By Steve Gunn and Dave Hart
MUSKEGON – The good news is that the Muskegon Lumberjacks drew 3,776 fans to L.C. Walker Arena on Saturday night.
Unfortunately the Lumberjacks weren’t able to send the crowd home happy, turning in a listless performance in a 6-3 loss to the Bloomington Thunder in the final game of a weekend home-and-home series between the two teams.
Logan Lambdin and Tarek Baker did the offensive damage for Bloomington, each scoring a three-goal hat trick. Baker had a five-goal weekend after scoring twice against Muskegon on Friday.
Those two players now have all nine Bloomington goals in three games against Muskegon this season. Baker has five and Lambdin has four.
The home loss is part of an unfortunate trend for the Jacks, who are now 6-9-1 in Muskegon and 7-3-2 on the road.
The Jacks have now lost three of their last five at home, including the last two. And the last two home losses have been by ugly scores.
“I don’t know (about why we play poorly at home),”said an extremely unhappy Muskegon Coach Todd Krygier. “We tried to stay on the road by staying an extra night in Bloomington after last night’s games.
“I am grateful for the fans, we tried to play an exciting game. but guys have to step up or we got to get better frickin players, or the current one better step out because I am calling them out.”
Muskegon goalie Joey Daccord was pulled after giving up Bloomington’s third goal in the second period, then came back in the third with his team only trailing by one.
But he gave up two goals early in the period, within a minute of each other, to leave the Thunder in command of the game.
“I pulled (Daccord) to get a spark, then I felt he gave us a better chance to win in the third so I put him back in,” Krygier said. “We work to get back down a goal heading into the third period and they (Bloomington) scored two quick goals and that is absolutely unacceptable.
“Our guys got to produce and our goaltending has got to get consistent.”
The Lumbejacks’ penalty killing also struggled, giving up two goals in three shorthanded situations. Muskegon was 0-for-1 on the power play.
Lambdin scored the only goal of the first period at 11:34.
Baker put the Thunder up 2-0 with a goal at 3:53 of the second period.
Muskegon’s Max Humitz scored his fifth goal of the season midway through the second period, pulling the Jacks within one.
Baker answered with his second goal on a power play at 13:37 of the second period, putting Bloomington up 3-1. That goal prompted Krygier to pull Daccord in favor of backup Deviin Cooley for the rest of the period.
Muskegon’s Rem Pitlick, the league’s leading scorer, notched his 19th goal of the season late in the second period, narrowing Bloomington’s lead to 3-2.
Daccord returned to the goal crease in the third period, and the situation quickly collapsed.
Lambdin scored two quick goals, at 4:16 and 4:44, to put the Thunder up 5-2.
Collin Adams scored a late goal for Muskegon, then Baker completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal.
Bloomington outshot Muskegon 35-34. Thunder goalie Hayden Lavigne stopped 31 shots to collect the victory.