By Steve Gunn
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – Muskegon Lumberjacks goalie Eric Schierhorn has been itching to get another crack at the Green Bay Gamblers.
He lost every game he played against Green Bay last season, including the final contest of the year when the Gamblers beat the Lumberjacks to claim the league’s last playoff spot.
But Schierhorn took his revenge on Friday, stopping all 32 shots he faced, including a second period penalty shot, as the Lumberjacks skated away with a 2-0 victory in front of 1,250 fans at L..C. Walker Sports Arena.
The Lumberjacks improved to 6-3-0 on the season, good for 12 points and first place in the United States Hockey League’s Eastern Conference. Green Bay fell to 3-4-0.
“I had a tough go against Green Bay last year – I didn’t win one game against them and got lit up,” Schierhorn said. “And then there was the last game when they kicked us out of playoff contention.
“It felt good to kind of get them back.”
Both Schierhorn and Green Bay goalie Jason Pawlowski turned in brilliant performances, keeping the game scoreless through two periods.
They killed off a combined nine power plays – five for Muskegon and four for Green Bay.
Pawlowski stopped Muskegon’s Griffen Molino on breakaway in both the first and second periods.
Schierhorn had his finest moment about five minutes into the second period when he stopped a penalty shot by Green Bay’s Michael Houle, who was awarded the free attempt after a Lumberjack player covered the puck in the goal crease during a scramble in front of Schierhorn.
“I misplayed the puck,” Schierhorn said. “My defenseman had to cover up the puck. I had to cover for my own mistake.”
Muskegon’s Matej Paulovic finally broke the deadlock at 2:09 of the third period when he found the goal with a hard wrist shot from between the circles. David Keefer had the assist.
It was Paulovic’s first goal of the season.
“I was happy for Matej,” said Muskegon Coach Todd Krygier. “He’s been been working on his shot a lot after practice and coming in early. He’s really been dedicated and he got a nice goal today.”
Tom Marchin collected an insurance goal for the Lumberjacks with just under five minutes left in the contest, with an assist from Paulovic.
Krygier was proud of his team for maintaining its composure after being frustrated by Pawlowski for two periods.
“Between the second and third periods we talked about making sure we stuck to our game plan, and stay disciplined in the neutral zone so the team could make transitions,” Krygier said. “And when we got our opportunities in the third period we put the puck in the net.”
Muskegon outshot Green Bay 35-32.