If the Muskegon Lumberjacks are going to get back into the USHL’s playoff race, they had better learn to protect leads.LSJ Logo incert

They certainly failed in that respect on Monday.

The Lumberjacks led by four goals in the second period and three in the third, then gave up three unanswered goals and ended up losing to the host Bloomington Thunder 5-4 in a three-round overtime shootout.

Muskegon dropped to 16-19-5 on the season, good for 37 points and last place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference standings.

The Jacks have now lost three games in a row.

The Lumberjacks opened the scoring at the 8:26 mark of the first period on a goal from Anthony Del Gaizo.

Danny DiGrande gave the Jacks a 2-0 lead with a goal 13:22 into the first period. Lucas Michaud and Graham Lillibridge assisted on the tally.

The Lumberjacks took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission following a goal Michaud at the 15:10 mark. DiGrande and Lillibridge assisted on the goal.

DiGrande scored his second goal of the afternoon at 7:52 of the second period to give Muskegon a 4-0 advantage. Logan Drevitch picked up the lone assist.

The Thunder responded with a power play goal from Patrick Curry at the 17:04 mark of the second period, cutting their deficit to 4-1 after two periods.

But then the Thunder came roaring back, scoring three unanswered third period goals – from Jake Durflinger, Jeremy Davies and Logan Lambdin – to force an overtime period.

The regular overtime period was scoreless, forcing the shootout.

Rem Pitlick scored during the first round of the shootout for the Lumberjacks.

Bloomington’s Tarek Baker and Jake Slaker responded with shootout goals during the first and third round, respectively to seal the win.