Dubuque bombs Lumberjacks 6-0, setting up a decisive Game 5 in the Eastern Conference finals

By Steve Gunn and Dave Hart
LocalSportsJournal.com

lsj-fb-logoMUSKEGON – Earlier this week, Muskegon Lumberjacks Coach Todd Krygier expressed concern about the shot differential between the Jacks and Dubuque in the USHL Eastern Conference finals.

Dubuque was getting far more scoring chances, and Krygier knew that could cause trouble.

Matej Paulovic goes for the face off against Dubuque's Evan Smith. Photo/Jason Goorman

Matej Paulovic goes for the face off against Dubuque’s Evan Smith. Photo/Jason Goorman

In Games 1 and 3, the Lumberjacks managed to overcome the disadvantage with great goaltending and timely scoring.

But the problem caught up with the Jacks in Game 4 on Saturday. They were outshot 51-26 and dropped an ugly 6-0 decision to Dubuque at L.C. Walker Arena.

Dubuque has now outshot Muskegon 183-121 in four games.

The loss forces a dramatic fifth and final game of the series, Tuesday night in Dubuque. The winner will advance to the Clark Cup finals against Sioux Falls, which closed out the Western Confernce finals against Tri-City on Saturday, while the loser will go home.

“I give credit to Dubuque, they played a fantastic game,” Kygier said. “We made a couple mistakes that cost us the game. I think they (Dubuque) are an excellent hockey team and we have to come ready to play on Tuesday.”

Penalties haunted the Lumberjacks, particularly in the third period, keeping them from mounting any sort of comeback.

Griffen Molino changes direction with the puck as the Fighting Saints' No. 5 William Legesson looks to defend. Photo/Jason Goorman

Griffen Molino changes direction with the puck as the Fighting Saints’ No. 5 William Lagesson looks to defend. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegon was plagued with 62 penalty minutes, including 54 in the third period. They had three 10 minute misconducts in the third, including two for Keegan Ward (including a game misconduct) and one for Tyler Drevitch.

Dubuque, the most penalized team in the league during the regular season, had 35 penalty minutes.

“The penalty situation was laughable, but it is what it is,” Krygier said.

Dubuque opened the scoring at 19:19 of the first period on a rebound goal from Dylan Gambrell off a Seamus Malone shot.

The Fighting Saints outshot Muskegon 15-8 during a penalty-free first period.

Jacob Benson gave the Fighting Saints a 2-0 lead 6:38 into the second period, after taking a pass from Malone on a 2-on-1 break.

Muskegon's Christian Wolanin brings the puck around behind Dubuque goalie Jacob Nehama. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegon’s Christian Wolanin brings the puck behind Dubuque goalie Jacob Nehama. Photo/Jason Goorman

Malone gave the Fighting Saints a 3-0 lead with 10 seconds left in the second period on a 5-on-3 power play goal.

Dubuque dominated the second period, outshooting the Jacks 21-7.

Dubuque’s Willie Knierim scored two goals, at the 32 second mark and the 7:05 mark of the third period, respectively, to give Dubuque a 5-0 lead.

Mitchell Smith capped the scoring with a goal at 15:27 of the third period.

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