By Dave Tomczak
MUSKEGON – A lightning delay was about the only thing that slowed down the Muskegon Risers on Friday.
The Risers appeared more than ready to roll in 2019, unleashing 17 shots on goal and rolling to a 9-2 victory over Lake St. Clair in their season opener at Muskegon Catholic Central’s Kehren Stadium.
“We have a good balance of young, talented players and veterans who have been around awhile,” said Risers Coach Matt Schmitt. “Both can sharpen each other, and we saw the results with the offense today.”
Playing in a steady downpour, Muskegon struck first seven minutes into the game when Justice Sikkema broke through the defense and slid a crossing pass to Ibrahim Konbloa, who scored an easy goal.
Ten minutes later lightning suspended play for 20 minutes.
When play resumed, Lake St. Clair scored to tie the game at 1-1 with 17:32 left in the first half. But then Muskegon took command of the contest, scoring five more goals before halftime.
Konbloa’s second goal gave Muskegon a 2-1 lead, then goals from Sikkema, Nicholas Walker (2), and Ryan Wagenmaker put the Risers up 6-1 at the break.
Muskegon had an 11-3 shot advantage in the first half, then struck quickly to begin the second.
Sikkema scored his second of the game almost three minutes into the half, making the score 7-1.
Two minutes later Lake St. Clair cut the lead to 7-2 on its first shot of the half. But again Muskegon responded quickly, with Michael Schmitt scoring two minutes later for an 8-2 lead.
Matthew Robinson scored the game’s final goal with 18:56 remaining.
The Risers finished with a 17-6 shot advantage, and pick up a home win, something the winter indoor Risers squad could not manage in its 2018-19 season.
“We had a really sour taste in our mouths after the end of the arena season,” Coach Schmitt said. “We were really ready to get back to work. We were really committed to winning the details and winning preparation.
“We didn’t win today just playing, we won with preparation and building a winning culture in training camp.”
Konbloa and Sikkema finished with two assists apiece.