MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Lumberjacks scored the first two goals of the game and held on for a 2-1 win over the Central Illinois Flying Aces on Wednesday night at L.C. Walker Arena.
Flying Aces goaltender Ryan Snowden (Ohio State University) made a season-high 45 saves, but his effort wasn’t enough in the fifth game in eight days for Central Illinois (12-25-5, 29 points).
Muskegon’s Colby Bukes started the scoring in the first period with a goal on a zone rush. Bukes lugged the puck out of his own zone, carried it down the left wing into the offensive end and let a shot go from the top of the left circle. That shot deflected off Snowden to give the Lumberjacks (21-17-2, 44 points) the 1-0 edge nine minutes, 44 seconds into the frame.
Neither team scored for another 30 minutes until the Lumberjacks’ Bobby Kaiser found the back of the net a little more than two minutes into the third period. Kaiser ripped a shot from the right wing that snuck under the arm of Snowden to double Muskegon’s advantage to two.
Central Illinois broke up the Muskegon shutout with less than nine minutes gone in the final period. Right off a faceoff in the offensive zone, Sebastian Dirven (Cornell University) fired the puck wide of the net off the end boards, but Jamie Armstrong (Northeastern University) smacked the rebound past Muskegon netminder Keegan Karki. Armstrong’s second tally in as many nights cut the Flying Aces’ deficit to one at the 8:33 mark of the third.
Although the Flying Aces were outshot by 19, Snowden kept them in the game with one of his best performances of the year. Snowden turned aside 18 of the 19 shots he saw in the first period and stopped 27 of the last 28 he faced over the final two frames.
After four straight games on the road, Central Illinois returns home this weekend for a two-game series against the Green Bay Gamblers. That series starts with a Saturday night matchup at Grossinger Motors Arena at 7:07 p.m. Saturday night is Pink in the Rink Night and features a Flying Aces t-shirt giveaway for the first 500 fans courtesy of State Farm and $1 hot dogs throughout the game. Central Illinois will also wear special jerseys on Pink in the Rink Night, and fans can win the jerseys in a silent auction during the game.
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.