By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Lumberjacks have played more than their share of close games this season, and they’ve managed to win most of them.

That trend continued this weekend against the scrappy Bloomington Thunder.

On Friday the Lumberjacks overcame a one-goal deficit and won in overtime on a goal from Zach Berzolla.

Austin Albrecht finds the puck in traffic and gets a shot off. Photo/Eric Sturr

It happened again on Saturday, when the Jacks overcame a one-goal deficit and grabbed a 3-2 overtime shootout victory over Bloomington in front of 2,367 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.

Andrei Svechnikov scored the winner for the Jacks in the shootout. It was his third game-winning shootout goal of the season.

“This one was a little tougher than last night,” said Lumberjacks coach John LaFontaine. “You know the guys weren’t hitting on all cylinders. We were struggling with executing plays and we wanted some turnovers back.

“But what you take away is the guys kept battling and found a way, and I am proud of them for finding a way.”

The victory was the Lumberjacks’ third in a row and improves their record to 31-16-4 on the season. They are currently in third place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, three points behind the first-place Chicago Steel and one point behind second-place Dubuque.

Collin Adams puts a backhand shot on net. Photo/Eric Sturr

The Lumberjacks hold a strong 10-point advantage over fifth place Green Bay in the race for the final playoff spot with nine regular-season games remaining.

They will close out their three-game weekend on the road on Saturday night against Chicago. Faceoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.

The first period ended in a scoreless tie, just like it did in Friday’s game.

The Thunder opened the scoring 15:31 into the second period with a power play goal from Jake Durflinger.

Muskegon’s Austin Alger answered with a goal a little over a minute later to tie the score at 1-1. Svechnikov notched the lone assist.

Bloomington regained its lead at 3:27of the third period on a goal by Alec Mehr.

The Lumberjacks tied the game again with a power play goal at the 11:08 mark from Keeghan Howdeshell.  Bo Hanson and Alger each assisted on the tally.

The game remained tied through the rest of regulation and seven-minute overtime, forcing the three-round shootout.

Svechnikov sealed the deal for the Lumberjacks, scoring the lone goal in the shootout during the third round.

Bloomington outshot the Lumberjacks by a 44-40 margin.

Adam Brizgala picked up the win in net for Muskegon, stopping 42 of 44 shots.