Blackhawks forward prospects Mikael Hakkarainen and Josiah Slavin will face off in the USHL’s Eastern Conference Final in the Clark Cup playoffs.
Hakkarainen and the No. 1 seeded Muskegon Lumberjacks defeated the No. 6 Dubuque Fighting Saints in four games, while Slavin and the No. 2 Chicago Steel also ousted the No. 4 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in four games Wednesday.
Hakkarainen, who was drafted in the fifth round in last year’s NHL draft, has one goal and two assists in the playoffs. Slavin, a seventh-round selection last year, only has one assist.
Slavin, 20, joined the Steel in January in a trade from the Lincoln Stars. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder tallied 20 of his 47 points (24 goals, 23 assists) during the regular season with the Steel. The Colorado College commit has recently started to center the team’s second line.
For the 21-year-old Hakkarainen it’ll be a reunion of sorts as he played 16 games with the Steel after he was drafted No. 6 overall in the 2016 USHL Entry Draft. He only had four assists with the Steel at the start of the 2016-17 season before he was moved to Muskegon.
The 6-foot, 194-pounder rejoined Muskegon this season after just one game at Providence College, citing a difficulty in managing hockey and coursework as his reason to leaving the Friars program. He tallied 19 goals and 47 points in 42 regular-season games for Muskegon.
Stay tuned to Second City Hockey for coverage on the series.