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Blackhawks prospect Josiah Slavin, Chicago Steel clinch East’s No. 2 seed in USHL’s Clark Cup Playoffs

The Steel will have a first-round bye.

Brad Repplinger - Second City Hockey

Blackhawks prospect Josiah Slavin and the Chicago Steel clinched a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for the USHL’s Playoffs with a 8-1 road win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Saturday at L.C. Walker Arena.

Nick Abruzzese (Harvard) scored twice, including once on a penalty shot, and assisted on another. Cole Quisenberry (Brown) scored two goals and Neil Shea (Northeastern) had a goal and an assist. Reilly Herbst made 21 saves in the win over Muskegon (41-17-3-1), who is the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Abruzzese finishes the regular season as the USHL’s leading scorer with 80 points and two points shy of Andrew Miller’s franchise record for points in a season in 2008-09. Abruzzese, however, did pass Miller’s season assist total with 51.

The Steel (37-21-4-0), who are based in suburban Geneva at Fox Valley Ice Arena, will play the highest remaining seed in the Eastern Conference semifinals, while Muskegon will play the lowest seed. The full series schedule will be release when the Steel’s opponent is determined following the first-round series.

Slavin, a 2018 seventh-round draft pick by the Blackhawks, started the season with the Lincoln Stars and scored 10 goals and 28 points in 32 games. In January, first-year Steel general manager Ryan Hardy acquired Slavin and defenseman Hunter Carrick of Orland Park for forward Ryan Doolin, draft picks and future considerations. Since the trade, Slavin has 14 goals and 20 points in 26 games.

The Steel will have one week off as they wait for their playoff opponent to be determined.