Gull Lake earned a 4-1 road win Thursday evening against Loy Norrix, keeping the Blue Devils unbeaten through their first 10 games.
All four goals came in the first half for the top-ranked team in Division 2, starting with a penalty kick in the fifth minute. The first PK try by Nolan Jaros was stopped by Knight goalkeeper Carlos Santos, but an illegal move gave Jaros a second chance, which he buried. Jaros put the score at 2-0 with a goal right at the start of the eighth minute.
Jack Hirzel scored in the 27th minute, followed by Roni Sylejmani in the 37th for a 4-0 Gull Lake lead at halftime. Unofficially, the Blue Devils had 12 shots-on-goal to LN’s three in the first half, followed by a 7-2 tally in the second half. Santos came away with 15 saves in defeat for the Knights with GL’s Trent Grant stopping four.
To their credit, Loy Norrix would keep Gull Lake from scoring in the second half. The lone Knight goal came in the 46th minute on a beautiful Ben Sanford bicycle kick off a cross by Carter Scheel. The Blue Devil defense would keep LN from getting clean looks at the net from there despite a much more competitive second half.
Following Thursday’s matches, the Blue Devils lead the SMAC standings at 5-0. From there, St. Joseph is second at 4-1, followed by Portage Northern (4-2), Lakeview (3-1-1), Kalamazoo Central (3-3), Portage Central (2-1-2), Mattawan (2-2-2), Lakeshore (2-3), Loy Norrix (2-4-1), then Niles and Battle Creek Central (both 0-5).
Loy Norrix sits at 3-5-2 overall with the loss and returns to action at Kalamazoo Central Tuesday, followed by a trip to Battle Creek Central next Thursday.
Gull Lake is 10-0 overall and heads to Lakeview Tuesday, then travels to Mattawan next Thursday.