By Steve Gunn and Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – Muskegon Lumberjacks fans are starting to learn that there’s no reason to panic when their team trails after two periods.lsj-fb-logo

That’s because the Lumberjacks are starting to specialize in third-period comebacks.jacks-transparent

The latest came on Sunday afternoon, and it couldn’t have been more impressive.

Muskegon trailed Madison by three goals after two periods, and appeared to be headed toward an ugly loss.

But the Lumberjacks woke up in the third period, getting goals from Collin Adams, Matt Steeves and Koby Bender to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Then young Russian star Andrei Svechnikov scored on a wraparound goal 27 seconds into overtime to give the Lumberjacks a dramatic 5-4 victory in front of 1,301 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.

The come-from-behind win was Muskegon’s third in a row. Last Saturday the Jacks rallied in the third period to beat Dubuque, and last night rallied in the third period to beat Cedar Rapids.

Andrei Svechnikov just misses high on Madison’s goalie.  (photo/Eric Sturr)

Andrei Svechnikov just misses high on Madison’s goalie. (photo/Eric Sturr)

The Jacks are now 11-5 on the season and have won seven of their last nine games.

Lumberjacks Coach John LaFontaine would prefer to win games the conventional way, by taking early leads and holding them, but he’s happy to see his team fight back, game after game.

“That’s three in a row going into the third where we were down,” LaFontaine said. “That’s not a good recipe, but give them credit. They keep fighting and find ways to win. That’s a sign of great character.”

Penalties were a problem for the Lumberjacks in the first two periods. Madison had five power play opportunities and cashed in on three to build an early advantage.

Two Madison power play goals came in the second period, when the Capitols outscored the Jacks 3-1 and put themselves in a position to win.

Giving up the shorthanded goals was unusual for the Lumberjacks, who came into the game having killed 16 of their opponents’ previous 17 power plays.

“I thought we played a good second period until we took the penalties,” said LaFointaine, whose entered the contest as the most penalized team in the USHL. “When you look at the shots on goal, we were up 11-0 during the first half of the second, and then it just melted down after that.”

Keenan Suthers battles for the puck along the boards.  (photo/Eric Sturr)

Keenan Suthers battles for the puck along the boards. (photo/Eric Sturr)

The Jacks made up for the shorthanded goals by scoring two power play goals themselves. That makes three in two games for the Jacks, who had gone five games and 19 chances without a power play goal prior to Saturday.

Madison opened the scoring with a power play goal by Alexander Broetzman at the 5:38 mark of the first period.

Muskegon tied the game 1-1 with a power play goal by Steeves 16:25 into the opening period.

Then Madison’s Easton Brodzinski went on a scoring spree, tallying a quick hat trick with three goals in the second period. He scored at 8:44, 15:00 and 18:40 to give the Capitols a 4-1 advantage.

The Lumberjacks cut their deficit to 4-2 at the 4:30 mark of the third period when Adams scored his 10th goal of the season. Svechnikov assisted on the goal.

Muskegon cut its deficit to 4-3 on Steeves’ second power play goal of the contest at 12:12 of the third period. Adams and Svechnikov had assists.

Bender scored 15:13 into the third period to tie the game, with assists from Marc Del Gaizo and Jordan Timmons.

Svechnikov finished things off and started the celebration with his wraparound goal just 27 seconds into the extra session.