MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Risers finally got out of their home arena with a much-needed victory on Friday. The Risers topped the Iowa Raptors, 12-5 at Trinity Health Arena for their last home game of the MASL2 season.
Giving the lift Muskegon needed was Miguel Flores and Aldony Mendez. Flores tallied four goals and an assist while Mendez had three goals.
The burst of offense was well needed for Muskegon. In the past six home games, the team was able to go blow-to-blow with other teams in the MASL2, but they had an incredible struggle securing a win.
Quite often this season, the Risers would get a one-goal lead, even a two-goal lead late in a game. But they just could not get a bounce to go their way for a win.
On Friday night, it looked like another difficult back and forth battle.
The Risers traded goals with Iowa until the Raptors responded with back-to-back goals to take a 5-4 lead early in the third quarter.
That was the wake-up call Muskegon needed.
The Risers went on to score eight unanswered goals and ran away with an important win on its home turf.
Important not because the Risers have hopes of making the playoffs. They are mathematically eliminated from any postseason hopes. The victory was key because the crew and their fans just needed to send this season out with a win at home.
Four of the last seven games had been decided by one goal with Muskegon on the losing end. Games the Risers could have easily won had a bounce gone their way.
Clearly, the bounce went the Risers’ way on Friday.
Flores and Mendez started the show for Muskegon, trading goal for goal through the second quarter for a 4-3 lead.
Iowa responded with a Ricardo Orozco goal before half and Ayo Adebayo gave Iowa a 5-4 lead to start the third quarter.
Thankfully for the Risers, the floodgates opened. Michael Schmit tied the score at 5-5 with four minutes left in the third. Cesar Alayo put Muskegon up 6-5 just before the end of the third. Schmitt started the fourth quarter with a goal and a 7-5 lead. Flores, Mendez, James Dutcher, and Alayo each put in goals to lead the second-half surge by Muskegon.
Muskegon goalie Jake Lofgren posted the win with 13 saves.
The Risers will close out their season with two games on the road next week at Rochester.
Photos courtesy of Joe Lane