By Steve Gunn
They got two huge road wins that breathed new life into their young season.
On Saturday they went into Bloomington and won 2-1 in an overtime shootout. Jacob Coleman had the regulation goal for Muskegon while Matej Paulovic and Collin Adams scored in the shootout.
What was a horrible 2-6 start is suddenly a much improved 4-6 record, and the Jacks are excited about the challenge of another weekend on the road, with Friday and Saturday games in Fargo.
They will return home Nov. 20 and 21 for games against Dubuque.
The Lumberjacks have eight points in the USHL’s Eastern Conference standings, which still leaves them in last place. But they are only two points behind eighth-place Chicago and Team USA.
“The guys are really excited – they see that their hard work is paying off,” said Muskegon Coach Todd Krygier. “Everybody is contributing. Those were really a couple of team wins.”
Defense and goaltending were key factors all weekend, Krygier said.
“We got great goaltending – Joey Daccord played two really good games,” he said. “The younger guys are getting a lot better and played good team defense. We’ve been practicing very well the last few weeks and it’s starting to transfer to the games. Two wins in two one-goal games on the road is proof of that.”
Krygier admitted that offense remains an issue, but he’s starting to see improvement.
“It’s still a concern,” he said. “We have to bury our chances and take advantage of opportunities we get. The power play hasn’t scored in the last few games, either. But I think the goal scoring is going to increase. We’re starting to see some chemistry on the lines.”
Adding more young goal scorers
The Lumberjacks have continued to add players to bolster their offensive attack.
Late last week they picked up forward Charlie Combs from Dubuque for defenseman Carson Vance. Last year Combs had 21 goals and 14 assists for Amarillo in the North American Hockey League.
This week they got forward Bobby Kaiser from Tri-City for future considerations. Last year he had 19 goals and 16 assists for the Honeybaked U18 midget major squad.
“The guys that we’ve added are a little bit bigger, stronger and heavier (than the other forwards),” Krygier said.
“We’re always trying to get better. But I like where we’re at now. If the team performs well we won’t have to make more changes.”
To make room on the roster, the Lumberjacks sent forward Keegan Ward to Omaha for an 11th round draft pick.