MUSKEGON — If there was a good way to wrap up a long and difficult losing season, the Muskegon Lumberjacks figured out how on Saturday: Come from behind to beat the best team in the USHL on the last game of the season.
Muskegon did just that and defeated the Chicago Steel 8-5 in front of 2,376 fans at Trinity Health Arena on Saturday.
While the Lumberjacks left the ice far from perfect, a newly acquired Russian goaltender did leave the arena with a feather in his cap.
Thomas Kiesewetter stopped 35 shots on the night of his first-ever USHL start for the Lumberjacks.
Muskegon backed up its goalie by putting 30 shots on the Steel and had five players with multi-point nights.
The win did not come easy as the Lumberjacks trailed 2-0 after the first period, giving up goals to Chicago’s Brady Arneson and Quinn Finley.
Muskegon managed a scoring outburst in the second and third periods, netting all eight of its goals.
Easton Young got the train to start turning around for Muskegon, putting his team on the board early in the second period. Less than a minute later, Michael Callow tied the score.
After Chicago’s Finley scored his second goal of the night to put Muskegon down 3-2, the Lumberjacks’ Matvei Gridin tied the score back up.
Nicholas Rexine put Muskegon up 4-3, but Chicago’s Finley tied the score soon after and completed his first hat trick this season.
George Fegaras opened the third period with a goal just 24 seconds in for the Lumberjacks. Ethan Fredericks followed up five minutes later and Muskegon held a 6-4 lead.
Callow then tallied his second goal of the night as did Fredericks just as time ran out, giving Muskegon the win.
Chicago’s Jack Harvey tallied his 40th goal this season after Muskegon’s three straight goals in the third period.
The leading Muskegon point getter on the night was Cody Croal with three assists. Ethan Whitcomb and Justin Solovey each posted two assists in the win. Rexine also had two points with a goal and an assist.
The Lumberjacks finished the season in seventh place of the Eastern Conference with a 27-32-3 record.
Photos courtesy of Sondra Workman.