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Lumberjacks Fall to Rival Chicago Steel 5-1 in Friday Night's Home Opener

September 30, 2022 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Muskegon Lumberjacks News Release

Leave it to the Chicago Steel to ruin a perfectly good party.

The Muskegon Lumberjacks were hosting some fun season-opening festivities on Friday night, with a nice crowd gathering outside Trinity Health Arena for the pre-game Flannel Fest, then filing inside to check out the Jacks for the first time this season.

But the Lumberjacks had the misfortune of playing their always strong rival Chicago Steel, who looked to be in midseason form. The Jacks came out on the short end of a 5-1 score and gained some insight into things they need to work on.

Nolan Joyce led Chicago with a pair of goals. Jake Richard scored Muskegon's lone goal, his third of the young season.

Muskegon is now 1-2 on the season while Chicago improved to 3-0.

The Lumberjacks will return to the ice next weekend with home games on Friday and Saturday night against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.

Chicago drew first blood at 5:45 of the first period when Cameron Johnson found the net.

The Steel took a two-goal lead at the 16:20 mark on Joyce's first goal of the night, which gave his team a 2-0 edge at the first intermission.

The Jacks had trouble getting their offense in gear and were outshot 10-4 in the first period.

The Steel scored twice more in the second period, first at 9:34 when Joyce scored his second goal of the evening, then at 19:04 when Michael Emerson scored on the Steel's third power play of the game.

Muskegon's best chance to score in the second period came when Owen Mehlenbacher had a breakaway at 15:20, when the Jacks were shorthanded. But had his shot denied by Steel goalie Christian Manz, who had several huge saves throughout the game.

Each team had 11 shots in the second period.

Jack Harvey scored Chicago's final goal at 5:51 of the third period. Richard finally ended the shutout bid by breaking through the Steel defense and scoring with a wrist shot from between the circles at the 7:29 mark..

David Hymovitch and Matthew Morden assisted on the Muskegon goal.

Chicago had a 33-28 advantage in shots on goal.

Manz collected the victory, stopping 28 of 29 shots. Muskegon goalie Noah Rupprecht took the loss, stopping 28 of 33 shots.

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