MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Lumberjacks scored twice in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and held on in the third period for a 4-2 win over the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Saturday night at L.C. Walker Arena.
Simon Butala posted his second goal of the season and Jakub Lacka registered his team-leading ninth goal of the year, but the Flying Aces (8-9-0-1, 17 points) couldn’t complete the weekend sweep on the heels of a 3-2 win over Sioux City on Friday night.
With the Lumberjacks (6-10-1-1, 14 points) leading 3-1 in the last 10 minutes of the third period, Lacka struck to pull Central Illinois within one. Wojtek Stachowiak jump-started the scoring sequence by hustling to a loose puck behind the Muskegon net. He fed Tyler Madden at the near post and Madden quickly found Lacka all alone just to the right of the crease. Lacka easily deposited the puck into the net to make it a one-goal game with 6:50 left in regulation.
But Muskegon responded less than three minutes later to extend its lead back to two and quiet the Flying Aces’ comeback attempt. Anthony Del Gaizo finished off an odd-man rush for his second goal of the game with 4:10 to play, giving the Lumberjacks their final margin of victory.
Muskegon took control of the game in the second period with the only two goals of the frame. Vincent De Mey converted a rebound from the slot on an extended sequence in the offensive zone for Muskegon, giving the Lumberjacks the lead for good at the 7:50 mark of the middle frame. Wyatt Bongiovanni then provided the eventual game-winning goal on his eighth tally of the year with five minutes, 54 seconds to play in the period.
Keegan Karki made 25 saves for Muskegon to hold the Flying Aces’ offense at bay and earn his second win of the season. Making his second consecutive start in net, Central Illinois' Zach Stejskal finished with 27 saves on 31 shots.
The Flying Aces play just once next weekend, as they return to the state of Michigan to face Team USA (U18) next Saturday night. Faceoff is slated for 6:05 p.m. (CST). Fans can watch the game live on HockeyTV or listen for free on WJBC.com.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20-years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.