Tuesday was one of those nights where the Hawks soared early. However, Muskegon deflected Port Huron’s claws just long enough to grab momentum.
Two crucial plays not only gave the Lumberjacks the lead but stymied the Hawks’ fury.
Muskegon downed Port Huron, 6-2, on Tuesday, February 23 at McMorran Arena.
“The difference of the game was two minutes,” Port Huron’s Coach Stan Drulia said. “The first shift of the second period we have total possession and they score a third goal.
“Then there was the kicked in goal at the end of the second. The kick was plain as day. That cannot count. I don’t know what the referee was thinking … what he was looking at.”
Icehawks’ Ian Turner was also amazed at the call.
“That puck was kicked in,” Turner said. “I think the referee was the only one in the whole building that missed it. It’s frustrating. There’s nothing we could have done to win that game.”
The Lumberjacks scored early on a first minute goal.
“The shot hit Lovie’s (Jamie Lovell) stick and changed direction,” Drulia said. “The shot was from 20 feet out. Larry (Sterling) was positioned for one angle and the puck changed direction.
“I thought we dominated the first period,” Drulia continued. “We could have had a dozen tonight. I thought it could have been 5-1 for us after one.”
Muskegon added a second goal before the end of the first period. Port Huron did not score on 15 shots while the Lumberjacks scored two on only ten attempts.
The puck bounced Muskegon’s way throughout the first ten minutes of the second period, notching three more goals for a 5-0 lead. With ten minutes left in the second Port Huron goalie Adam Russo replaced Larry Sterling in net.
After surrendering another goal, Port Huron finally tallied on the score board with two minutes left in the second period. The Hawks added one more in the third but it was too little, too late.
“As smart as we played most of the time,” Drulia said. “We gave up the possession of the puck three times for three goals. You’re not going to win games like that.”
Unlike some recent defeats, heads were held high in the dressing room. Turner felt it just wasn’t the Hawks’ night.
“We played well,” he said. “It’s not the result you want to see but we just have to come out and play better the next game.”
The Muskegon Lumberjacks return to McMorran to battle the Hawks on both Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6. Game time for both matches is 7:30 p.m. For further Icehawks information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.