By Tony Wittkowski | Reporter | MLive – Muskegon Chronicle
MUSKEGON, MI — After giving up a quick goal in the first period, the Muskegon Lumberjacks took control and won 4-2 over the Green Bay Gamblers at the L.C. Walker Arena on Saturday, Oct. 25.
In the third game of the Lumberjacks’ home stretch, Muskegon (7-3-0, 14 points) remained undefeated at home on the season with their second straight win in as many days against Green Bay (3-6-0, 6 points).
The Gamblers struck first off the stick of defenseman Vili Saarijarvi, who was assisted by forward Joe Wegwerth with 16:14 left in the first period.
Momentum swung in favor of the Lumberjacks after Gambler defenseman Mark Yanis, who previously played for Muskegon, was charged with a boarding penalty.
Soon after the penalty kill by the Gamblers, forward Steven Merl pulled the Lumberjacks even on a goal at the 10:50 mark in the first period.
“The guys have done a pretty good job. The goalie is always your best penalty killer,” said Lumberjacks head coach Todd Krygier. “Our guys were out there blocking shots and they were showing some desperation and urgency this weekend.”
With 1:43 left to play in the first period on their second power play of the game, Lumberjacks forward Cooper Marody shot on net only to have forward Tommy Marchin knock one in off the rebound to grab the 2-1 lead.
However, the Gamblers would answer with a rebound goal of their own from forward Drew Best after the Lumberjacks failed to clear the puck from their zone.
The play of the night came later in the second period on a steal that led to a transition goal by forward David Keefer who went top shelf with 1.6 seconds left to play. That goal was what broke the camel’s back as the Lumberjacks never relinquished the lead after.
With no power play goals recorded for the season, the Gamblers came close when defenseman Anthony Walsh found the back of the net partway through the third period. However, the goal was waved off by officials because goaltender Eric Schierhorn was interfered with.
“We’ve done what we’ve had to do to win,” Krygier said of the three-game win streak. “We’ve done it against Chicago and Green Bay, which is huge since they are divisional games. It was a good weekend.”
Lumberjacks forward Cooper Marody had a great performance Saturday night, finishing the game with an empty-net goal and an assist.
Marody has excelled this season, posting 7 assists through 10 games after adding another in tonight’s 4-2 win over the Gamblers.
As a University of Michigan commit, Marody entered his second season with the Lumberjacks with a few goals in mind.
“I want to be a leader for the rookies and the new guys here,” Marody said. “As far as my personal goals go, I’m just trying to become a better player every day. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.”
One of his main assets has been as the team’s main setup man, where he leads the Lumberjacks in assists.
The six foot, 177-pound forward out of Brighton has seen his share of luck with the puck as his goal on Saturday came on an empty net with 16 seconds left in regulation.
“I’ve never seen (Marody) skate so fast on that empty-netter,” Krygier said. “Cooper’s been playing really well. He’s been doing a better job defensively and he contributes on offense. Cooper is one of our top players.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Oct. 25, 2014)