By Dave Hart
Since then the Lumberjacks have been on a roll, winning seven straight games. Then the Phantoms came to town on Saturday night and brought the streak to an end.
Muskegon fell behind by two goals, came back for the second straight night to force overtime, but the Phantoms and the officiating were too much for the Jacks, who fell 4-3 at the L.C. Walker Arena.
The Lumberjacks are now 7-4-1 on the season, good for 15 points and a tie for second place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference.
Muskegon will remain home next weekend, facing the Green Bay Gamblers twice, starting on Friday night at 7:05 p.m.
“It was good to see the guys battle back,” said Lumberjacks coach Mike Hamilton. “It was a great weekend to come away with three points, and we will take that any weekend.”
The Lumberjacks tied the game with 1:25 left in regulation, but lost their momentum when they were called for two penalties, with seven seconds left in regulation and 11 seconds into overtime, and had to play with two men short.
Muskegon managed to kill the penalties, then had a short power play of its own that did not produce a goal. The Phantoms managed to score the game-winning goal on a two-on-one break with 46 seconds left in OT, when both teams were at full strength.
“At the end of the day we can complain about calls, but we lost that game in the second period,” said Hamilton. “We lost our momentum in the second and let the game get away from us at that point.”
The Lumberjacks opened the scoring at the 17:15 mark of the first period when Luke Mobley notched his fifth goal of the season, and Muskegon led 1-0 at the first break.
Youngstown’s Yusaku Ando scored two unanswered goals at the 7:55 and 11:54 marks of the second period to give the Phantoms a 2-1 lead.
The Phantoms increased their advantage to 3-1 at 14:12 of the second period on a goal from Jake Suede.
The Lumberjacks cut their deficit to 3-2 on a Cam Knuble goal 6:06 into the third period.
Muskegon had a power play with just under three minutes remaining, and the Jacks pulled their goalie with 1:45 left, giving the home team a two-man advantage.
The Jacks cashed in with a power play goal by Tanner Edwards at 18:35 of the third period, tying the game 3-3.
After Muskegon killed off Youngstown’s two-man advantage, and failed on its own power play, Youngstown’s Jayson Dobay scored the game-winning goal.
The Lumberjacks killed eight of the nine Youngstown power plays, while going 1-for-6 when they had the man advantage.
The Phantoms outshot Muskegon by a 41-34 margin.
Noah Giesbrecht stopped 37-of-41 shots in net for the Lumberjacks.