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Muskegon Lumberjacks whitewash Chicago 6-0 in home opener

By Scott Brandenburg, 10/13/18, 10:30PM EDT

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More than 3,000 fans watch the 'Jacks set franchise mark for fastest start at 5-0

MUSKEGON - The Muskegon Lumberjacks hinted at something special with an impressive 4-0 road trip to start the 2018-19 United States Hockey League season.

Muskegon proved to be even more dominating in front of the home crowd Saturday.

The Lumberjacks had a jump in their step right from the opening face-off and never let up in an impressive 6-0 shutout of the Chicago Steel in front of 3,009 happy fans at the newly renovated L.C. Walker Arena.

Muskegon boasts a league-best 10 points and improves to 5-0, its best start in USHL franchise history. Chicago drops to 2-3-1.

The Lumberjacks stifled the Steel through 20 minutes, skating to a 2-0 lead and out-shooting the guests 10-6. Jagger Joshua and Nolan Sullivan provided the early goals for the hosts.

Muskegon opened up it even more in the second period, firing 18 shots at the Steel net to just eight for Chicago. Mikael Hakkarainen, Joshua and Danil Gushchin all tallied goals in the final six minutes of the period to chase Chicago starting goalie Justin Robbins.

John Farinacci scored his first goal with the Lumberjacks at 6:29 of the third period to complete the scoring.

Eleven different 'Jacks scored a point, led by Gushchin's three points. Egor Afanasyev and Hunter Skinner each recorded two assists.

Reigning USHL Goaltender of the Week Brandon Bussi stopped all 24 Steel shots to post a second consecutive shutout. Bussi also improved to 5-0.

Muskegon outshot Chicago 41-24, including 13-10 in the third period. The hosts stayed hot on the penalty kill, thwarting all five Chicago power plays.

The Lumberjacks, who host Youngstown Sunday at 3:15 p.m., were 3-for-6 with the man advantage.