Lumberjacks show some fight, hold on for 3-2 victory

By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Lumberjacks still have some fight left in them despite near elimination from playoff contention.

The Lumberjacks jumped out to a three-goal lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Youngstown Phantoms in front of 1,876 fans at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday night.lsj-fb-logo

Muskegon bounced back from its heart-breaking loss on Thursday night where it gave up the game-winning goal with .9 seconds left in regulation.

“I was real happy with the way we bounced back even though we didn’t make it easy on ourselves,” said Lumberjacks Coach Todd Krygier. “It’s frustrating the timing of the goals against but the guys found a way to win tonight and I thought they did a good job.

Joey Daccord makes the save for Muskegon. Photo/Carol Cooper

Joey Daccord makes the save for Muskegon. Photo/Carol Cooper

“That was a tough loss last night and it hung with me all throughout the day.”

The Lumberjacks improved to 23-23-6 on season, good for 52 points and seventh place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference. They are 16 points behind Bloomington for the last playoff spot with eight games remaining.

Muskegon will wrap up its three-game week tomorrow night in a rematch against the Phantoms at the L.C. Walker Arena.

Rem Pitlick picked up three assists on the night for Muskegon, giving him 76 points on the season with 40 goals and 36 assists. He currently has a commanding 19 point lead over Cedar Rapids’ Ross Colton for the league lead in points.

Pitlick’s linemates also produced multipoint nights for the Lumberjacks as Matej Paulovic and Collin Adams each scored a goal and picked up an assist.

“They are keeping us around .500,” Krygier said about the line. “We would like to get above .500 tomorrow. But they have great chemistry, they are all smart and they are real good talented players.”

No. 21 Lucas Michaud brings the puck up the ice for the Lumberjacks. Photo/Carol Cooper

No. 21 Lucas Michaud brings the puck up the ice for the Lumberjacks. Photo/Carol Cooper

Lumberjacks goaltender Joey Daccord made a couple incredible saves late in the third period to maintain the lead.  He stopped 32 of 34 Phantom shots.

Daccord returned to action after sitting four straight games in place of backup goalie Devin Cooley.

Adams opened the scoring for the Lumberjacks at the 18:27 mark of the first period. Graham Lillibridge and Pitlick assisted on the tally.

The Lumberjacks increased their lead to 2-0 with a power play goal by Dante Palecco 9:20 into the second period. Pitlick and Paulovic assisted on the goal.

Muskegon increased its lead to 3-0 on a goal by Paulovic at the 5:34 mark of the third period. Pitlick and Adams assisted on the goal.

The Phantoms broke the shutout 6:54 into the third period on a goal from Ty Farmer. The goal was assisted by Detroit Red Wings prospect Chase Pearson.

Youngstown cut its lead to 3-2 with a goal by Connor Moore at the 11:40 mark of the third period.

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