Jacks Hold off Steel to Take Game One 3-2
MUSKEGON, MI - The Muskegon Lumberjacks had to endure a feisty Chicago Steel comeback, but did just that, emerging victorious in game one of the opening round of the Clark Cup playoffs. The Jacks now hold a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Muskegon raced out to a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from Wyatt Bongiovanni and Nolan Sullivan. The Jacks controlled the pace in the first period, outshooting Chicago 19-5.
Muskegon continued to control the tempo in period two, outshooting the defending champions 18-11, but Chicago netminder Oskar Autio made all 18 saves to keep Muskegon from furthering the lead. Muskegon goalie Keegan Karki also stood tall, stopping everything he faced to keep the second scoreless.
Chicago would cut into the lead at the 9:48 mark of the third when Erik Urbank netted a breakaway goal to make it 2-1.
Muskegon, however, would answer with arguably the best play of the game. Forward Vincent de Mey hustled after a dump-in that settled in the right corner. After being upended, de Mey, from his stomach, whacked the puck to Jachym Kondelik, who deked netfront and tucked the puck past Autio to restore the two-goal lead with 7:42 to play.
Chicago made it a one-shot game when Jack Dugan scored with 2:12 remaining, but Karki and the Lumberjacks fended off the remaining Chicago assault to preserve the win.
With a 1-0 series lead, Muskegon has an opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinal with a victory over Chicago on Tuesday. The game will begin at 7:15pm at LC Walker Arena. Should the Steel win, the decisive game three would be Wednesday in Muskegon.
Muskegon goals: Bongiovanni (1), Sullivan (1), Kondelik (1)
Muskegon assists: Kondelik (1), Colby Bukes (1), Bray Crowder (1), Bobby Kaiser (1), de Mey (1)
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