Lumberjacks Vs. Flint in Playoffs
MUSKEGON, MI.--- The International Hockey League's 2009-10 Huber Trophy Regular Season Champions, the Muskegon Lumberjacks, will lock antlers with long-time archenemies, the Flint Generals in the best 4-of-7 Turner Cup Semi-Finals playoffs series which will commence this Friday night, April 23rd with Game #1 at 7:00 pm at Muskegon's Walker Arena.
Under the direction of head coach Rich Kromm, the Lumberjacks, celebrated their 50th Anniversary Season of pro hockey in Muskegon by capturing the league's regular season title on the strength of a superlative record of 76(51-20-5) totaling 107-points and a 2-points advantage over previous three-time defending regular season kingpins, the Fort Wayne Komets. In the process, the Lumberjacks have gained home ice advantage throughout the IHL's post-season showcase event, beginning with this opening round series against Flint.
The Lumberjacks culminated their Huber Trophy clinching campaign flourishing with a 13(9-2-2) mark through the last 13-games and 16(11-3-2) over the last 16-missions. Their overall consistency and continuity were exemplary as they posted a 38(26-9-3)55-points in the first half of the season and a 38(25-11-2)52-points mark in the season's second half. The Lumberjacks assembled both the league's best home and road records as well; at home 38(30-7-1), concluding the campaign with a 6-games' unblemished skein; 6(5-0-1) while on the road, they were 38(21-13-4) and 10(6-3-1) in the last 10-foreign ice escapades.
As for Flint, the Generals climaxed the campaign with a ringing crescendo, awakening from the dormancy of seventh and last place to register a superb record of 20(13-6-1) in the last 20-games. In so doing, Flint, celebrating its 40th season of pro hockey, overcame Bloomington for the coveted fourth and final playoff berth, though both teams completed the campaign with the same number of points, 73. The Generals gained the advantage by recording more victories with 33 to Blooming-ton's 31. Finishing a distant 34-points in arrears of the Lumberjacks, the Generals compiled a mark of 76(33-36-7); at home 38(21-11-6) and abroad at 38(12-25-1).
During the regular season, the two rivals collided 13-times with Muskegon staking claim to the season series, 13(7-4-2); at home, 6(4-1-1); on the road, 7(3-3-1). The Lumberjacks shutout the Generals twice during the regular phase, 1-0 on January 8th and 8-0 on January 10th with both triumphs gained on home ice at Walker Arena.
This is the first time in a decade that these two traditional, historical fractious foes have locked horns in a clenching, wrenching tango in the post-season playoffs. Moreover, it is merely the third time in the last 11-years that Muskegon and Flint have found each other in the post-season. Each time, though, the Muskegon head coach has been current Coach Kromm.
The Lumberjacks incumbent coach is 2(1-1) in his previous two playoff series against the Generals. In 1998-99, Muskegon ousted Flint in the semi-finals 4-games to 3 to advance to the Finals where they hoisted high to the sky the ultimate league prize by eliminating two-time reigning league king Quad City in 6-games, 4-games to 2. The following season in 1999-2000, it was Flint's turn to oust Muskegon in the semi-finals, 4-games to 1 in the Generals ascent to their last league championship in 2000, also eliminating Quad City in a 4-games sweep in the Finals that season.
Both of these franchises bring extraordinary, legendary histories to the IHL post-season classic. This is the 41st time in the 50-years of pro hockey that Muskegon has qualified for the playoffs and the 26th consecutive season overall. Muskegon has captured the league's most coveted crown 8-times.
As for Flint's Generals, they have achieved the league's premiere, pre-eminent prize 3-times.
Last season, in 2008-09, the Lumberjacks finished in third place in the IHL's final regular season standings, pulling off the upset in the opening round of the playoffs by eliminating second place positioned Port Huron 4-games to 2 before falling to Fort Wayne in the Finals in 5-games, 4 to 1. Flint did not attain a playoff berth last season, completing the campaign in sixth and last place.
Games #1 and #2 will be in Muskegon at Walker Arena this Friday night, April 23rd and Saturday night, April 24th at 7:00 pm. Games #3 and #4 will shift to Flint, Tuesday, April 27th and Thursday, April 29th, also at 7:00 pm. The remaining schedule of games, if necessary, will be Game #5, Saturday, May 1st in Muskegon at 7:00 pm; Game #6 Tuesday, May 4th at Flint at 7:00 pm and Game #7 Wednesday, May 5th in Muskegon at 7:00 pm.
IHL TURNER CUP PLAYOFFS BEST 4-OF-7 SEMI-FINALS SERIES
MUSKEGON LUMBERJACKS VS. FLINT GENERALS
GAME #1 FRIDAY, APRIL 23RD FLINT AT MUSKEGON 7:00 PM
GAME #2 SATURDAY, APRIL 24TH FLINT AT MUSKEGON 7:00 PM
GAME #3 TUESDAY, APRIL 27TH MUSKEGON AT FLINT 7:00 PM
GAME #4 THURSDAY, APRIL 29TH MUSKEGON AT FLINT 7:00 PM
GAME #5** SATURDAY, MAY 1ST FLINT AT MUSKEGON 7:00 PM
GAME #6** TUESDAY, MAY 4TH MUSKEGON AT FLINT 7:00 PM
GAME #7** WEDNESDAY, MAY 5TH FLINT AT MUSKEGON 7:00 PM
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