GENEVA– IL The Muskegon Lumberjacks lost game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Chicago Steel in overtime 3-2 on Friday night. Muskegon had offensive control for the majority of the game, but could not convert in the extra frame.
The Chicago Steel had some early chances in the first period, but were shut down by Jan Skorpik. Skorpik looked to be shaken up after the Steel crashed the net, but shook it off. Muskegon started off slow offensively but really were sparked by the sensational saves of Skorpik. Late in the period, Davis Pennington was assessed a holding minor. Right after killing off the aforementioned penalty, Cam Berg hammered it home on the ensuing rush at 18:54 making it 1-0 Muskegon after 1.
The Lumberjacks started out the second period strong with sustained pressured but were overshadowed by an uncalled high stick delivered to Kyle Aucoin, who was slow getting to the bench afterwards. Muskegon did get a power play, that was swiftly defended by Chicago. Aucoin did return after the man advantage. Muskegon continued to pour on the pressure but were tested on a late penalty kill, unfortunately buckling on a Chicago Steel one-timer at 16:43 evening the game at 1. However, Brad Marek responded at 19:16, from Brad Marek, whacking in a follow up backhand, retaking the Muskegon lead to end the second.
Muskegon continued their shot spree with a Tanner Kelly point blank attempt and a Nick Portz snap shot off the draw early in the third period. Muskegon had a solid power play early with several odd-man rushes that were blocked in front or shot wide. Muskegon and Chicago each took penalties in short succession resulting in 4 on 4 hockey. However, shortly into the 4 on 4, Chicago capitalized on a juicy rebound, tying the game 2-2 at 8:06. Jan Skorpik came up huge on a penalty shot for the Steel late in the game, forcing the contest to overtime.
Chicago came out flying and nearly scored right in front of Skorpik, who came out to the top of the crease denying the Steel. Muskegon had a puck go off the far post, inches away from ending the game. Near the midway point of overtime the Steel’s Matt Coronato, on a broken play finished off the game at 7:09 securing the win for Chicago.
Muskegon plays a must win game tomorrow night at home against these same Chicago Steel, 7:05 pm EST. Tickets are limited and can be purchased at www.muskegonlumberjacks.com/tickets. For more information, please call the Muskegon Lumberjacks Business Office at (231) 799-7000
Muskegon Goals: Berg (3), Marek (2)
Muskegon Assists: Dylan Wendt (3,4)