By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon Lumberjacks are a long way out of the playoff picture.LSJ Logo incert

At some point they’re going to have to win a few games in a row to get back into contention.

Mitch Eliot takes the honorary puck drop against Madison's Ryan Lohin. Photo/Carol Cooper

Mitch Eliot takes the honorary puck drop against Madison’s Ryan Lohin. Photo/Carol Cooper

But that’s been a problem for the Jacks all season. They have only one winning streak – five straight games in November. Otherwise the wins and losses have alternated, with a few more of the latter.

That trend continued on Saturday, when the Lumberjacks followed Friday’s come-from behind victory over Madison with a 5-2 loss to the Capitols in front of 2,457 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.

The loss left Muskegon with a 17-20-5 record, good for eighth place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference and 14 points out of the final playoff spot.

They have now lost three of their last four games and are 5-11-1 since Jan. 1.

Consecutive wins have not been the Jacks’ only problem. They’ve struggled in their own building all season, and Saturday’s loss left their home ice record at 9-11-1.

“We got to once again get some consistency in net,” said Lumberjacks Coach Todd Krygier, who used both of his goalies – Devin Cooley and Joey Daccord – during the game. “We got to also get consistency on defense and our role players got to a lot better.

“The fact of the matter is we are not a good team unless our top players compete.

“I am trying to keep a cool head (talking about the lack of consistency) and continue to coach this team but the guys need to get their jobs done.”

Nate Kallen looks to clear the puck out of Muskegon's zone. Photo/Carol Cooper

Nate Kallen looks to clear the puck out of Muskegon’s zone. Photo/Carol Cooper

The Lumberjacks opened the scoring at 15:16 of the first period on a goal from Rem PitlickMatej Paulovic and Graham Lillibridge assisted on the tally.

Madison responded with a power play goal from Ryan Lohin at the 17:46 mark of the first period.

The Capitols took the lead for good at 19:45 of the first period with a goal from Cooper Watson.

Muskegon pulled Cooley from goal in favor of Daccord after the first period.

Madison increased its lead to 3-1 with a goal from Alexandre Payusov at 6:08 of the second period.

The Lumberjacks cut their deficit to 3-2 with a power play goal from Dante Palecco at 11:17 of the second period. Paulovic and Collin Adams assisted.

The Capitols regained their two-goal advantage with a goal from Sam McCormick 15:51 into the second period.

Madison added a short-handed tally from Lohin at the 5:15 mark of the third period to give the Capitols their final margin of victory.

Muskegon outshot Madison 34-32.