Local Sports Journal

If the Muskegon Lumberjacks fail to make the United States Hockey League playoffs, the Indiana Ice may get the blame.

The Lumberjacks entered this weekend with three crucial games, including two against Indiana.

They ended up losing both, including Sunday’s disappointing 5-2 loss to the Ice in Indianapolis.

Sunday’s defeat left the Lumberjacks tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in the USHL’s Eastern Conference with only five games remaining in the regular season.

Green Bay, which is tied with Muskegon with 58 points in the standings, was idle Sunday. Chicago, in fifth place with 56 points, was also idle.

The Lumberjacks will return to action next weekend for a pair of home games on Friday (vs. Omaha) and Saturday (vs. Lincoln). They will visit Team USA in Ann Arbor next Sunday.

Their final two games of the regular season will be Friday April 4 in Chicago and Saturday April 5 at home against Green Bay.

Sunday’s game was scoreless until the last five minutes of the first period when Indiana pulled ahead for good with goals from Brian Pinho and Alex Talcott.

The Ice extended their lead to 3-0 with another goal from Pinho three minutes into the second period. Muskegon got on the board with a goal from Trevor Morbeck about two minutes later, then Scott Conway made it 4-1 Indiana with a goal late in the period.

Muskegon’s Matt Iacopelli and Indiana’s Dwyer Tschantz exchanged third period goals.

Goalie Hayden Stewart stopped 23 of 25 shots to get the win for the Ice. Muskegon goalie Eric Schierhorn took the loss.