February 8, 2012 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Muskegon Lumberjacks
MUSKEGON, Mich. (February 8, 2012) - The Muskegon Lumberjacks will give a nod to the Port City's glorious hockey heritage this weekend, just as their current USHL season revs its engines to the red line.
Following a resounding 6-1 win over Chicago last Saturday, the Lumberjacks (11-19-4, 26 points) will play nine games in 17 days, all against Eastern Conference teams ahead of them in the standings. The critical stretch begins Friday night, as Muskegon hosts the Youngstown Phantoms at 7:15 p.m.
The evening will be a special one at L.C. Walker Arena, as Robin Bouchard's No. 32 will be hung in the rafters along with 10 other local hockey greats. Bouchard, a Quebec-born winger who now lives in Muskegon, scored a record 687 professional goals, most of which came during his 13 seasons on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Bouchard's prolific career will be honored during the first intermission Friday, which is also another Dollar Beer/Hot Dog Night presented by John Morrell. The Lumberjacks are 3-2-1 against the surprising Phantoms (23-13-3, 49 points), who are in position to make the playoffs for the first time in their three-year USHL history.
The Jacks will also face the Phantoms in Youngstown Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., sandwiching a Saturday trip to Indianapolis to face the second-place Ice (23-10-5, 51 points) at 7:05 p.m. at the storied Pepsi Coliseum. Muskegon pulled out a thrilling 5-4 victory in its only previous trip to the Hoosier State Nov. 12.
The Meijer Pregame Show begins 30 minutes prior to every opening faceoff on the radio home of your Lumberjacks, 92.5 The Outlaw (925fmtheoutlaw.com). Voice of the Jacks Matt Gajtka will have the play-by-play, with Muskegon legend Ron Stephenson providing color analysis Friday night.
While the Lumberjacks will have their hands full with Indiana, the Red Wings Alumni Game returns to L.C. Walker Arena Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. 15 Stanley Cups and more than 8,000 games of NHL experience will be represented on the ice, as a stacked Red Wings squad will take on a team of Muskegon hockey greats (see some of the names below). Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under; call (231) 724-JACK to buy yours today!
UPCOMING HOME GAMES Friday vs. YOUNGSTOWN at 7:15 p.m. - Robin Bouchard Night / Join the Lumberjacks as they retire the No. 32 worn by the greatest goal scorer in minor-league hockey history! It's also Dollar Beer/Dollar Hot Dog Night presented by John Morrell. ***Saturday at 7:15 p.m. - RED WINGS ALUMNI GAME featuring Kris Draper, Mickey Redmond, Darren McCarty, Joey Kocur, Robin Bouchard, Jock Callander and many more hockey greats! Call 724-JACK for tickets and information. Friday, February 24 vs. INDIANA at 7:15 p.m. - Dollar Beer/Dollar Hot Dog Night presented by John Morrell. Offer stands from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, February 25 vs. INDIANA at 7:15 p.m. - Give Blood, Play Hockey / The Jacks and the Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive at L.C. Walker Arena from 10:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Contact Sarah Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
* One night after being shutout for just the third time all season, the Lumberjacks matched a season-high in goals scored in a 6-1 blowout of the Chicago Steel Saturday. Not only did they tie their output from a 6-5 triumph Oct. 15 in Sioux Falls, but the Jacks also matched their largest margin of victory, which they achieved in a 5-0 home wipeout of Youngstown Dec. 2. * Saturday's win wasn't just a breakout night for the team, but also for several individuals. Max Shuart (Michigan) ended a seven-game scoring drought with an assist, Czech winger Adam Chlapik did the same with a goal and Mike McNicholas (New Hampshire) lit the lamp for the first time in 10 games. * NHL Draft prospect Matt DeBlouw (Michigan State) had a three-point night against Chicago, making him the seventh Lumberjack to reach that mark this season. Jon Padulo has done it twice, in Indiana Nov. 11 and against Youngstown Dec. 2. Shuart also netted three points in the Jacks' only previous trip to Pepsi Coliseum.
ALUMNI ON THE ATTACK
* Chris Lochner contributed three points (2g, 1a) as Niagara (12-9-7, 11-5-5 Atlantic Hockey) split a home-and-home with Mercyhurst last weekend. The freshman forward from Georgia has nine goals, one off the team lead. Former Muskegon teammate Isaac Kohls added an assist to give him 15 points, good for fifth on the Purple Eagles.
* Ryan Misiak, who had a team-best 58 points for last year's Lumberjacks, scored his third goal of the season Saturday in Mercyhurst's 3-2 win at Niagara. The native of Shelby Township, Mich., has 12 points to place third among freshmen on the second-place Lakers (15-11-4, 12-5-4 Atlantic Hockey).
* It was another big weekend for Michigan State's Matt Berry, who scored in a two-game Spartan sweep of Ohio State. Last year's leading Jacks goal scorer (25) now has nine for the Spartans (15-11-4, 10-9-3 CCHA) and 16 points overall.
* Jaycob Megna, last year's USHL Scholar-Athlete of the Year, racked up a goal and an assist for Nebraska-Omaha (12-11-5, 9-7-4 WCHA), which went 1-0-1 against Bemidji State last weekend. The defenseman's offensive outburst doubled his previous season total, giving him four points on the year.
* Wisconsin (12-14-2, 7-13-2 WCHA) is battling through a rare "down" season, but Brendan Woods has picked up the pace lately. The Virginian scored his fourth goal of the year last weekend as the Badgers suffered two losses to St. Cloud State. His 13 points rank him eighth on the team.
JackSixty presented by Cinema Carousel is a weekly hour-long talk show devoted to your Muskegon Lumberjacks Tuesday night 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 talks hockey with Lumberjacks coaches, players and other featured guests on 98.3 FM WLCS!