Jacks end regular season with a loss; Del Gaizo wraps up USHL scoring championship

LocalSportsJournal.com

The Muskegon Lumberjacks wrapped up their regular season on the road on Saturday with a 5-3 loss to the Youngstown Phantoms.

The loss left the Jacks with a final record of 33-25-2. They finished in third place in the USHL Eastern Conference, behind first-place Team USA and second-place Youngstown.

The Lumberjacks will now have one day to rest before beginning a quick best-of-3 Clark Cup playoff series against Chicago on Monday at 7:15 p.m. at L.C. Walker Arena. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Muskegon.

Chicago finished sixth in the Eastern Conference and won the final playoff spot by edging Cedar Rapids by one point in the standings.

While the Jacks finished the regular season with a loss, team captain Anthony Del Gaizo secured the USHL scoring championship. He scored his 40th goal of the season on Saturday, and ended up with 72 total points (32 assists), three ahead of second-place Filip Suchy of Omaha.

The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Saturday with first-period goals by Del Gaizo and Cam Knuble.

Youngstown answered with three straight goals to start the second period, including two from Eric Esposito and one from Liam Dennison. Muskegon’s Vincent de Mey found the net at the 14:56 mark, and the game was tied 3-3 after two periods.

The Phantoms sewed up the victory with a goal from Mike Regush at 12:46 of the third period, and an empty-netter from Esposito at 19:12.

Will Schlagenhauf and Egor Afanasyev each had two assists for Muskegon. Zach Borgiel took the loss in goal.

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