Local Sports Journal

If having more shots on goal equaled victory, the Muskegon Lumberjacks would have skated away with an easy win Saturday night.

The Jacks outshot the host Lincoln Stars 43-19, including 20-4 in the third period, but still came out on the short end of a 4-3 decision.

The Lumberjacks are now 4-3-0 with eight points, good for first place in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference. They have a one point lead over second-place Bloomington in the standings.

Most of the Lumberjacks’ many scoring opportunities were stymied by Lincoln goalie Cam Hackett, who stopped 40 shots to collect the win.

“(Hackett) played well and we made a couple of key defensive mistakes,” said Muskegon Coach Todd Krygier. “This week in practice we have to work on our transition game.”

“Every loss is tough. Anyone can get beat on any given night in this league.”

The Stars opened up the scoring with a goal from Michael Gillespie at the 14:48 mark of the first period. Ludvig Hoff assisted on the lone goal of the period.

Cam Lee gave the Stars a 2-0 lead on an unassisted goal just 22 seconds into the second period.

The Jacks cut the deficit in half when captain Mason Jobst notched his second goal of the season at the 3:11 mark of the second. Jack Rowe had the assist on the goal.

Lincoln went up 3-1 on a goal from Patrick Polino at the 7:28 mark of the second. Blake Christensen and Grant Jozefek assisted on the goal.
Muskegon’s Matt Iacopelli scored his team leading fifth goal of the season at the 16:20 mark of the second to cut the Stars lead to 3-2.

Gillespie gave the Stars another two goal advantage at the 17:34 mark of the second, with an assist from Polino.

Muskegon fought furiously in the third period, managing 16 more shots on goal than the Stars, but only one went in.

Iacopelli scored his second goal of the evening at the 11:23 mark of the third period to cut the Stars lead to 4-3. Jobst and Christian Wolanin assisted.

Muskegon threatened in the final minutes of the contest – particularly on a breakaway by Iacopelli that ended when the puck rolled off his stick – but couldn’t manage to tie the game.

“It was (Iacopelli’s) best game of the season,” Krygier said. “I thought he was going to singlehandedly tie the game (on the late breakaway).”

Goalie Michael Latorella took the loss for the Lumberjacks.