The Green Bay Gamblers will play a pair of away games against the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12. This series will see the third and fourth matchups of the year against the Lumberjacks. The Gamblers won the first two matchups. The Gamblers are third in the conference while Muskegon is just one point behind in fourth, so the games have big implications for the early-season standings.
The Gamblers hold a 6-5-1 record and are currently third in the USHL Eastern Conference with 13 points. Some players to watch for include Artyom Levshunov and Ray Vitolins.
New to the Gamblers this season, Levshunov comes from Belarus, playing for the U18 national team at just 16 years old. During that time, he was top of the team with 63 points, leading to plenty of intrigue for how he would perform stateside. So far, it seems that the transition has been nothing but smooth for the defenseman. He sits comfortably at the second spot in points for the Gamblers with 6 goals and 4 assists so far this season. In his last game out, Levshunov exploded for 2 goals and 3 assists at Cedar Rapids. The now 17-year-old will look to continue this path throughout the season and is sure to be a player to keep an eye on.
Another first-year Gambler, Vitolins comes to Green Bay after stints with the Sioux Falls Stampede and University of Vermont. So far, the forward’s given the Gamblers seven points with two goals and five assists. During last weekend’s series, the center scored one goal on Saturday against the RoughRiders. In the previous matchups with the Lumberjacks, Vitolins scored a goal and assist, so watch for him to continue his early-season success against the team this weekend.
The Muskegon Lumberjacks have a 6-5 record and are currently fourth in the USHL Eastern Conference with 12 points. Some players to watch for include Tyler Hotson and Jake Richard.
Hotson is back for his second season with the Lumberjacks, last year finishing the season with 27 points. This season, he’s almost halfway to his totals from a season ago.He’s currently sitting as the top scorer for the team with 12 points, scoring them in seven straight games. With this recent uptick in production and three points against the Gamblers in the first matchups, watch for him to make an impact this weekend.
Another second-year Lumberjack to look out for, Richard scored the most points of any returner for Muskegon with 18 goals and 30 assists for the Lumberjacks last year. This season, the forward sits right behind Hotson with 11 points. The sixth-round Buffalo Sabres draftee has been a mark of consistency, only going two games without scoring points this season. The good news for Gamblers fans? One of those games was against Green Bay. Still, He’s a danger to opponents every time he takes the ice, and his team-leading six goals can’t go unnoticed. Puck drop is at 6:10PM on both Friday and Saturday this weekend, at the Trinity Health Arena in Muskegon. You can watch live on FloSports at www.flohockey.tv