Lumberjacks tie their season-high with a four-game winning streak, creep closer in the East playoff chase

Local Sports Journal

KEARNEY, Nebraska – It was pretty much a mirror image from  friday night’s game as the Muskegon Lumberjacks had to climb back from another two-goal deficit in the second period to eventually edge the host Tri-City Storm by another 4-3 final tonight at the Viaero Event Center to complete the two-game weekend sweep in Kearney, Nebraska and creep to within four points of the last Eastern Conference playoff spot behind both Chicago and Green Bay.

In a complete role reversal from the previous night, the Storm (18-31-3, 39 points) won the race to the scoreboard netting a power play goal with 2:08 left in the opening frame as Austin Poganski tipped home his team-leading 16th goal of the season through the five-hole of Eric Schierhorn (15-14-1) that was helped by Daniel Labosky and Chase Berger.

In the waning moments of the period, the Lumberjacks (24-22-4, 52 points) countered to tie the game at 1-1 with exactly five seconds to go in the first period as Matt Iacopelli fed a pass to Trevor Morbeck in the right faceoff circle who one-timed his 12th goal of the season top shelf over the left shoulder of Jacob Johansson (14-21-3) that was also set up by Mason Jobst.

Through the first 20 minutes of play, the Lumberjacks outshot the Storm by a narrow 13-9 margin.

In the beginning minutes of the second period, Tri-City regained their lead at 2-1 by the 4:39 mark as Labosky wristed a shot from between the faceoff circles over the glove of Schierhorn for his 8th of the year that was set up by Berger and Poganski.  Later in the middle frame at the 13:04 mark, the Storm doubled their lead to 3-1 back on the man advantage as a screen shot by Jalen Schulz from the left point found its way through traffic and past Schierhorn for his 2nd goal of the season that was aided by Kevin Kerr and Garrett Gamez.

A few minutes later, Muskegon got a goal back with 4:13 left in the middle stanza as Jack Rowe found a loose puck between the faceoff circles and lifted his 13th marker of the season and 3rd as a Lumberjack over the blocker of Johansson that was assisted by Robbie DeMontis and Janik Moeser.

The one goal affair went into the second and final intermission with the Lumberjacks hanging on to the shot battle by a 25-19 margin outshooting the Storm, 12-10, in the second period.

As the third period neared the midway point, the visiting Lumberjacks found a way to notch equalizer at 3-3 by the 7:22 mark as Matej Paulovic slid one past the left pad of Johansson that was helped by Chris Dodero and Daniel Willett that was followed up by the eventual game-winner from Cooper Marody at the 10:27 mark as Chase Hatcher found the Brighton, Michigan native alone on the backdoor to the right of the Tri-City netminder, and Marody one-timed his 9th goal of the season to give the visitors their first lead of the evening that they would not relinquish.

With 52 seconds remaining in regulation, Tri-City pulled Johansson for the extra attacker, but once again for the second consecutive evening, Muskegon’s defense held strong as they ended the game outshooting the hosts by a 39-26 margin.

Eric Schierhorn earned his 15th victory of the season in net stopping 23 of 26 shots that came his way for Muskegon, while Jacob Johansson took the home loss for Tri-City stopping 35 of 39 shots on the evening.  The Lumberjacks were led offensively with eleven different players notching a point in the road win, while the Storm’s offensive charge was led by three players in Austin Poganski (one goal and one assist), Daniel Labosky (one goal and one assist), and Chase Berger (two assists) with two points each.  The Lumberjacks finish the regular season sweeping the two-game series against the Storm on the road (2-0-0).