Chicago wins series opener in Muskegon, series tied 1–1


Chicago 5, Muskegon 4 (OT)

The Chicago Steel fell behind 2–0 early with two power play goals from Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Mikael Hakkarainen but fought back for a 5–4 overtime victory. The Steel received the game-tying goal from forward Josiah Slavin, another Blackhawks prospect, with 2.9 seconds left in regulation before forward Nick Abruzzese scored the game winner in overtime.

Hakkarainen’s two late-first-period goals finished off a sluggish start by the Steel. Chicago was outshot in the first period 17–8 and only killed off one of the three penalties taken in the frame. Steel goaltender Justin Robbins made several key saves throughout the period, otherwise, the score could have really gotten away from Chicago.

Steel forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine scored his second goal of the playoffs, shortening the Muskegon lead to 2–1, taking a nice pass from defenseman Matteo Pietroniro before beating Lumberjacks netminder Brandon Bussi.

Another power play goal by Muskegon extended the Lumberjacks lead back to two goals before Slavin scored his first of two goals on the evening to cut the Muskegon lead back to one goal.

Muskegon scored early in the third period when forward Bobby Lynch scored his second goal of the postseason.

Only 12 seconds later, Abruzzese scored his fourth goal of the playoffs with a goal assisted by Pietroniro.

The game-tying power play goal, with under three seconds left in the game, gave Slavin his second goal of the game, on the power play, assisted by Pietroniro and Fontaine.

Chicago took a 1–0 series lead when Abruzzese scored the overtime game-winner, assisted by forward Robert Mastrosimone and defenseman Luke Reid.

Muskegon outshot Chicago 40–34 for the game, while Robbins stopped 36 shots for the victory.

Muskegon 3, Chicago 2

The Lumberjacks wasted no time when forward Jagger Joshua scored 19 seconds into the opening frame. The goal, assisted by forward Ryan Savage and defenseman Declan Carlile.

The early Lumberjacks goal did not put Chicago on their heals, as Mastrosimone buried his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Fontaine and Slavin.

Hakkarainen took back the lead at the 13:01 mark in the first period with his fourth goal of the playoffs and third of the series.

Muskegon would extend their lead to 3–1 when forward Jack Williams scored his second goal of the playoffs. The goal was the only goal of the second period.

Fontaine put Chicago on the board early in the third period, with his third goal of the season, on the power play goal assisted by Abruzzese and Slavin.

Chicago continued to push the pressure on Muskegon to tie the game during the rest of the period but the Steel could not solve Bussi for the game-tying goal.

Muskegon outshot Chicago 31–26 for the game.

The series returns to Fox Valley Ice Arena for Game 3 on Friday, May 3 for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at 7:05 p.m. at Fox Valley Ice Arena. With the series tied 1–1, Chicago looks to take advantage of the home-ice advantage they took back from Muskegon.

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