It’s best to avoid a prolonged slump just before the playoffs.
They shook off that streak on Friday with a 6-4 victory over the host Madison Capitols.
It wasn’t easy. Muskegon led by four goals early in the third period, then gave up three straight before securing the win with a late goal from Matej Paulovic.
The Lumberjacks also learned who they will be playing in the first round of next week’s playoffs.
The Dubuque Fighting Saints won, sealing down third place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference. That means Muskegon will finish fourth and meet first-place Youngstown in the first round, with Game 1 Wednesday at L.C. Walker Arena.
The Jacks, now 35-20-4, will cap off the regular season Saturday night with another game in Madison.
Joseph Cecconi opened the scoring for the Jacks with an unassisted goal at 4:24 of the first period. Corey Schueneman made it 2-0 with a goal at 17:53.
Ryan Siroky gave the Jacks a 3-0 lead with a goal at 4:21 of the second period. Griffen Molino added a power play goal at 16:58 of the second.
Madison’s Jarod Zirbel put the Capitols on the board with a goal at 19:20 of the second period, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
Christian Wolanin opened the third period with a goal at 1:52 in to increase Muskegon’s lead to a seemingly safe 5-1.
The Capitols then scored three unanswered goals – from Haralds Egle, Daniel Willett and Charlie Gerard – to pull within one.
Paulovic stopped the Madison momentum with a goal at 18:17 of the third period.
Lumberjacks goalie Eric Schierhorn made 42 saves on 46 shots.