But at least they didn’t go down without a fight.
They made the final game close by scoring two third period goals Friday, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 4-2 loss to the host Sioux Falls Stampede in front of 8,178 fans.
Sioux Falls clinched the series 3-0 and won the second Clark Cup in team history.
The Lumberjacks completed the most successful season in their five year history with their first USHL Eastern Conference title and first trip to the finals.
“I give Sioux Falls full credit,” said Lumberjacks coach Todd Krygier. “I am very proud of our guys and at the end of the day we are Eastern Conference champions.”
Muskegon outshot the Stampede 35-31, but Sioux Falls goalie Stefanos Lekkas was stellar, stopping 33 of 35 shots.
The Lumberjacks special teams struggled, going 1-for-7 on the power play and allowing two shorthanded goals.
“Our guys were pressing and mistakes happen,” said Krygier. “We finally outshoot a team and come up just short.”
Eric Schierhorn stopped 27 of 30 shots for the Lumberjacks in his final game in a Muskegon jersey.
“Eric (Schierhorn) did a fantastic job for us,” said Krygier. “We would not be where we are today if not for Eric’s play.”
The first period ended in a scoreless tie. The Lumberjacks outshot the Stampede 15-8.
Dakota Joshua gave Sioux Falls a 1-0 lead with a goal 18 seconds into the second period.
Troy Loggins made the score 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 10:07 of the second period.
The Stampede added another shorthanded goal, this time from Kieffer Bellows, at 16:19 of the second period.
Mason Jobst put the Jacks on the board with a goal at 1:59 of the third period. Matheson Iacopelli and Dante Palecco had assists.
The Lumberjacks cut their deficit to 3-2 with a 5-on-3 power play goal from Matej Paulovic at 9:29 of the third period. Jobst and Tom Marchin assisted on the goal.
The Jacks pulled Schierhorn with two minutes left in regulation for an extra attacker but could not score the game-tying goal.
Logan O’Connor added an empty-net goal for the Stampede with 14 seconds left in the game.