MADISON, WI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks scored the first five goals of the game and held off a Madison Capitols comeback, winning 5-3 and guaranteeing themselves home-ice advantage in the first round of the Clark Cup playoffs.
Anthony Del Gaizo led the way for Muskegon, scoring a goal and adding two assists. Del Gaizo now leads the USHL with 39 goals and 71 points with two games left in the regular season. Del Gaizo has registered a point in 13 straight games, the longest active point streak in the USHL, and second-longest of the season.
Marc Del Gaizo also lit the lamp, his 12th of the season to lead all USHL defensemen. The point is his 61st career, just one shy of tying Christian Wolanin’s team record among blueliners.
Matej Pekar notched a multi-point game as well, and tied Jack Hughes for the rookie point lead (54). Pekar departs for the U18 Worlds this week to represent the Czech Republic, and will miss the final two regular-season games as well as the first two rounds of the Clark Cup playoffs. Hughes is in the same boat, but representing Team USA, and with no other rookie within ten points, the two will share the rookie scoring title.
On the night, Muskegon got goals from five different players to build a 5-0 lead midway through the second period. Madison would get two in the second and another late in the third, but the Jacks fended off the comeback to win 5-3.
Muskegon will have two more regular season games next weekend on the road that will determine the seeding for the Clark Cup playoffs, but they’ve sealed up home-ice advantage for the first-round, best-of-three series. They will face either Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque or Green Bay in the first round.
Playoff tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling 231-724-5225.
The Jacks’ road swing continues next weekend with games against Team USA on Friday and Youngstown on Saturday. Both games begin at 7:05pm.
The Clark Cup playoffs get underway on Monday, April 16th at LC Walker Arena. All three games of the first round will be hosted by Muskegon, with games two and (if necessary) three on Tuesday the 17th and Wednesday the 18th.
Muskegon goals: Marc Del Gaizo (12), A. Del Gaizo (39), Alex Yakovenko (3), Egor Afanasyev (5), Emilio Pettersen (14)
Muskegon assists: Pekar (39,40), Vincent de Mey (15), Pettersen (31,32), Colby Bukes (24), Nolan Sullivan (4), A. Del Gaizo (31,32)