Local Sports Journal

It’s getting to the point where the Muskegon Lumberjacks don’t have to worry about falling behind early.

They always find a way to win in the third period – at least so far this season.

They won their season opener Friday night with four third period goals. They won their home opener Saturday night with a third period goal.

That trend continued Sunday when the Lumberjacks broke a tie with two third period goals and recorded a 6-4 victory over the Team USA Under-18 squad at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor.

The victory improves the Lumberjacks record to 3-0-0 on the season, good for first place in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.

Muskegon jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in a span of five minutes in the first period.

Matheson Iacopelli opened the scoring with his third goal of the season at the 6:19 mark, assisted by Mason Jobst.

The Lumberjacks went up 2-0 on a goal from Christian Wolanin at 10:18 of the first. Jobst and Joseph Cecconi assisted on the goal.

The Jacks completed the three goal tear just over a minute later with a goal by Jack Rowe.  Wolanin and Cooper Marody had assists.

Team USA responded with four unanswered goals to take the lead.

Christian Fischer closed the first period scoring with a power play goal at 14:43.

Jeremy Bracco cut the Lumberjack lead to 3-2 less than a minute into the second period, then Kyle Kunin found the net to tie the game less than a minute later.

The hosts completed their scoring and took their only lead with Kunin’s second goal at the 11:16 mark.

But the Lumberjacks were not finished. Marody stopped the bleeding with a goal with three minutes left in the second period. The score was tied 4-4 at the break.

Griffen Molino scored his second goal of the season at the 3:21 mark of the third period to put the Jacks back on top 5-4. The game winning goal was assisted by Marody and Ryker Killins.

Muskegon added an insurance goal 32 seconds later with a goal by David Keefer, who also scored two goals in Saturday’s home opener.

The Lumberjacks made their shots count, winning the game despite being outshot 28-20.

Muskegon goalie Michael Latorella picked up a victory in his first USHL start, stopping 24 of 28 shots.

The Lumberjacks will return to action next weekend with Friday and Saturday road games at Cedar Rapids.