Huber Trophy Champs Hold Home Serve
`JACKS TRACKS: The newly-crowned 2009-10 International Hockey League Huber Trophy Regular Season Champions, the Muskegon Lumberjacks have celebrated their decorated 50th Anniversary Season, thus far, by climbing into a 2(2-0) advantage in their opening round Turner Cup Semi-Finals Playoffs series against the franchise long-time archenemies, the fourth place finishing Flint Generals. By holding serve in capturing conquests through the initial pair of contests on home ice at Walker Arena, the Lumberjacks may have compelled the redoubtable Generals to follow suit by holding serve at their home of Flint's Perani which will act as the backdrop for games #3 and #4 this Tuesday night, April 27th and Thursday night, April 29th with both clashes set for 7:00 pm opening face-offs. Under the direction of head coach Rich Kromm, the Lumber-jacks claimed game #1 the past Friday night when they surmounted 1-0 shortfall of brevity to overcome the formidable Generals, 2-1. In game #2 Saturday night, once again, the home team surrendered the game's FG but once more, the disad-vantage was slight as the "Jackeroos" riposted with a pair of unanswered second period goals, 3-consecutive goals in total before triggering a "trifecta" in the third frame of the same game to defeat Flint, 6-4. Should games 5, 6 and 7 be necessary, those collisions are on the docket for Saturday, May 1st in Muskegon; Tuesday, May 4th in Flint and Wednesday, May 5th at Muskegon.
RECORD RED GLARE: By virtue of their victories in the initial two games of their best-of-7 semi-finals series over Flint, the Lumberjacks have advanced and otherwise enhanced their record, incorporating the regular season to 7(5-1-1) in the last 7-games; last 15-games; 15(11-2-2); last 18(13-3-2). For the month of April, the Muskegon mark is 10(7-2-1). Against Flint this season, they are 15(9-4-2) overall and 7(5-1-1) in the last 7-affairs; last 14(9-3-2).
HOME ZONE OF OWN: By gaining a 2(2-0) advantage in their opening round playoffs series, the Lumberjacks have extended their latest unsullied skein on home ice to an impressive 8-straight dates at 8(7-0-1). Their last setback at home was back on March 10th when the Mallards of the Quad Cities marooned Muskegon, 4-3. The `Jacks longest win streaks of the season have been an IHL league-wide matching best of 11-in a row. They also have assembled win streaks of 8-straight and 5-consecutively this season. On home ice against Flint this season; 8(6-1-1); last 4(3-0-1); dating back to last season; last 11(9-1-1) with 4-shutouts in that stretch.
THE ROAD SHOW SHINES: The `Jacks embark on their initial foreign ice warfare in the post-season come Tuesday and Thursday nights in Flint for games #3 and #4, toting the circuit's supreme travelogue listing. During the regular phase, they were a league-best 38(21-13-4), having a 3-game win streak severed in their most recent road sojourn as they trembled at Flint in their regular season finale back on April 17th, 3-2. In their last 6-abroad; 6(4-2-0); last 10(6-3-1). Muskegon's best spans away from home bay was a 5-game win streak, the second longest in the IHL this season and a league-best 11-games' unbeaten streak at 11(8-0-3). They were 7(3-3-1) in Flint this season. It's interesting to note that the `Jacks regular season emanated and culminated with defeats at Flint; opening night, October 16th, 3-1, and as previously alluded to, 3-2 in the last game of the season, April 17th.
GF / GA IN PLAY: The Lumberjacks were the highest scoring arsenal in the loop during the regular season and they are sustaining such scoring sorcery in the early days of the playoffs' post-season. In the 76-games comprising the regular season, the men of Muskegon lumber cranked 283-GF for a GFA of a bounteous 3.71. Thus far in he playoffs, they have sniped 8-strikes for a GFA of 4.00. Through their mark of 15(11-2-2) in the last 15-decisions, the Huber Trophy kingpins have out-scored the opposition, 55-38. In the last 18(13-3-2) the GA has been 40 for a GAA of 2.22.
POINT PACES ACES: The Lumberjacks leading point-meisters through the first 2-games of the playoffs series against the Generals; IHL Scoring Champion Todd Robinson 2(1-4-5) +1; 2- Jason Lawmaster 2(0-3-3) +1; 3- Mario Larocque 2(1-1-2) +2; 4- Robin Bouchard 2(0-2-2) E. The Lumberjacks have smacked of well-balanced scoring as 8-different sharpshooters have fashioned the club's first 8-goals in this series; Robinson (ENG); Larocque (TBG); Matt Krug (GTG/PPG); Jordan Little (SHG/GWG); Michel Beausoleil (GTG/PPG); Billy Collins (SHG/TBG); John DiPace (TBG/GWG/PPG); Damian Surma.
THE "T. ROB" RITZ: Three time league scoring titlist Todd Robinson has already engineered 2-multi-point games in the first 2-games in the series. He has been especially prominent and paramount to his team's special teams. Of his first 5-points, 4-have stemmed from such uneven situations, delivering 2-PP/Assists in game #1 followed by an expert, extraordinary ENG which was preceded by 2-SHG/Assists in the game #2 triumph trump of the Flint club.
FLASHING HIS BADGE: The Lumberjacks "Lawman," defenseman Jason Lawmaster's Muskegon history has been one of playoffs perfection. Thus far, through the opening 2-games of the semi-finals, the "Lawman's" legend continues. In game #2, he was acclaimed the game's #1 Star, essaying 3-assists, 5-SOG and superb +2 rating in his squad's 6-4 triumph of Flint. Of his 3-arrangements, 1 came on the game's GTG/PPG from Michel Beausoleil with another on Jordan Little's SHG/GWG.
IT'S "BILLY C." TIME!: Seven-year veteran Billy Collins has been a member in good standing of Muskegon's last two title timber teams, in 2003-04 and 2004-05. "Billy C.'s" calling card has always read "playoffs personified." Delivering a team-best, brilliant +3 enormous performance in the game #2 triumph, he adeptly and adroitly authored a majestic Muskegon TBG/SHG Saturday night, expressly snapping the 1-1 saw-off and creating a lead the "Jackeroos" never renounced. It was Collins team-high 3rd SHG of the season with the triumvirate triggered in this month of April over an 8-games stretch.
"THE ROCK" SOCK: Eleven-year veteran defenseman Mario Larocque has really stepped-up on the backline for the hometown team. The sharp, savvy rearguard has registered a point in each of the first 2-games of the series, including the key, touch-in-the clutch second unanswered second stanza strike stoked in game #2 in the 6-4 victory verdict. He has fired 9-SOG in the series first 2-games and has earned a +2 rating.
A "LITTLE" MAGIC: An unexpected source surfaced offensively for the league-leading men in game #2 Saturday night when hard-nosed defensive-minded defenseman Jordan Little uncorked the GWG/SHG in the third period of his team's 6-4 decisioning of the Generals. The former Kalamazoo Wings defenseman collected 2-goals during the regular season with both of those brewed in the same game.
BLUELINE LUSTER: The unsung and unheralded heroes of the Lumberjacks blueline brigade have unexpectedly emerged with a potency potion aid to Muskegon's mighty munitions. The quartet of Jason Lawmaster 2(0-3-3); Mario Larocque 2(1-1-2); Matt Krug (1-0-1) and Jordan Little (1-0-1) have combined to the tune of 3-goals, 4-assists, 7-points, having accounted for 3 of the team's first 8-goals in the series and 7 of the team's total of 20-points.
SPECIALISTS SPARK: Through the opening 2-games of this series against Flint, the Lumberjacks special teams have truly exerted their influence for the lead of 2-games to none. No fewer than 5 of the `Jacks 8-goals have been by way of uneven strength. In fact, Muskegon's first threesome of strikes were stoked on the PP including both connections in the game #1 2-1 triumph. In game #2, it was the shorthand band that struck-up the chords, delivering 2-SHG in the 6-4 conquest. Meanwhile, the Lumberjacks PK team, which operated at over 91% efficiency throughout the second half of the season, was an impeccable 6-6 in the first game before Flint counterattacked with a 2-10 output on the second night.
FEW FUN FAST FACTS FROM "FIC": This is the fifth time that Muskegon, in its 50th year and Flint, in its 40th year, have locked antlers in the playoffs and the first time since 1999-00 when the Generals ousted the then defending league champions Muskegon in the semi-finals 5(4-1). Flint proceeded to capture its last crown that season. This is the third consecutive time the two teams have found each other in the playoffs with Rich Kromm as the Muskegon coach. The incumbent coach is 2(1-1) against Flint, eliminating the latter club in the semi-finals one year earlier in '98-99 in "The Kromminator's" first Muskegon campaign, 7(4-3). Muskegon hoisted high to the sky its first of 4- coronations of the league nation over the span of 6-years. That represents Muskegon's lone playoff series success in 4-attempts against their archrivals.
LEGENDS, YOUNG GUNS AND LUMBERJACKS: All the Lumberjacks game broadcasts in the 50th Anniversary Season as well as the Monday Night "Jacks Jam" can be heard on exclusive flagship radio station WLAW 92.5 FM, "THE OUTLAW." The Monday night "Jacks Jam" is every Monday night from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, live from FRICANO'S MUSKEGON LAKE. The "Voice" of the Lumberjacks, Terry Ficorelli has all of the Jacks on radio action. The `Jacks game broadcasts can also be found on the world wide web at www.muskegonlumberjacks.com.
THE LUMBERJACKS DAILY UPDATE REPORTS: Tune in every day even when there is not a game, as Terry Ficorelli brings you up to date with the Lumberjacks Hockey Update, Monday through Friday at 5:57 pm on WEFG-FM 97.5, "THE CHAMP." There are also Lumberjacks daily reports throughout the day in Grand Haven on WGHN Radio, "Sports Radio 1370 ESPN."
LUMBERJACKS TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for all Lumberjacks home games for the 2009-10 season are on sale at the Walker Arena Box Office, all Ticketmaster Centers or by phone at (231)726-2400; VISA / MASTERCARD accepted. For great group rates and birthday parties with the Lumberjacks, phone the Lumberjacks office at (231) 726-3879 or visit our website at www.muskegonlumberjacks.com. Once again, all this season at every home game, all youth tickets (17-under) are only $5 as presented by Muskegon Community College.
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