Monday, December 19, 2011

Ice fall to Lumberjacks in OT

The Muskegon Lumberjacks rallied and swiped a point from the Ice on Sunday night, beating the Ice 3-2.

With goaltender John Keeney pulled for an extra attacker, Muskegon's Mike McNicholas scored to tie the game with 21 seconds left in regulation. Then, just 16 seconds into OT, Joseph Cox fed Max Shuart for the game-winner.

The Ice finished a tough three-game road weekend with a 1-0-2 record and four points. They are now 3-0-2 in their last five games and remain in fourth place in the USHL's Eastern Conference, but just one point back of second in an extremely competitive Eastern race.

The Ice's league-best power play cashed in twice on six opportunities to give the Ice a 2-1 lead that looked like it was going to stand up until the closing seconds. The Ice controlled much of the play, launching 46 shots at Keeney and outshooting the Jacks 46-34.

Sean Kuraly had a goal, an assist and got 10 shots on goal -- which is a team high for the season -- to lead the Ice. The Ice trailed 1-0 after Muskegon scored midway through the first, and that lead held up until the final minute of the second, when the Ice went on their fourth power play of the night. Ryan Obuchowski started a play that got the puck to Kuraly, and then to Robbie Baillargeon for a goal with 49 seconds left in the middle period.

The goal was Baillargeon's 10th of the year, making him the third Ice player to hit the double-digit mark. It was also his fifth straight game with at least one point, his second-longest such streak of the year.

The game remained tied at 1-1, with each team getting a shortened power play at the start of the third. The Ice got an opportunity to take the lead when Muskegon's Ryan Lomborg was sent off for hooking with 6:09 left. Kuraly took advantage, scoring an unassisted goal with 4:30 to go to give the Ice a lead that they'd take until the final minute.

Gillies made 31 saves for the Ice in the loss. The Ice were 2-for-6 on the power play, and a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The Ice are now off for a week and a half for a Christmas break. They'll be back in action Dec. 28, back in the L.C. Walker Arena against Muskegon. They return home for a New Year's twinbill with Youngstown, facing the Phantoms at the Pepsi Coliseum on Dec. 30 and at Conseco Fieldhouse on Dec. 31.

3 stars
1. Max Shuart (MUS), GWG, 4 shots, +2
2. John Keeney (MUS), 44 saves, 2 GA, win
3. Ryan Lomborg (MUS), 2 assists, +2, 4 shots

USHL boxscore

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