MUSKEGON, Mich. – The Central Illinois Flying Aces fell, 4 to 3, to the Eastern Conference leading Muskegon Lumberjacks. Cal Kiefiuk (Macomb, Mich.) recorded two points to become the all-time leading scoring for the Flying Aces, passing former captain, Tarek Baker, now in his second season with the University of Wisconsin.
Muskegon scored three first period goals to get an early lead. Their first came with a power play goal from Alex Yakovenko, the league-leader in scoring for defensemen. Yakovenko dragged the puck around a shot block and wristed the puck past the netminder at 9:13 in the first. Egor Afanasyev scored the Lumberjacks’ second of the period at 10:32 in the first with a top-corner shot. Danil Gushchin tallied the third in the period with a blast from the point that went off a body in front of the net to deflect into the goal at 18:49.
The Flying Aces opened the second period with an early power play goal from Trevor Janicke (Maple Grove, Minn.). Lynden Breen (Grand Bay-Westfield, NB) passed along the boards up to Ryan Siedem (Madison, NJ). Siedem quickly passed over to Janicke at the top of the right circle. The Notre Dame commit wristed the puck to the back of the net for his thirteenth of the season at 2:05 in the second.
Twenty-three seconds later, Muskegon restored their three-goal lead with a goal from Bobby Lynch after an outlet pass from Yakovenko.
Tyler Gratton (Pottstown, Penn.) scored his first with Central Illinois at 3:08 in the third. John Driscoll (Littletown, Colo.) started the play with a pass out from the defensive zone to Kiefiuk in the neutral zone. Kiefiuk quickly passed up to Philippe Lapointe (Burr Ridge, Ill.). Lapointe spun around until he could find Gratton flying down the right lane. Gratton executed a spinorama and scored.
Late in the third period, Kiefiuk won a draw. Lapointe quickly grabbed the puck and passed to Gratton down low. Gratton backhanded the puck past the goaltender to make it a one-goal game.
Central Illinois had several chances late, but could not crack the Muskegon goaltender for the tying goal.
Tomorrow, the Flying Aces conclude their stretch of away games with a second game against Muskegon. They return home next weekend for a two-game slate against the Tri-City Storm on Friday, February 15th for Special Olympics Night and Saturday, February 16th for Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by OSF HealthCare.
For tickets or more information, call the Flying Aces at 309-434-2980 or visit www.flyingaceshockey.com.
ABOUT THE FLYING ACES
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. 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.