Riding their second three-game winning streak of the young season, the Central Illinois Flying Aces will try to make the best out of less than ideal timing for their first midweek game.
"It throws a bit of a wrench (into preparation)," first-year coach Mike Watt said of Wednesday's 9:30 a.m. (Central) visit with the Muskegon Lumberjacks at L.C. Walker Arena.
"Those are tough on both teams. It’s going to be the mindset, because when you go into something like that you’re not in your normal routine."
The Aces left for Michigan on Tuesday with a 6-4-0 record after weekend victories over Des Moines and Chicago at Carver Arena in Peoria. The Lumberjacks (3-5-1) are looking to bounce back from a shootout loss and a regulation defeat against Tri-City.
"Right now just watching, I think the parity in the league this year has kind of increased," said Watt. "There’s a lot that’s exciting for the league, but as a coach there’s no games where you know it’s going to be an easy opportunity to win."
Central Illinois goalie Kris Carlson, who stopped 24 of 25 shots in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Steel, ranks fifth among qualified goalies with a 2.27 goals-against average. The Aces have a pair of 10-point forwards in Jakub Lacka (7 goals, 3 assists) and Max Andreev (2 goals, 8 assists).
The Lumberjacks' top scorer is Anthony Del Gaizo (5 goals, 3 assists), while defenseman Clayton Phillips (3 goals, 4 assists overall) has two goals and two assists in four games since coming over from Fargo in an early season trade. Adam Brizgala has a 2.34 GAA in eight games.
"They’ve got a very deep team," said Watt. "They’ve got a good group of forwards and a lot of guys returning and their goaltending is very solid."
The Aces play their first true home game at Grossinger Motors Arena on Friday against Youngstown.