The Muskegon Lumberjacks were ready and waiting for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles and their 11-game winning streak Friday night.
The 'Jacks scored just 24 seconds into the game, before many of the 8,229 Salt Palace fans had even found their seats. Then after falling behind, they stormed back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime.With new life, Muskegon took a little longer than it did to start the game, scoring 25 seconds into the overtime for a 7-6 victory.
So long, streak.
"I didn't like our game all night long," said Eagle Coach Bob Francis. "We were looking for trouble and trouble found us. During the streak, good defensive play led to good results, but tonight we forgot about our own end."
The cracks in the streak had appeared two nights earlier when Muskegon scored three first-period goals before folding in the third during a 7-4 defeat. Until that game, the Eagles hadn't given up more than three goals in a game during the streak.
Muskegon scored three in the first again Friday, including Sandy Smith's goal at the :24-second mark. But the Eagles scored four of their own as Rich Chernomaz, Bryan Deasley, Tim Sweeney and Sergei Priakin, the Soviet who was playing in his first Golden Eagle game, all got goals.
The pace slowed considerably in the second, but the Eagles increased the margin with Rick Lessard scoring a power play goal with a long slap shot to make it 5-3.
Two nights earlier the Eagles had taken a 5-3 lead into the final period and extended it, much to the chagrin of Muskegon Coach Blair MacDonald, who chewed his team out afterward for its poor final period.
The Muskegon players must have remembered their coach's speech. This time they got two goals early in the period to tie the score, before Salt Lake came back on a goal out front by Paul Kruse off a beautiful pass from Todd Harkins.
But the Lumberjacks came back again to tie the score as Smith scored his second goal of the night at the 15:42 mark.
That forced the overtime, which meant bad news for Salt Lake, which had lost four of five games that had gone extra minutes this year.
The Lumberjacks were on a power play for the first 28 seconds of the period, thanks to a hooking penalty by Kevin Grant late in the third. And they took advantage of it.
Jeff Daniels slid in a rebound off his own shot under Steve Guenette to quickly end the contest.
"Perry Gancher threw it out from the corner and the goalie made the first save and I got a lucky bounce. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time," said Daniels. "Everybody wants to be the team to knock them off and it was us tonight."
Guenette who had a personal 6-game winning streak halted, said, "I just couldn't get the puck out of danger tonight and they just kept whacking it in."
Five of the Muskegon goals came on rebound shots.
"We're down because we had the game won and gave it away," said Guenette. "We've just got to regroup and go get it tomorrow night."
San Diego is the Eagles' opponent tonight in the Salt Palace. The Gulls had a streak of their own going into a late Friday night game with Milwaukee - nine straight losses.