By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The Lumberjack surge continues, with no sign of losing steam.

The Jacks, who spent the first two months of the season at or near the USHL Eestern Conference cellar, completed what might have been their most impressive weekend of the season on Saturday.

They beat first-place Green Bay 5-2 on Saturday, completing a  two-night sweep of the Gamblers and inching closer to the top of the standings.

The Lumberjacks are now 15-12-2 on the season, good for 32 points and a tie with Dubuque for second place in the conference.

And Muskegon is now just three points behind Green Bay for the top spot in
the conference.

Emilio Peterson brings the puck around the boards as Green Bay’s No. 5 Michael Bevilacqua tries to poke the puck away. Photo/Leo Valdez

“The guys are playing hard and believing in each other,” said Lumberjacks coach John LaFontaine. “They are making it tough for other teams to play against us. We are getting goaltending, defense and then
offense, and it’s great to see them believing in each other.”

Jacks’ goaltender Keegan Karki had yet another impressive game, stopping 26 of 28 shots.

Anthony Del Gaizo paced the Lumberjacks with two goals, while Bray Crowder added a goal and two assists and Mikael Hakkarainen chipped in with three assists.

Monte Graham had a goal and an assist.

“Guys are playing their roles and understanding them and that is all you can ask,” said Coach LaFontaine.

The Lumberjacks opened the scoring at the 4:09 mark of the first period on a goal from Graham to give Muskegon a 1-0 lead.

Bray Crowder controls the puck for Muskegon. Photo/Leo Valdez

Muskegon quickly increased its lead to 2-0 just 18 seconds later on a goal from captain Anthony Del

The Gamblers cut their deficit to 2-1 at the 4:16 mark of the second period on a goal from Robert Herrman.

The Lumberjacks regained their two-goal edge at 3-1 with a power- play goal by Crowder at the 10:31 mark of the second period.

Muskegon added a late second-period goal by Vincent de Mey at the 19:17 mark, to increase the Lumberjacks’ lead to 4-1 heading into the final stanza.

Green Bay cut its deficit to 4-2 with a goal from Trenton Bliss at the 11:25 mark of the third period.

Del Gaizo closed out the scoring with an empty net goal at the 19:07 mark of the third.

Each team collected 28 shots on goal.