Muskegon Stuns in Dubuque in Clark Cup Eastern Conference Semi-Final Opener

Muskegon Stuns in Dubuque in Clark Cup Eastern Conference Semi-Final Opener

April 21, 2019 Off By Rachel Anderson

In their first Clark Cup Eastern Conference semi-final appearance, the Muskegon Lumberjacks dominated the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The Lumberjacks kicked off their 2018-19 Clark Cup playoff run with a stunning 4-0 shutout victory. Muskegon held the number one seed throughout the season and did not disappoint in their opener.

The Captain Leads the Charge

The Lumberjacks Captain, Nolan Sullivan, spearheaded an immense effort from the entire team. Tallying the first goal as well as an assist, Sullivan’s drive throughout the game never dimmed. He created multiple breakaway opportunities and hammered Dubuque goaltender, Matthew Thiessen with shots.

Matt Thiessen, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL

Matt Thiessen, Dubuque Fighting Saints, Clark Cup Playoffs. (Photo Credit: Jenae Anderson – Access Hockey MI)

The momentum created by the Captain launched an assault on the Fighting Saints. Previously having 15 victories in their 22 semi-final appearances, Dubuque found themselves on the wrong side of 60 minutes. The Saints played an aggressive and gritty game but came up empty-handed. Thiessen stood on his head for his team – facing upwards of 38 shots.

Max Ellis, Jack Williams, and Mikael Hakkarainen all netted their first goals of the playoffs to seal Dubuque’s fate. Winning came at a price, however.

Victory at a Cost

Egor Afanasyev was taken down with a knee-on-knee collision. TheĀ 2019 NHL Draft Prospect was left writhing on the ice. He returned to the ice but in visible pain and with great effort. Blackhawks pick, Mikael Hakkarainen, took a skate to the face following an awkward fall. Skating from the ice, spitting blood, Hakkarainen did return for the third period.

Related: Egor Afanasyev Talks About USHL Development

The Lumberjacks look to make franchise history and claim their first Clark Cup riding the momentum of tonight’s incredible win. Highlighted by their on-ice leadership, chippy coaching courtesy of Mike Hamilton, and solid pipe-defending from Brandon Bussi, the playoff run for Muskegon will be an epic one.