The first period was scoreless, then Dubuque scored twice in the second period and once late in the third to secure the victory.
The Lumberjacks couldn’t put the puck in the net, despite outshooting Dubuque 36-22.
Muskegon will now have to sweep the final three games of the series to advance in the playoffs, beginning with Game 3 on Thursday at L.C. Walker Arena at 7:15 p.m.
If the Jacks win, Game 4 would be Friday in Muskegon. Game 5, if necessary, would be back in Dubuque a week from Tuesday.
Saturday’s game was chippy, with each team being whistled for eight penalties.
The Lumberjacks spent 27 minutes in the penalty box while Dubuque spent 16. The Jacks failed to capitalize on Dubuque penalties, going 0-for-3 on the power play. The Fighting Saints were 1-for-4.
The Fighting Saints opened the scoring on a goal from Dallas Gerads at the 3:12 mark of the second period.
Dubuque increased its advantage to 2-0 with a power play goal from Austin Rueschhoff at the 5:36 mark of the second period.
The Fighting Saints added an empty net goal by former Lumberjack Keenan Suthers with 42 seconds left in the game.
Dubuque goalie Jaxon Castor registered the shutout. Keith Petruzzelli took the loss in goal for the Lumberjacks.