The Muskegon Lumberjacks’ wild ride in the 2022 Clark Cup Playoffs continued on Sunday with an impressive response to a talented Dubuque squad and an 8-5 win to close the series door on the Fighting Saints.
Muskegon shot out of the gate on Sunday with three first-period goals and a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of action.
Owen Mehlenbacher gave the Lumberjacks a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest. A Quinn Hutson goal five minutes later put his team up 2-0 and Ben Strinden snuck in one more goal with six seconds left in the first period.
Dubuque answered with a goal less than a minute into the second period but Muskegon’s Hutson was there to quiet the Fighting Saints with another goal midway through the period.
Tyler Hotson followed up Hutson three minutes later for a 5-1 Muskegon lead.
Dubuque was not ready to give up as the Fighting Saints delivered four-straight goals stretching to the midway point of the third period, tying the score 5-5.
But again Muskegon responded with a goal from Hotson which proved to be the game winner.
Hutson added an empty net goal with two minutes left, completing the hat trick on the night and Strinden capped off the scoring for Muskegon with another open-net goal 21 seconds later.
Defensively, Muskegon once again came through with a giant night from goaltender Chase Clark. The Quinnipiac University commit and Washington Capitols draftee stopped 41 of Dubuque’s 46 shots on the night.
Muskegon was nearly doubled up in shots, getting outshot 46-27. The Lumberjacks also struggled on the penalty kill, letting in three goals in five Dubuque opportunities. Muskegon on the other hand was 1 of 4 on the power play, getting its lone goal from Strinden in the first period.
Muskegon is now 4-0 in the Clark Cup Playoffs, quickly dispatching Cedar Rapids in a pair of lopsided wins. The Lumberjacks advanced with 6-0 and 6-1 wins over the Rough Riders.
The Lumberjacks shutdown a Dubuque squad that finished the season 14 points better than Muskegon.
The Lumberjacks now advance to the Eastern Conference finals with a matchup set for either Madison or Chicago.