in two points each.  Youngstown’s offense was spearheaded by Kiefer Sherwood and Luke Stork with a goal and an assist each.  The Lumberjacks improve to 4-1-0 this season against the Phantoms with four regular season meetings left between the two Eastern Conference foes.

The Lumberjacks return to home ice for the first time in nearly a month for a pair of games next Friday and Saturday against the U.S. National Development Program at 7:15 pm, respectively.