MUSKEGON – After winning two games in a row for the first time in more than a month, the Muskegon Lumberjacks were fired up to get another victory and build some real momentum on Saturday.

Instead they experienced an offensive power outage and another dose of inconsistency.

The Jacks followed Friday’s exciting 7-4 win over the Team USA 17-Under squad with a 5-1 loss to the same opponent on Saturday at Muskegon’s Trinity Health Arena.

The outcome added to the continual up-and-down pattern the team has been stuck in for weeks.

The Jacks have now gone 1-1 in each of the past five weekends. They are 5-6 in their last 11 games 7-9 in their last 15.

Muskegon’s Easton Young, who scored the Jacks’ only goal. Photo/Tonya Pardon

They show a lot of potential on their good nights, but are still searching for a way to put a winning streak together.

In the meantime they remain in seventh place in the USHL’s Eastern Conference, and only the top six make the playoffs. There are 18 games remaining in the regular season, including nine at home.

The Lumberjacks will get a great opportunity to catch up to sixth-place Cedar Rapids next weekend when they travel out west to face the RoughRiders on Friday and Saturday night.

“I think the guys played hard,” said Lumberjacks coach Parker Burgess. “I think the guys played a more complete game than we did last night. The scoreboard was not indicative of it. Obviously we needed to find some ways to generate offense.

“We had some power plays early on that if we would have executed there we could have got the ball rolling. Hats off to them, their goaltender played tremendously. It was 2-0 when we hit a post and they took it back and made it 3-0.”

Saturday’s first period was filled with penalties – five for Team USA and four for the Jacks. There was only one goal, a shorthanded tally by USA’s Brendan McMorrow at the 14:45 mark, and the visitors led 1-0 at the first break.

There was no scoring in the second period.

Lumberjacks head coach Parker Burgess. Photo/Tonya Pardon

Team USA took control by scoring the first three goals of the third period, by Charle Cerrato at 5:20, Austin Baker at 6:54 and Cerrato again with an empty-netter at 13:43.

The Jacks’ Easton Young broke the shutout with a goal at 18:17 of the third period, then the visitors finished things off with another empty-net goal, from Teddy Stiga, at 19:03.

Team USA goalie Jack Parsons turned in a very strong performance with a number of great saves, particularly in the third period. He stopped 32 of 33 shots to collect the victory.

Muskegon goalie Raythan Robbins took the loss, stopping 24 of 27 shots.

Ironically, the Jacks were 2-1 in their previous three games when they were outshot badly, then lost on Saturday when they had a 33-29 shot advantage.

“We are trying to start a streak, and if we do it the right way it is going to happen,” Burgess said. “We are playing great hockey right now and we could easily be at six wins in a row.

“It’s a young team that is learning how to win and find ways to do it on back-to-back nights. I have no doubt that they will be excited to play next weekend in Cedar Rapids.”