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Lumberjacks Stay Staunch Atop Standings

February 22, 2010 - International Hockey League 2 (IHL 2) - Muskegon Lumberjacks News Release

`JACKS TRACKS: Immersed in their most physically and mentally demanding stretch of the 2009-10 International Hockey League schedule, the first place Muskegon Lumberjacks are "holding serve" while at the same time staying the steady course in their concerted effort to continue to grow and improve and play better expressly to capture the IHL Regular Season Championship Huber Trophy crown. Under the doctrine according to head coach Rich Kromm, the Lumberjacks are in the midst of a rather rigorous regimen consisting of 8-games in 12-days, having reached the halfway mark through the past week's workload of 4-games in 5-days. Compiling a 4(2-2-0) record, the `Jacks have maintained a 6-points advantage over second place surging Port Huron which is presently riding the rising tidal wave of a 4-game win streak with 3 off those triumphs coming consecutively in as many nights on the road the past weekend. Through the first 51-games of the current campaign, Muskegon has assembled a magnificent mark of 51(36-12-3) totaling 75-points and a glowing win percentage of.735. Meanwhile, Port Huron's record stands at 52(33-16-3) 69-points with Muskegon having 1-game in hand on the Icehawks. Third place Fort Wayne 49(30-16-3) 63-points, trails the Lumberjacks by 12-points at this juncture of the season. This ambitious Lumberjacks game docket continues this week as the league-leading men confront yet another daunting task of 4-games in 6-days with three of those at the amiable climes and environs of Walker Arena. Tuesday night, the `Jacks have a date in Port Huron in a genuine showdown featuring the top two teams in the loop. Muskegon returns home for the remainder of the last week in February when it hosts Flint Wednesday night on "Muskegon Community College Student Night." Then on Saturday and Sunday, Bloomington and Dayton arrive on the scene for on-ice combat. Saturday night has been designated "Golf Night" while Sunday is another $5 Sunday at 5" at "The Hockey Barn of Bedlam" located at the downtown historical landmark corner of Fourth Street and W. Western Avenue.

THE PRESENTING PROMOS: With three home performances this week to conclude their February schedule, the Lumberjacks front office domos are presenting more premium promo pride for one and all. Wednesday night has been designated another "Muskegon Community College Student Night" as all MCC students with proper ID will receive their seats for only $5. It's also "Alicia Roberts Night." Saturday night is "Golf Night" followed by another ever-popular "$5 Sunday at 5" against Dayton. On Sunday every seat for everyone is specially priced for only $5.

RECORD RESILIENCE: The past week, facing the daunting assignment of 4-games in 5-days, the league-leaders responded with a 4(2-2-0) mark. In the process, they advanced their season log to a league-best 51(36-12-3) for 75-points. Their 36-wins are 3-more than all of the loop and their 12-defeats are 4-fewer than the rest. The win percentile is a sparkling.735. The past week, the Lumberjacks sustained back-to-defeats for only the second time this season as they trembled in the Quad Cities Friday night in a 3-0 shutout setback followed with a Saturday night 5-4 undoing on home ice against Flint. The latter setback halted the club's 7-game win streak which represented theirs and the IHL's second longest of the year. The last 10-games; 10(8-2-0); last 17(14-3-0); last 20(16-4-0). The second half record thus far; 13(10-3-0). Longest win skeins of the year have been 9-in a row and 7-consecutively. Longest overall undefeated streak; 10(9-0-1). The monthly numbers; October 6(3-3-0); November 12(9-1-2); December 12 (8-3-1); January 13(10-3-0); February 8(6-2-0).

DOZEN DOESN'T: When they bowed Saturday night on a late Flint breakaway goal with just 1:08 remaining in regulation time in a 5-4 setback, the first place Muskegonites saw their 11-game home ice win streak stopped, falling a scant 1-win away from matching the Muskegon franchise record of 12-straight home wins established back in the 1996-97 season. It was Muskegon's first loss on home ice in the new calendar year as the `Jackeroos" had not digested a defeat since back on December 26th when Fort Wayne came into town and humbled the Muskegon eminence, 7-2. Earlier in the season, the `Jacks had orchestrated an 8-game win streak at the hallowed halls of Walker. For the season, the Muskegon home mark stands at a brilliant 28(23-5-0); the best of the rest of the IHL. The `Jacks need only 1-more win to duplicate last year's home win output of 24. Moreover, those 23-home wins are 5-more than all of the IHL. The 11-game home win streak did equal the longest in the IHL this season.

INVADE AND PERVADE: When they outlasted the Generals at Flint Sunday, 8-7 in an old-fashioned gunslinging shootout at "OK Corral" under the guise of the Perani Arena, the Lumberjacks registered their 13th road success of the season. In the process, they elevated the foreign ice ledger to a league-best 23(13-7-3). Presently, Muskegon is (4(3-1-0) in its last quartet abroad; last 6(4-2-0); last 8(5-3-0). The longest road win streak and unblemished skein are both the best in the IHL at this hour of the campaign; a 5-game win streak; 5(5-0-0) and an overall undefeated skein of 11(8-0-3). Both of these aforemen-tioned composites represent the best in the IHL for this season.

SCORING AND SNORING: On Sunday, in their 8-7 outlasting of Flint, the highest scoring arsenal in the IHL, the Lumberjacks, broke-out of their group strait jackets with their second highest scoring offensive game production of the season. Despite scoring a rather redoubtable 16-GF for the week for a GFA of 4.00, the Lumberjacks defensive effort was less than exemplary as they uncharacteristically allotted a somewhat bloated 18-GA for a GAA of 4.50. For the season, Muskegon is #1 in the IHL offensively with 185-GF in 51-games for a GFA of 3.63. In the GA category they rank #3 with an allowance of 143-GA for a GAA of 2.70.

SUMMIT SARTORIALS: The league's leading point impresarios have a distinct Lumberjacks influence. 1- Robin Bouchard 51(42-35-77); 2- Todd Robinson 50(16-60-76); 10- John DiPace 33(15-30-45); 23- Matt Krug 51(11-23-34). In Goals: 1- Bouchard (42); In Assists: 1- Robinson (60); 4- Bouchard (35). In PPG: 2- Bouchard (tied) (10); In PP/Assists: 1- Robinson (23). In GWG: 1- Bouchard (tied) (7); 4- Brian Bicek (4). In GWG/OT: 1- Bouchard (3); 2- Robinson (2); Damian Surma (2). In MG; 1- Bouchard (+11). In SOG: 1- Bouchard (239); In Plus/Minus: 1- DiPace (+28); 3- Bouchard (+24); 4- Robinson (+22). In SPCT: 3- Bouchard 42/239:.176. In Rookie Scoring: 4- Krug 51(11-23-34); 9- Matt Robertson 51(9-16-25); 16- J.T. Dahlinger 50(8-11-19). In PPG: 2- Krug (6); In PP/Assists: 3- Krug (7). In Plus/Minus: 3- Dahlinger (+17); 5- Krug (+14). In Defense Scoring: 2- Krug 45(11-23-34); 14- Adam Welch 43(6-10-16). In Goals: 1- Krug (11). In Assists: 3- Krug (23). In PPG: 2- Krug (6). In Plus/Minus: 2- Welch (+16); 4- Krug (+14). In Goaltending: 2- Sebastien Centomo GAA: 2.41; 7- Matt Lundin GAA: 2.85. Centomo is 1st in WINS: (21); SHUTOUTS: 1st (tied) 3. GPI: 34; STARTS: 33. Lundin is #1 IHL in OTSO/SPCT: 12/15;.800; SOW: 2nd with 4.

THE LEGEND OF "BEAUS" GROWS: Veteran right wing Michel Beausoleil has been a dynamic piece of player procurement from the league-leading Lumberjacks. In 4-games the past week, he uncorked 4-cannons while earning a +1 rating and 14-SOG. Included in his weekly numbers were 2-TBG and 1-FG as well as one 2-goal game; his first for the `Jacks. He was hailed as the #1 Star the past Wednesday night in his team's 4-3 spine-tingling, spellbinding 4-3 OTSO triumph over Quad City. "Beau-Beau" then promptly proceeded to snipe a pair of strikes Sunday in his team's 8-7 verdict over his former Flint team. In his first 18-games for the hometown team, he is 18(11-5-16) with 4-PPG, 3-GWG, 2-FG and 67-SOG. Beausoleil is the Lumberjacks nomination for Meijer / IHL Player of the Week.

BACKSTOP BUSINESS: Shouldering his first true heavy load as a rookie pro goaltender in the IHL Matt Lundin's season of initiation and indoctrination continues, and with it, comes growth and maturity. With his tandem-mate Sebastien Centomo on the shelf due to injury, Lundin has played 4-games in 5-days for the first time ever in his competitive career. The past week, playing every minute of every game, he posted a 4(2-2-0) record. He was heralded as the #2 Star last Wednesday night when he backstopped his team to a harrowing, suspenseful 4-3 OTSO triumph over gritty Quad City. He crowned his master-piece by rebuking all 3-Mallards' attempts in the extra session to record his 4th OTSO win of the season which ranks #2 in the league this season. Lundin is the Lumberjacks nomination for Meijer / IHL Goaltender of the Week.

THE RIDE OF "SCHNEID": Rookie defenseman Nick Schneider continues his magic carpet ride across the IHL following his recall from the humble beginnings of the AAHL. Inked to a deal as an emergency replacement last month due to the exorbitant number of injuries that have beset the `Jacks defense all season long, the erstwhile standout at the U. of Connect-icut has staked his claim to a berth on the first place team's roster, having acquitted himself admirably. With a +2 rating this week and a healthy overall +8 rating in his first 16-IHL games with the `Jacks, Schneider is the Lumberjacks nomination for Meijer / IHL Rookie of the Week.

"THE PACE" CAR STAR: Following an extended 6-weeks' stay on the Lumberjacks disabled list, indefatigable right wing John DiPace seems to have finally found his form and found his goal groove. The veteran forward was extraordinary in the recently-completed weekend 2-game home-and-home series against his former Flint team. In the 2-outings, the Clinton Township product authored a prolific 6-points on 3-goals, 3-assists with a masterful +4 rating with 8-SOG. Included in his numerology was a prodigious 5-points enormous performance Sunday in the 8-7 triumph. Named that game's #2 Star, DiPace fashioned his second SHG of the season before saving his best for last. With the touch-in-the-clutch, "Johnny `D'" snapped the 7-7 tie when he wired the TBG/GWG with only 2:32 remaining in regulation time. His 5-points productivity equaled the Lumberjacks best single game individual output thus far this season.

THE BOLT JOLT: Left wing Bobby Bolt enjoyed his best game ever as a pro in his team's 8-7 timbering of Flint. The Anaheim Ducks prodigy authored his first-ever 3-goal "hat trick" as a pro in his team's nail-biting, hand-wringing 8-7 score-fest victory over Flint. Prior to his Sunday coming-out party Bolt had managed a mere 2-goals all season long spanning some 40-games this season. Bolt blistered a pair of strikes in the opening frame of the game before consummating his goal thesis with his third goal of the game in the middle stanza.

THE ROBINSONIAN SMITHSONIAN: As consistently productive as they come, veteran center and team captain Todd Robinson essayed yet another adept and adroit week of scoring escarole. The franchise second all-time scoring virtuoso assumed his usual position as polished precision playmaker extraordinaire as he maestroed 5-assists in 4-games including a trio of helpers in Sunday's gargantuan goal-gushing geyser party at Flint. His first assist in the latter contest attained the coveted and prestigious 1,000th point of his majestic career. In registering points in 18 of his last 19-games, "T. Rob" has collected 30-points in the last 19-games on 3-goals and a masterful, monstrous 27-assists.

SPECIAL TEAMS TALES: While the Muskegon power play experiences its vicissitudes the penalty-killing combination remains at the top of its game at this stage of the season. The man advantage armada is only 1 for the last 12; 8.3%; 2 for the last 23; 8.7%; and 3 for the last 37; 8.1% proficiency. The PK is more than okay. The opposition is 2 for the last 23; 91.3 and 9 for the last 88; 89.6% efficiency rating. When John DiPace connected on a SHG in the Sunday win at Flint, it was his and the team's second SHG of the season.

HALLOWED HISTORY HAILED: With his first of 3-assists in his team's 8-7 triumph Sunday at Flint, Todd Robinson attained the coveted and prestigious 1,000 pro point plateau. In 720-career games, he has amassed an astronomical 725-assists. Michel Beausoleil's TBG goal in the `Jacks 4-3 OTSO win last Wednesday night over Quad City was the 500th point of his pro career. Mario Larocque's (699) next game will be the 700th of his pro career. He is 2-goals away (98) from pro career 100. Billy Collins (385) is 5-games away from tying Rustyn Dolyny (390) for 6th place on Muskegon's all-time games played list. Jordan Little (244) is 6-games from 250. With 5-assists in 4-games the past week, Damian Surma (288) is 12-points from 300.

FEW FUN FAST FACTS FROM "FIC": With their 4-3 OTSO triumph last Wednesday night, the `Jacks swelled their win streak in the OTSO to 5-in a row; last 5(5-0-0). In their 6-wins over Quad City this season, the `Jacks have gain 4 of those in extra time; 2-OTW and 2-SOW. They are 4(4-0-0) against the Mallards in that category this season. Muskegon is undefeated entering the third period with the lead at 24(22-0-2). Robin Bouchard (669) is 14-goals from the record for minor pro hockey at 683.

THE LUMBERJACKS GAME CALENDAR THIS WEEK:

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD THE LUMBERJACKS AT PORT HURON 7:00 PM

When these two top teams in the IHL tangle, again, it will mark the 10th time that they have done so with Muskegon on top in the series, 9(6-2-1). The `Jacks have prevailed in the last pair of encounters, 8-4 in Port Huron back on January 17th and 3-2 in Muskegon on January 27th. The Lumberjacks are 4(2-1-1) at McMorran Place Arena this year.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH FLINT AT THE LUMBERJACKS 7:00 PM

For the third time in the `Jacks last 4-games, they meet-up with the Generals, again. Muskegon tops the season series, 9(5-3-1) with a 4(3-1-0) record on home ice at Walker Arena.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27TH BLOOMINGTON AT THE LUMBERJACKS 7:00 PM

The Lumberjacks will be seeking an unprecedented 12th consecutive victory over the Prairie Thunder and an 8th straight thus far this season. At home, they are 5(5-0-0) and on the road; 3(3-0-0).

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH DAYTON AT THE LUMBERJACKS 5:00 PM

With a current 6-game win streak over Dayton, the Lumberjacks will seek to improve their home record over the Gems to 7(5-2-0). The Gems have administered 2 of Muskegon's 5-home defeats thus far this campaign.

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