Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wednesday game preview: Ice vs. Muskegon

Muskegon Lumberjacks (22-23-8, 5th USHL East)
Indiana Ice (33-16-4, 3rd USHL East)
7:05 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 / Pepsi Coliseum 

Head to head (Ice 4, Lumberjacks 1 -- each team 1 OTL).
Oct. 2: Ice 4, Lumberjacks 1 (at Muskegon). Blake Coleman 2G, Casey DeSmith 28 saves
Oct. 23: Lumberjacks 5, Ice 4, SO (at Muskegon). Nick Mattson 2A for Ice, Taft G, A for Muskegon
Jan. 7: Ice 7, Lumberjacks 1 (at Indiana). Peter Schneider 2G, Coleman/Ferlin/Tarasov G, A.  DeSmith 27sv.

Jan. 25: Ice 5, Lumberjacks 4, OT (at Indiana). Nick Mattson GWG, Coleman 3A. Ice 54 shots.
March 13: Ice 7, Lumberjacks 0 (at Indiana). Schneider 2G, A. DeSmith 28sv, SHO.
Remaining games
April 9: at Muskegon

Tale of the Tape
GF: 173 (4th) / GA: 209 (16th)
PP: 12.89% (13th) / PK: 82.45% (11th) / PIM: 1431 (16th)
Road record: 11-11-5
Last 5: 0-5-0 Last 10: 3-7-0

Leading scorers: Ryan Misiak (15-41-56), Matt Berry (23-25-48), Isaac Kohls (16-20-36)
Leading goaltender: Joel Vienneau (13-15-4, 3.83), Paul Berrafato (9-8-4, 3.44)
Leading +/-: Carter Foguth (+12)
Leading PIM: Micki Mihalovich (236)

GF: 205 (1st)
GA: 142 (6th)

PP: 22.3% (1st) / PK: 85.71% (6th) / PIM: 818 (4th)
Home record: 17-8-2
Last 5: 5-0-0 Last 10: 6-4-0
Leading scorers: Blake Coleman (30-51-81), Daniil Tarasov (31-33-64), Brian Ferlin (23-38-61)
Leading goaltender: Casey DeSmith (20-10-2, 2.50), Jon Gillies (13-6-2, 2.71)
Leading +/-: Blake Coleman (+45)
Leading PIM: Will Aide (126)

On paper, this looks like a good matchup for the Ice. The USHL's highest-scoring team against the league's most porous defense, and the league's hottest team against a team that's lost five straight. And, of course, the Ice had a convincing 7-0 win last Sunday. Muskegon's last game was an 8-4 defeat. However, the teams have played two OT games against each other. This is an important game for both teams -- the Ice trying to climb into second place and get a first-round bye in the USHL Playoffs, while the Lumberjacks are trying to clinch a playoff spot. Currently, Muskegon is seven points clear of seventh-place Waterloo, with the Black Hawks having eight games remaining and the Lumberjacks seven. Muskegon is a first-year USHL team, although the city is very familiar to Ice fans, as the International Hockey League version of the Lumberjacks competed against the Indianapolis Checkers and Indianapolis Ice from 1984 through 1995.

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