By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Lumberjacks looked like a team that wanted to make the playoffs Friday night.
They used a pair of goals by Mason Jobst and solid goaltending from Eric Schierhorn to grab a 5-1 victory over Youngstown in front of 1,780 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.
The Jacks, who came into Friday’s contest four points out of the final playoff spot in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, won their season-high fifth game in a row. They will host Youngstown again Saturday with puck drop at 7:15 p.m.
Muskegon took control early, controlling the offense pace of the game and outshooting Youngstown 14-6 in the first period.
Two of those shots went in the net.
Adam Larkin put Muskegon on the board first at the 6:11 mark in the opening period when he sent a shot short glove side of Youngstown goalie Colin DeAugustine. The shot snuck its way through traffic and found the back of the net.
Barely three minutes later, Muskegon’s Matt Iacopelli scored his 36th goal of the season on an unassisted play in front of the net. Trevor Morbeck started the rush after Youngstown turned the puck over in neutral ice.
The second period was more Muskegon as the Lumberjacks outshot Youngstown 17-5 and netted a goal from Jobst. Iacopelli set up the play from the right side and sliced a pass through to Jobst who found an open net as DeAugustine could not get over quick enough.
Jobst struck again in the third period with a shorthanded goal. Youngstown turned over the puck on a power play and Robbie Demontis rushed past the blue line, only to wait for Jobst. Demontis sent a perfect pass that split a pair of Phantom defensemen just as Jobst passed the blue line and placed in a wrist shot for a 4-0 lead.
“Demontis made the play really and Mason scored on a great play as well,” said Muskegon coach Todd Krygier. “I thought Demontis was skating real well on that penalty kill and Mason did a real nice play. That was a big goal for us at the time.”
The Lumberjacks took a 5-0 lead on a Morbeck goal that he was able to tip in from a Scott Pooley shot that went just wide of the net.
Youngstown got its lone goal from Conor Lemirande with about six minutes left. The Lumberjacks were impressive in the final two minutes of play, killing off a two-man Youngstown advantage following a pair of high stick penalties.
“We battled, it was a 5-1 game,” said Krygier. “I thought we could have cleared the puck a couple times. I thought we were looking to play the puck instead of sticks or bodies in front of the net a few times. That was a little frustrating but we’re going to take the win.”
Shierhorn stopped 19 0f 20 shots on the night and is now 16-14-1-1 with a .905 save percentage on the season.
“He played real well,” said Krygier about his goalie’s performance. “I wish he could have gotten the shutout, but he did a real nice job controlling rebounds and making sure they didn’t get second opportunities.”
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