Josiah Slavin and the Chicago Steel locked up their second USHL Eastern Conference Championship in three seasons with a 3-2 win in OT over the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Saturday night. Slavin assisted on the game-winning goal as the Steel claimed the best-of-five series in four games.
Following a battle between 2018 seventh-round pick Slavin and fifth-round pick Mikael Hakkarainen of the Lumberjacks, it was Slavin who will now head to the Clark Cup Final against the Sioux Falls Stampede.
A Colorado College commit beginning his NCAA career in the fall, Slavin was a trade deadline acquisition for the Steel after playing much of the season as captain of the Omaha Stars. Slavin may be playing the final USHL games of his career, but the 20-year-old has made them count with two goals and five assists in eight playoff games.
Slavin played hero in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, scoring his second goal of the game with just three seconds left to force overtime against Muskegon, a game Chicago would win in overtime.
Despite the loss, Hakkarainen turned heads for the Lumberjacks with four goals and five assists in eight postseason games. The Finnish prospect scored in Muskegon's only win of the series, a Game 2 strike in the victory over Chicago. This season, Hakkarainen's 47 points (19 G, 28 A) were fourth best on Muskegon.
Slavin and the Steel begin their Clark Cup Final series on Friday night against Sioux Falls.