MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Lumberjacks scored at the 2:10 mark of the first period and the 2:44 mark of the second period, putting the Dubuque Fighting Saints on their heels from start to finish. Muskegon opened the scoring with four unanswered tallies and held on defensively to take Thursday night’s game from the Saints 5-1 at Mercy Health Arena.
While Robert Cronin’s goal at the 15:52 mark of the second period set the Saints up for success in the third period, the avalanche of shots could not solve Jacks goaltender Nate Reid. Cronin followed a bouncing puck to the back of the net for his 24th goal of the season, which leads the team.
Muskegon was efficient in their shooting. They scored five goals on 22 shots, and utilized quick strikes to start their lead, and add to it. The Lumberjacks owned a 17-4-1 mark when scoring the first goal this season, and did just that just over two minutes into the action. Cam Berg snuck a shot between the pads of Lukas Parik to open the scoring.
Quinn Hutson completed a give-and-go with Christophe Tellier to double Muskegon’s lead heading into the break.
The Jacks did not stop scoring from there. Philip Tresca pounced on a Dubuque turnover in front of the net after the feed from Owen Mehlenbacher Tanner Kelly converted on Muskegon’s first power play on a tipped shot from Danil Guschin to extend the lead to 4-0. The goal was reviewed for potential contact with a high stick, and was confirmed after review.
Hobie Hedquist closed out the final 27:14 of the game in relief.
Bradley Marek capped the scoring for Muskegon, who averages over 4.5 goals per game this season, which is the second-best mark in the league. The Saints’ defense was able to hold Muskegon’s shots down, like they have been able to all season, but could not put a clamp down on the top-tier scoring chances.
The two teams will have a rematch on Friday, April 9 at 6:10 p.m. central time.