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Lumberjacks rally from a two-goal deficit, steal an impressive 3-2 victory over Green Bay at home

MUSKEGON – There’s nothing worse than losing a game in front of a big home crowd.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks have done that a few times over the past couple of seasons, including last Saturday, when they lost a two-goal lead and fell to Dubuque in front a pretty packed house.

The fans gave the Jacks another chance on Friday night, gathering in big numbers for Military Night, and the home team didn’t disappoint this time.

The Lumberjacks rallied from a two-goal deficit and scored three unanswered goals, including the game-winner by David Hymovitch early in the third period, to steal an exciting 3-2 victory over the Gamblers at Trinity Health Arena.

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The Lumberjacks’ Jake Richard rips off a shot. Photo/’Tonya Pardon

The win provided a bit of revenge for the Jacks, who were swept in a pair of games in Green Bay last month.

Muskegon is now 7-5-0 on the season with 14 points in the standings. Green Bay fell to 6-6-1 and has 13 points.

The two teams will go at it again in a rematch on Saturday night in Muskegon.

“Part of our job is entertainment, and when you get a good crowed you got to do something to give them a show,” said Lumberjacks Coach Mike Hamilton. “Tonight the guys stayed with it and battled and found a way to win the hockey game.”

The Jacks did not play a perfect game by any means.

They sleepwalked through the first period and a half with little offense to speak of and had a lot of penalties.

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Muskegon’s David Hymovitch, who scored the game-winning goal. Photo/Tonya Pardon

One saving grace was the Lumberjacks’ penalty killing unit, which held Green Bay to only one goal on six power play opportunities.

The best PK moment of the game came in the second period when Lumberjacks captain Owen Mehlenbacher stole the puck around center ice, broke into the Green Bay zone and rifled a high shot that just caught the top of the Green Bay net.

That shorthanded goal tied the game 2-2 and gave the Lumberjacks the momentum they needed.

” I lost the faceoff draw so I was pretty mad about that, but we were checking pretty hard and trying to be aggressive on the penalty kill.” Mehlenbacher said. “Cody Croal set a nice pick and was able to give me some extra time, and I was able to pick my spot.”

“Our power play wasn’t getting it done tonight, but we were able to flip the switch and negated their power play and used our penalty kill to our advantage. That was a key to the game and got the energy back on our bench.”

None of the comeback heroics would have been possible without the play of Lumberjacks goalie Noah Rupprecht, who got the call to start on Friday morning because Conor Callaghan was out with the flu.

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Muskegon’s Easton Young battles for the puck with Green Bay’s Bodie Nobes (10). Photo/Tonya Pardon

Rupprecht hadn’t played since last month in Green Bay, but shook off the rust and stopped 28 of 30 shots to collect his second win of the season.

“He did a phenomenal job tonight keeping us in the game and giving us an opportunity to win,” Hamilton said about Rupprecht.

The game started badly for the Jacks, who appeared listless and disorganized in the first period.

Green Bay’s Nicholas Vantassell scored a power play at 17:31 of the first period, and the Gamblers had a 1-0 lead at the first break.

The Gamblers went up 2-0 early in the second period on a goal by Mikey DeAngleo, and it was looking like it might be a long night for the Jacks.

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A massive flag is displayed over the ice during the national anthem, in honor of Veteran’s Day and Military Night. Photo/Tonya Pardon

Muskegon finally got on the board when Jake Richard scored on a wrist shot from between the circles at 8:18 of the second period, to make the score 2-1.

Mehlenbacher added his exciting shorthanded goal less than a minute later, and the score was knotted 2-2 heading into the third period.

Hymovitch scored the game winner at 2:24 of the third period after taking a nice centering pass from Michael Callow and tricking a soft shot through the pads of Green Bay goalie Kristoffer Eberly.

Green Bay had two more power plays in the game, but the Jacks efficiently killed the off without any damage to nail down the win.

Green Bay had a 30-28 advantage in shots on goal. [5]