Muskegon opened the scoring as Ty Henricks found the back of the Capitols goal for the first time this season after a backdoor pass by Hunter Anderson 13 minutes and 13 seconds into the first period. Less than two minutes later Capitols defenseman Will Felicio responded, scoring off his own rebound into the goal manned by Lukas Swedin.
Despite Muskegon being on the penalty kill three times during the second period, the Capitols were unable to score on the power play. They rank fifth in the USHL for power play scoring at 21.4%. Madison did extend their lead to one when Charlie Michaud, assisted by forwards Rainers Rullers and Chris Delaney, fired the lone goal of the period — and his first career USHL goal – 12 minutes and 31 seconds into play.
It was a one-score game going into the third period. Madison goalie Patriks Berzins fended off 11 shots by the Lumberjacks, while Swedin dealt with a relentless Capitols offense. It remained a one-score game until Delaney extended the Capitols’ lead with a wraparound goal 17 minutes and 25 seconds into the third period.
After the Lumberjacks pulled Swedin, Madison forward Nagel scored on an empty net with less than one minute to play. Muskegon was unable to come back from this three-point deficit and game one ended in a 4-1 Capitols victory.
Initially, game two seemed to be a continuation of the previous night, as Madison scored back-to-back goals within less than ten minutes of play. Assisted by James Hong and Nate Murray, Finn Brink, one of the USHL’s best scorers, knocked one past Paxton Geisel for an early Madison Capitols lead. Less than five minutes later Brink’s teammate Austin Burnevik scored on a backhand shot, assisted by Delaney and Rullers.
These were Madison’s only goals for the night. The Lumberjack’s offense persistently dominated the ice, making 32 shots on goal in comparison to Madison’s 20. Twelve minutes and 34 seconds into play, Muskegon captain Cody Croal scored his first goal of the series after receiving a pass from Young across the offensive zone. Nearly three minutes later, Croal and Owen Keefe assisted Joe Connor in netting his third goal of the season with a toe drag that shot by the glove of goalie Carson Musser.
Four minutes into period two, Croal scored again, this time assisted by Connor. Anderson intercepted Andrew Kuzma’s pass intended for Burnevik, quickly firing into the top left corner of the goal.
Madison started period three on the penalty kill after Nagel was given two-minutes for cross-checking. Muskegon went into the series against Madison ranked 2nd in the USHL for power plays, at 34.8%, and showed this strength as Croal dropped back for a short pass to Henricks, who slapped in the final goal for Muskegon.
The Capitols were unable to come back from the three-point deficit, losing the second game 5-2 and splitting the series. Madison, now 5-1-1-0, remains second in the Eastern Conference, only one point behind the Dubuque Fighting Saints.