By Steve Gunn

MUSKEGON – Joey Daccord must have done something to stay sharp over the holiday break.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks goalie was on the top of his game all night on Tuesday, but was particularly sharp in the third period and overtime shootout, when it mattered most.LSJ Logo incert

First he stopped 17 of 19 Youngstown shots in the dangerous third period, maintaining a tie that could have slipped away. Then he calmly blocked 6 of 7 shots in the shootout.

Max Humitz scores the game winning shootout goal for the Lumberjacks.  Photo/Eric Sturr

Max Humitz scores the game winning shootout goal for the Lumberjacks. Photo/Eric Sturr

That allowed his teammate, Max Humitz, to break the deadlock with a goal in the seventh round of the shootout, giving the Lumberjacks an exciting 3-2 victory in front of 1,863 fans.

The victory improved the Jacks’ record to 12-9-3 on the season. They remain in sixth place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, four points behind fifth-place Youngstown.

The game was the first of three in three nights for the Jacks, who were coming off a 10-day holiday break. They will visit the Team USA Under-17 squad on Wednesday, then return home for a special New Year’s Eve game at 5:15 p.m. against Chicago.

Under different circumstances, Daccord might have registered a shutout against Youngstown. He held the Phantoms scoreless for nearly 2 ½ periods, before giving up two goals during a barrage of Phantom shots.

Youngstown outshot the Lumberjacks 19-4 in the third period to force a tie and overtime, but it could have been worse if Daccord had not come up with big saves.

Daccord ended up with 38 saves on the night.

Collin Adams scores Muskegon's second goal as he is brought down.  Photo/Eric Sturr

Collin Adams scores Muskegon’s second goal as he is brought down. Photo/Eric Sturr

“I think Joey (Daccord) did a real good job,” said Muskegon Coach Todd Krygier. “He was fantastic in the shootout.”

Another hero was Lumberjacks’ leading scorer Rem Pitlick, who missed the last four games while playing for the USA squad in an elite junior tournament in Canada.

He scored Muskegon’s first goal in the first period, then added another tally in the second round of the overtime shootout.

His effort in the shootout was particularly impressive, after he limped to the bench in near exhaustion after pushing himself hard during the 3-on-3 portion of the regular overtime period.

Collin Adams scored the other Lumberjacks goal in regulation while Trevor Hamiltion, Chris Klack and Daccord had assists.

“I thought overall we played a good game,” Krygier said. “We got a two-goal lead and we kind of sat on it. We seemed a little tired in the first game after the break, but I thought the guys continued to battle.

“The main thing is we found a way to get two points (in the standings).”

Lumberjacks goalie Joey Daccord kicks away a point blank shot. Photo/Eric Sturr

Lumberjacks goalie Joey Daccord kicks away a point blank shot. Photo/Eric Sturr

Pitlick opened the scoring with a power play goal at 16:44 of the first period, lifting a wrist shot from the left circle past Youngstown goalie Colin DeAugustine.

The goal was Pitlick’s 15th of the season. Hamilton and Daccord were credited with assists.

Daccord and Muskegon’s penalty killers were sharp in the second period, keeping Youngstown from scoring during a rare four-minute power play. The Phantoms gained that advantage after Muskegon’s Will Graber drew a double minor penalty and a game ejection for spearing at the 6:44 mark.

Adams gave the Jacks a 2-0 lead at 17:32 of the second period when he took a nice centering pass from Klack and found the back of the net.

The third period was all Youngstown, which managed to score twice on 19 shots. The first Youngstown goal came from Tommy Apap at 8:53, while the second was scored by Cameron Morrison at 14:05.

The five-minute overtime period was scoreless, leading to the shootout, which features individual skaters from each team going one-on-one with the opposing goalie.

Pitlick scored the Jacks’ first shootout goal in the second round, then Youngstown answered with a tally from Lukas Craggs in the third round.

Nobody scored again until the last half of the seventh round, when Humitz nailed the winner for Muskegon.