Dubuque defenseman Braden Doyle was the biggest problem for Muskegon. He came into the game with only one goal on the season, then exploded for three on Friday, including two in the pivotal third period.
The Lumberjacks fell 9-10-2 on the season. Dububue improved to 15-3-1. The two teams will have a rematch on Saturday night in Dubuque, beginning at 8:05 p.m. EST.
The Lumberjacks were outshot 35-19, but Muskegon Coach Mike Hamilton questioned that stat after the game.
“I think we had many scoring chances, and more shots than what were posted on the stat sheet,” Hamilton said. “We struggled against a team that is committed to playing a solid defensive game.
“During the third period we also committed a crucial penalty that Dubuque scored on, and also lost a faceoff that led to another goal.”
Doyle started the scoring in the first period with a goal at 8:28. Dubuque’s Matt Kopperud added a tally at 17:15, and the Fighting Saints led 2-0 at the first break.
Muskegon’s Tanner Kelly scored the only goal of the second period at 7:06 – with assists from Grant Docter and Dylan Wendt – making the score 2-1 headed into the third. It was Kelly’s second goal of the season.
Doyle scored his second goal of the game just 1:35 into the third period, giving Dubuque a 3-1 lead. Muskegon’s Christophe Fillion scored his sixth goal of the season at the 3:46 mark, pulling the Jacks within one again. Oliver MacDonald and Alex Konovalov assisted.
But Stephen Halliday and Doyle scored for the Fighting Saints at 9:15 and 14:05, respectively, putting the game on ice for the home team.
Muskegon goalie Jack Williams took the loss, while Fighting Saints goalie Erik Portello got a win on a light night of work, stopping 17 of 19 shots.