The Muskegon Lumberjacks are not looking like a team that’s ready to compete for a spot in the Clark Cup playoffs.
The Lumberjacks had lost four of their last five games heading into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Steel, with most of the losses coming against teams near the bottom of the USHL’s Eastern Conference.
The trend continued Sunday when the Lumberjacks fell to the Steel 3-1 at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, Illinois.
The Lumberjacks fell to under the .500 mark for the first time since late October. Their record is now 13-14-3, good for 29 points and eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Only the top four teams in the conference make the playoffs.
The Jacks will look to snap their three-game losing streak Monday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. when they host the Team USA Under-17 squad.
The first period of Sunday’s game ended in a scoreless tie.
Muskegon’s Robbie DeMontis opened the scoring at the 1:42 mark of the second period. Nathaniel Kallen and Max Humitz picked up the assists on the tally.
The Steel responded 28 seconds later with a goal from Karch Bachman to tie the game at 1-1.
Former Lumberjack Haralds Egle gave the Steel a 2-1 lead with a power play goal 14:39 into the second period.
The Steel’s Tanner Laczynski finished the scoring at 9:45 of the third period.
Chicago goaltender John Lethemon picked up the victory, stopping 30 of 31 Lumberjack shots.