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 Muskegon Lumberjacks

Connor's Hattrick, Gadzhiev's 32 Saves Lift Jacks To 5-2 Win Over Waterloo

March 2, 2024 - United States Hockey League (USHL)
Muskegon Lumberjacks News Release

MUSKEGON, MI - It was a heart-breaking finish last night with a last chance comeback effort falling short against Madison, but the Muskegon Lumberjacks 29-17-1-1, 60 pts.) responded in a big way with a 5-2 win over the Waterloo Black Hawks (29-18-0-1, 59 pts.) on Saturday night.

Lumberjacks forward Joe Connor (Amherst, NH) had a big night on the scoresheet and it started at the 10:31 mark of the first period when he scored a power play goal to give his team a 1-0 lead. Ethan Whitcomb (St. Catherines, ON, CAN) sent the puck from the nearside across the way to Matvei Gridin (Kurgan, RUS). With no shooting lane available Gridin passed the puck down to Conner in the corner. Connor moved along the bottom of the goal line and popped towards the front of the net allowing him to lift the puck over the goalies shoulder for his first goal of the game.

Just a minute and a half later the Jacks struck again this time after a strong play from Cooper Pierson (Zionsville, IN) won the Jacks possession at the top of their own zone. Pierson tapped the puck forward to Ty Henricks (Mission Viejo, CA) sending him on a breakaway. The Rangers prospect chose to shoot, and chose correctly beating the netminder for his 14th goal of the season.

With a 2-0 leading entering the second period the Jacks scored the only goal of the frame about halfway through. Again it was Connor from Gridin, though this time Gridin caused a turnover in the Jacks zone and lead a 2-on-1 rush up the ice. At the bottom hashmark Gridin slid the puck backdoor for both guys' second point of the night.

Connor completed the hattrick to open the scoring in the third at the 9:29 mark. Jack Galanek (Hopkinton, MA) held the puck at the bottom of the far circle in the offensive zone and moved it to Connor inside the slot. Connor ripped a wrister to the back of the net for his third goal of the game, his second career hat trick.

Waterloo struck twice to bring the game close. First, at the 13:43 mark Landon Nycz scored his first career USHL with a shot from the middle of the blueline. Then, Myles Hilman found a way to muscle the puck into the back of the net while on a power play at the 15:33 mark.

Gridin picked up his third point of the night with an empty net goal with 18 seconds left. Cody Croal (North Branch, MN) picked up the assist on the goal.

Shikhabudtin Gadzhiev (Makhachkala, RUS) (10-6-0-0) stopped 33 of 35 shots sent his way enroute to his 10th win in the USHL. Jack Spicer (11-11-0-1) ends his long weekend with 22 saves on 26 shots in the losing effort.

The Jacks hit the road next week for a three-game series in Youngstown against the Phantoms. The games can be found on the official live stream partner of the USHL, FloHockey, and for free on the Lumberjacks Hockey Network on Mixlr.

For schedules, scores, updates, and more visit Check out the Jacks on social media @muskegonjacks on Instagram and X, @muskegonlumberjacks on TikTok for special content!

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