Lumberjacks finish regular season dropping second straight to first-place Chicago

LocalSportsJournal.com

The Muskegon Lumberjacks ended the regular season dropping their second straight contest to the Anderson Cup champion Chicago Steel on Saturday night.

The Lumberjacks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead, then allowed five unanswered goals, including three in the third period, to fall 5-1 to Chicago at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Illinois.

Muskegon finishes the regular season with a 34-16-4 record, good for 72 points and second place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference.

The Lumberjacks will open the Clark Cup playoffs on Friday night against the Green Bay Gamblers in Game 1 of a best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinal contest.

Muskegon, which will host all three potential contests, will play Game 2 on Saturday and a third game on Sunday if necessary. First two games are slated for a 7:10 puck drop.

The winner of the series will play either the Steel or the Dubuque Fighting Saints in a best-of-three Eastern Conference final.

The Tri-City Storm, Omaha Lancers, Sioux City Musketeers and Fargo Force will compete in the Western Conference side of the playoff bracket.

Quinn Hutson opened the scoring for the Lumberjacks on Saturday just 57 seconds into the contest to give Muskegon a 1-0 advantage.

The Steel tied the game 1-1 with a David Ma goal at the 10:57 mark of the first period.

Chicago scored the lone goal during the second period when Matt Coronato connected for his impressive 47th goal of the season 3:16 into the stanza.

Andon Cerbone (1:17), Coronato (5:35) and Erik Middendorf (8:53) each added third period goals to expand the Chicago advantage.

The Steel held a 25-22 shots on goal advantage.

Jan Skorpik stopped 16-of-18 shots during the first two periods in net for Muskegon, while Nate Reid allowed three goals on seven shots in relief.

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