By Dave Hart
MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Lumberjacks displayed their offensive potential last weekend during the first two games of the season, scoring 10 goals.
The Lumberjacks held the visitors to 10 shots through the first 40 minutes of the game, then killed off a late Team USA 5-on-3 power play to force overtime.
Then Muskegon’s Scooter Brickey notched the game-winning goal 1:14 into the extra session on a shot from the left point that gave the Jacks an exciting 2-1 victory.
“Through two and a half periods I liked our game,” said first-year Lumberjacks Coach John LaFontaine, whose team improved to 2-1 on the season. “I thought our guys played much better defense then we have been.
“I am really happy with the effort and the strides they have made. We want to get better and better each week.”
Muskegon’s goaltender Keith Petruzzelli stopped 21 Team USA shots, including a few key saves late in the game when Team USA had its two-man advantage and threatened to take the lead.
“He’s (Petruzzelli) is seeing the puck right now, you can just see his poise, and there is no panic to his game,” LaFontaine said.
The Lumberjacks were also brilliant on their penalty kill, holding Team USA to six failed power play attempts. Muskegon also struggled on the power play, going 0-for-7.
The game was scoreless after two periods.
Muskegon finally broke the deadlock 4:29 into the third period when Keeghan Howdeshell took a pass from Will Smith in the neutral zone and broke in alone for a breakaway goal. Will Smith and Zach Berzolla had assists.
Team USA tied the game 1-1 at the 16:43 mark of the third period on a goal by Jacob Tortora.
The Lumberjacks had a chance to score the game winner in regulation with a 5-on-3 power play for 32 seconds late in the contest, but failed to convert.
The contest went into a seven-minute overtime period.
Brickey scored the game-winning goal for Muskegon 1:14 into the extra session. Collin Adams and Logan Drevitch assisted on the goal.
Muskegon outshot Team USA by a 36-22 margin.
The Lumberjacks will travel to Cedar Rapids next weekend to play the RoughRiders on Friday and Saturday night.