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Heinonen scores 3 but Jacks edged 7-6 in sudden death | News

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Heinonen scores 3 but Jacks edged 7-6 in sudden death
Heinonen scores 3 but Jacks edged 7-6 in sudden death

DUBUQUE, Iowa (April 14, 2012) – The Muskegon Lumberjacks saved the wildest game of their season for last.

Tyler Heinonen scored three goals and five other Lumberjacks had two points each, but Gerard Hanson tied the game in the final minute and Mike Matheson scored 1:21 into overtime to deliver a 7-6 sudden death win for the Dubuque Fighting Saints Saturday night at the Mystique Ice Center.

Muskegon (17-35-8, 42 points) matched a season-high in goals in its final game of the season, scoring three in the first, two in the second and one in the third. Ryan Bullock’s power play tally pushed the Jacks on top 6-5 4 ½ minutes into the third, completing a three-goal rally.

Heinonen netted a pair of goals in the first to help the Jacks overcome an early deficit, as Muskegon carried a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes. Dubuque pushed back with three in a row before Matt DeBlouw converted a breakaway and Heinonen completed Muskegon’s second hat trick of the season with 2:06 left before the second intermission.

DeBlouw, Mason Jobst, Jon Padulo, Zach Yoder and Travis Walsh all finished with two points, and Riley Alferd picked up an assist for his first USHL point. The Jacks also scored two power play goals for the first time since March 3, a span of 14 games.

Despite the offensive pyrotechnics, Muskegon finished its second USHL season with a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1), although the regulation tie earned the Lumberjacks their first standings point since they beat Green Bay March 24.

Dubuque (36-20-4, 76 points) enters the Clark Cup Playoffs on an 8-3-0 surge; the Fighting Saints will begin a best-of-three first round series against the National Under-17 Team Monday at home.

The defending league champions outshot the Lumberjacks 45-33, and the Saints jumped out to a quick start when T.J. Moor chipped a one-timer over Muskegon goalie Hayden Stewart’s shoulder 2:19 into the game.

Heinonen tied the score at 8:20 when he gunned a left-circle shot through Dubuque emergency backup goalie Austin Willenborg, who got an unexpected start when No. 1 netminder Matt Morris aggravated a lower-body injury in the pre-game warm-up.

Jobst put the Jacks ahead for the first time when he chipped in the rebound of Walsh’s point shot during Muskegon’s first power play. The goal at 16:02 was Jobst’s second of the season and first in 26 games.

Zemgus Girgensons knotted the score 2-2 with a dynamic move off the side wall to his backhand with 1:30 left, but Heinonen struck for his second just 13 seconds later. The Michigan Tech recruit ripped a wrister past Willenborg from the left dot.

But the Saints got goals from Hanson (1:01 of the second), Tyler Lundey (4:19) and Eliot Grauer (7:16) to snatch a 5-3 lead. Max Gardiner, who finished with four assists, picked up helpers on two of those, including Grauer’s power play goal that seemingly put Dubuque in control.

Late in the second, though, the Jacks surged back into a tie with a pair of goals 44 seconds apart. DeBlouw buried his 11th after taking a breakaway pass from Affiliate List forward Alferd, then Heinonen scooped a backhand under Willenborg to give him 21 goals in his rookie USHL season.

Muskegon grabbed the lead again early in the third when Bullock blasted his 10th with a slapper from the high slot; the Jacks had a 4-on-3 power play at the time and the go-ahead score was assisted by DeBlouw and defenseman Rasmus Bengtsson.

The Jacks held the advantage until the final minute, when Dubuque yanked Willenborg for an extra attacker. Stewart made a good save on Matheson’s drive from 40 feet, but couldn’t prevent an uncovered Hanson from gunning home the rebound with 25 seconds on the clock.

Jono Davis, who assisted on Hanson’s goal, set up Matheson 81 seconds into 4-on-4 overtime. The Boston College recruit and top NHL Draft prospect blasted the puck high into the net to end the Lumberjacks’ season.  

Click here for complete box score.

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