VS. green bay gamblers
L.C. WALKER ARENA, MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN
SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2012
The Muskegon Lumberjacks, while still not mathematically eliminated from this year’s Clark Cup playoffs, will try to play the role of spoiler tonight at L.C. Walker Arena when they entertain the Green Bay Gamblers. Green Bay clinched a share of the Anderson Cup with a win last night in Youngstown, and the Gamblers can grab the USHL’s regular-season crown all by themselves by earning a single standings point this evening. Muskegon is winless in five meetings with the league’s best team, but the Jacks took the Gamblers to the wire in a 2-1 home defeat last Thursday.
Last time out
The Lumberjacks (15-29-7, 37 points / 8th in East) jumped out to a solid start Friday night against the National Under-18 Team, outshooting their opponent 7-2 in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, the NTDP escaped the period with a 1-0 lead and scored the first five goals in a 6-1 victory in Muskegon. University of Maine recruit Ryan Lomberg reached the 20-goal plateau late in the second to prevent the shutout, set up by Tyler Heinonen (Michigan Tech), who has scored at least a point in 18 of his last 26 matches.
The Gamblers (42-8-2, 86 points / 1st in East) entered Friday night’s third period in Youngstown trailing 3-2, but Green Bay poured in four goals on 20 shots in the final stanza to snatch a 6-3 comeback win at Covelli Centre. C.J. Eick (Michigan Tech) put together a huge night, with two goals and an assist. Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Alex Broadhurst scored on a late penalty shot and added a helper, and future Western Michigan Bronco Kyle Novak continued his solid season with two points, giving him 51 in his first full USHL campaign.
- Lomberg netted the Lumberjacks’ lone goal last night, and the Ontario-born product of the Hill Academy leads the team with 20 red lights and 34 points. Only one Jack scored 20 goals last season, current Michigan State freshman Matt Berry, who had 25 to lead Muskegon’s first entry in the USHL. Berry scored 11 goals for the Spartans this season, including MSU’s only tally yesterday afternoon when it fell to Union in the NCAA regional round.
- The National Team has had great success limiting opponents’ shots this season, and it showed in back-to-back games against the Lumberjacks. Muskegon managed a mere 35 shots combined over its last two tilts and didn’t break the 20-shot barrier in either game. The Jacks were held in the teens in that category by the NTDP four times in the eight-game season series, including a season-low 15 shots Jan. 27 in Ann Arbor.
- Heinonen is Muskegon’s leading scorer against Green Bay this season, with four points (1g, 3a) in five games so far. Lomberg has two goals and four other players have two points vs. the Gamblers. In the two teams’ previous meeting March 15 in Muskegon, defenseman Zach Yoder potted the Jacks’ only goal in a tight 2-1 defeat; it was the rookie’s first USHL goal and point.
- Last night’s comeback victory in Youngstown gave Green Bay its league-best 24th road win; the Gamblers have lost only three times all year away from the Resch Center. The 24 triumphs as the visitor ties the all-time USHL record set by the 2004-05 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. With eight games to play, Green Bay is six wins shy of the league mark for overall wins, which Des Moines set in 1998-99.
- If and when the Gamblers cinch the Anderson Cup, it will mark the third time in the last four years that they’ve been the USHL’s best regular-season team. They have reached the 40-win plateau in three straight seasons, making them the league’s most successful team during that span. Green Bay has made the Clark Cup Final in the last two springs, winning it all in 2009-10 over Fargo before falling to Dubuque last year in four games.
- Broadhurst (Nebraska-Omaha) has only played three games in the season series with Muskegon, but the 19-year-old pro prospect has accumulated eight points (4g, 4a) over that span. His 58 points rank him second on the Gamblers, behind only Nolan LaPorte (Western Michigan), who has six of his 60 points and five of his team-best 31 goals against the Lumberjacks this season. Goalie Michael Rotolo has three wins in four starts vs. Muskegon.
UPCOMING GAMES (All times eastern)
- TONIGHT vs. GREEN BAY at 7:15 p.m. – Ollie’s Birthday / Bring a present for our mascot’s first birthday and receive a free kids’ ticket to the game. All gifts will be donated to the Rescue Mission!
- Friday, March 30 @ DUBUQUE at 8:05 p.m.
- Saturday, March 31 @ WATERLOO at 8:05 p.m.
- Sunday, April 1 @ GREEN BAY at 4:05 p.m.
- Friday, April 6 @ GREEN BAY at 8:05 p.m.
- Saturday, April 7 vs. DUBUQUE at 7:15 p.m. – Fan Appreciation Night / The Lumberjacks thank you for your support this season! Enjoy prizes and giveaways all night long.
FOLLOW THE JACKS ALL SEASON
92.5 FM The Outlaw is the exclusive radio home of your Muskegon Lumberjacks! Listen over the air or check out the action streaming online at 925fmtheoutlaw.com as Voice of the Jacks Matt Gajtka has the play-by-play. The Meijer Pregame Show begins 30 minutes prior to every game. The USHL is also partnering with FastHockey.com to provide video coverage of all league games this season!
JackSixty presented by Cinema Carousel is a weekly hour-long talk show devoted to your Muskegon Lumberjacks Tuesday nights from 6-7 p.m. at Hennessy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. Located at the corner of Jefferson and Clay Streets in the heart of Muskegon, Hennessy’s plays host as Gajtka and co-host Antonio Bartoli talk hockey with Lumberjacks coaches, players and other featured guests on 98.3 FM WLCS!
THE SOCIAL NETWORKS
Never go hungry for Jacks news: “Like” the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Facebook and follow “@MuskegonJacks” on Twitter to stay plugged into the Jacks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, find the Jacks’ exclusive YouTube channel at youtube.com/MuskegonJacks!