By Ron Rop
On Tuesday, the Muskegon Lumberjacks sent their No. 1 goaltender Jan Skorpik to the North American Hockey League. Skorpik, a native of the Czech Republic, appeared in four games and had a 0-1-1 record, a 4.73 goals-against-average and an .830 save percentage.
In his place, the Lumberjacks are bringing in Platon Zadorozhny, who is expected to arrive in Muskegon on Wednesday from Russia.
“Jan Skorpik is going on to North Star in the North American Hockey League,” Lumberjack coach Mike Hamilton said. “We were not losing games because of Jan Skorpik or our goaltending. There are many reasons, but we’re looking for that timely save. We’re looking for someone who can get us out of trouble once in a while when things are going well.
“Our hope is a little change, and listen, losing Jan brought a lot of guys to tears,” Hamilton said. “He was a locker room favorite and a hard worker. The reason Jan is not here anymore is all of us weren’t our best and that hurts. It hurts to lose our friend and someone you care about.”
Zadorozhny came highly recommended from an agency that has provided some top-notch talent to the Lumberjacks in recent years.
“We’ve been searching around to see what was available out there,” Hamilton said. “That agency tipped us off to someone who was available that may be able to help our situation.”
Zadorozhny, who is still an amateur on a junior contract, has been playing at high level that Hamilton compared to minor professional hockey, maybe even American Hockey League caliber.
“We’ve been hearing really good things and until he gets here, we can’t tell you exactly what we have, but we know there is lot of buzz around his name and what he has been able to accomplish. He’s been playing basically a high level of hockey over there.”
Hamilton hopes the move will spark the team, which has just one victory this season.
“We’re hoping when Platon gets here, that he’s three quarters as good as the hype,” said Hamilton, who would not say when he will make his Muskegon debut, but it won’t be long after his arrival.
Muskegon plays host to the Dubuque Fighting Saints at Mercy Health Arena on Friday and Saturday night.