The Jacks trailed by three goals in the first period, then fought back to tie the game before falling 4-3 to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena in Iowa.
The Roughriders’ game-winning goal was scored by Nikolai Mayorov 2:27 into the extra stanza.
The Lumberjacks are now 11-14-3 on the season, good for 25 points and a tie for sixth-place with Cedar Rapids in the USHL’s Eastern Conference. The top six teams in each conference qualify for postseason play.
Muskegon will look to even the series with the Roughriders in Cedar Rapids on Saturday night, with faceoff set for 8:05 p.m. EST.
“We had a poor start, but it was nice to see us battle back,” said Lumberjacks coach Mike Hamilton. “This game could have gone the other way and got really bad quickly.”
The Lumberjacks pulled starting goalie Eric Green, who stopped six of nine shots, after falling behind 3-0 in the first period.
Muskegon’s Jack Williams came into the game and kept the Lumberjacks close by stopping 38 straight shots before giving up the game-winning goal.
“He played really well tonight, doing something that is not easy to do,” Hamilton said. “I was glad he was ready to go.
“We want to get as many points as we can on this trip, and I hope we can learn from tonight and play a full 60 minutes tomorrow.”
The Roughriders jumped out to a 3-0 lead on first period goals from Ben Meehan (4:03), Michael Posma (5:14) and Donte Lawson (8:33).
Muskegon cut the deficit to 3-1 on a power play goal from Dylan Wendt with just seven seconds left in the opening period. Cedar Rapids had a 16-8 advantage in shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes.
Cam Knuble cut the Lumberjacks’ deficit to 3-2 with a goal at the 1:03 mark of the second period, and that score held up until the third period.
The Lumberjacks tied the game 3-3 on a goal from Christophe Fillion 18:28 into the third period, forcing overtime. But the Roughriders salvaged the win when Mayorov scored in OT.
Cedar Rapids outshot the Lumberjacks by a 48-31 margin. Goalkeeper Derek Mullahy stopped 28 of 31 shots for the Roughriders in net.