The Muskegon Lumberjacks sure know how to bounce back from ugly losses.
Last Friday the Jacks bounced back from a five-goal loss to beat Dubuque 3-1.
Then on Tuesday they recovered from last Saturday’s six-goal loss and beat the Fighting Saints 4-3 in Dubuque, clinching the Eastern Conference championship series three games to two.
The Jacks jumped out to a 4-1 lead, then withstood a furious Dubuque rally in the third period.
Max Humitz was the hero for Muskegon, scoring his first two goals of the playoffs, including a shorthanded goal in the second period.
Goalie Eric Schierhorn turned in another strong performance. stopping 39 of 42 shots. The Lumberjacks were outshot in the game 42-23.
The Jacks were outshot in all five games of the series, but still emerged victorious.
“We don’t do things the easy way, but we’ve always been gutsy and resilient,” said Lumberjacks Coach Todd Krygier. “I am real proud of the guys and grateful for their efforts.
“Regardless of what happens in the next round, I’m proud of their hard work, and I just hope that we can finish it off.”
The Lumberjacks will play Sioux Falls in the Clark Cup finals. Games 1 and 2 will be Saturday and Sunday at L.C. Walker Arena. The Saturday game will be at 7:15 p.m. while Sunday’s game will be at 6:15 p.m.
Game 3 will be Friday, May 15 in Sioux Falls.
Game 4, if necessary, would be in Sioux Falls on Sunday, May 17. Game 5, if necessary, would be back in Muskegon on Wednesday, May 20.
The Lumberjacks jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period.
Mark Petaccio scored an unassisted power play goal at 7:42, while Humitz scored 1:05 later. Matej Paulovic picked up the lone assist on the Humitz goal.
Dubuque’s Jacob Benson scored at 2:42 of the second period, cutting the Jacks’ lead to 2-1.
Humitz restored the Jacks’ two-goal lead with a shorthanded goal at 7:20 of the second period.
Muskegon’s Juraj Mily made it 4-1 with a goal at 15:55 of the second period, with an assist from Tom Marchin.
Dubuque made things scary in the third period with a pair of goals to narrow the score to 4-3. Dylan Gambrell scored at 10:42 while Hayden Shaw added a tally at 13:44.
The Fighting Saints pulled their goalie for an extra attacker within the last two minutes, but the Lumberjacks held on with several great saves from Schierhorn.