Shawn Liverance
Local Sports Journal

Good goaltending and a timely goal were the formula the Muskegon Lumberjacks used to win its United States Hockey League home opener on Saturday night.

Scott Pooley scored with 1:11 left in overtime and goalie Eric Schierhorn made 42 saves as the Lumberjacks earned a 3-2 win over the Indiana Ice in front of 2,138 fans at L.C. Walker Arena.

“It was a very good win for us as we have several guys out of our lineup,” Lumberjacks head coach Todd Krygier said. “We played a good first period, did really nothing in the second and third, but we were able to pull it out.”

Pooley kept the Lumberjacks undefeated after three games and sent the crowd home happy when he took a pass from Robbie DeMontis and deposited the puck past Indiana goalkeeper Jason Pawloski.

Pooley’s goalie made a winner of Schierhorn in his Lumberjacks debut.

Schierhorn got pressed into duty when Jordan Uhelski, who had started the first two games of the season for the Lumberjacks, was suspended due to an altercation at the end of Friday night’s 5-4 win over Team USA.

“Yeah, I was a little nervous especially at the beginning of the game, Schierhorn said. “Jordan told me to just relax and that kind of helped calm my nerves some.”

Schierhorn allowed the Lumberjacks to take a 2-1 lead into the third period as he made 32 saves over the first two periods.

“I thought Eric was outstanding especially in that first period,” Krygier said. “We scored twice in that first period, but he made some key saves that allowed us to lead after that first period.”

The Lumberjacks only managed five shots in the opening period, but scored on two of those shots.

C.J. Smith opened the scoring for the Lumberjacks when he knocked in a rebound for his second goal of the season 4:25 into the opening period.

Muskegon made it 2-0 on a great individual play from Conner Hurley.

Hurley, who will attend Notre Dame and is a second round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, used a couple of dekes and whistled a wrist shot past Indiana starting  goalie Samu Perhonen for his first goal of the season.

Indiana continued to pressure the Lumberjacks and finally solved Schierhorn when Dwyer Tschantz made it 2-1 with his goal at 10:42 of the second period.

The Lumberjacks carried the play in the final 20 minutes outshooting Indiana 10-1, but it was the Ice who scored the only goal as Scott Conway knotted the game with less than 4 minutes left in the game.

The Lumberjacks had a great opportunity to win the game in regulation as Conway was issued a four-minute high sticking penalty late in the third period.

Muskegon was unable to capitalize on the man advantage before the end of regulation or in overtime, but Pooley was able to secure an extra point in the standings for the Lumberjack with his eventual game-winner.

“We have played three close games and won all three,” Krygier said. “It was good to get that first win at home, but we have some work to do. We need to tighten some things up and we will.”

For Schierhorn, it has been a whirlwind journey to Muskegon.

The native of Anchorage, Alaska was signed by Lumberjacks general manager John Vanbiesbrouck just prior to the start of the season.

“He saw me at a camp in New York and asked if I wanted to come to Muskegon,” Schierhorn said. “I couldn’t be happier being here. I love the town and the guys on the team are a great group. I really think we are going to have a good team this season.”

The Lumberjacks return to action on Friday when they host the Sioux City Musketeers in a two-game weekend series at L.C. Walker Arena.