The Fargo Force hit the road for a three game road trip from Nov. 11-13..The Force headed to Des Moines, Iowa for a single game against the Buccaneers, then jumped back on the bus for back-to-back games in Omaha against the Lancers. The Force dropped the first game against the Buccaneers in a shootout 4-3, handing Matej Marinov his first loss this season. The stay in Omaha was much better as the Force got back-to-back wins against the Lancers, ending the weekend taking five out of a potential six points on the trip.
On Friday, the Buccaneers struck first on a power play goal by Jak Vaarwerk, but the Force responded with two straight goals in the second period, a goal by Charlie Russell and then Mac Swanson finding the back of the net. The Buccaneers tied the game up in the third period on a power play goal by Lubomir Kupco. The Force would reclaim the lead on a short-handed goal by Kyle Smolen, but the Buccaneers would respond with a goal by Chase Ramsay to tie the game with 5:59 remaining in. The two teams would go scoreless in the extra five minutes and would need penalty shots to decide a victor. The Force went scoreless on their three shootout opportunities, but on the last attempt for Des Moines Joey Muldowney would get one past Matej Marinov to seal the 4-3 win for the Buccaneers.
The Force headed to Omaha and were more effective in the offensive zone than the previous night in Des Moines. After only getting 19 shots on goal Friday night, the Force got 29 shots on goal and were able to get six past Lancers goalie Kevin Pasche. Fargo got out to a three goal lead after a first period goal by Cole Knuble and two early second period goals by Anthiny Menghini and Brett Link. Omaha answered with a goal from former Force player Charlie Lurie, then Griffin Jurecki added a shorthanded goal to cut the Force lead to one However a power play goal by Leo Gruba pushed the lead to two and Fargo would take that lead into the second intermission. Brett Link would stretch the lead to three for the second time on his second goal of the night. Logan Morrell would score for the Lancers to cut into the lead, but it wasn’t enough as Cole Knuble would add his second goal of the night on an empty-netter preserving Fargo’s 6-3 victory. Force goalie Anton Castro notched his fourth win on the season to raise his record to 4-3-0-1. The Three Stars for the game were 1st Star Brett Link, 2nd Star Mac Swanson, and 3rd Star Cole Knuble.
The weekend finale was a matinee affair as puck drop was scheduled for 4:05 pm. Just like the Saturday night matchup Fargo scored the first three goals, with Brett Link getting the Force on the board with just 48 seconds remaining in the opening period. Mac Swanson got an early second period goal which was followed by an unassisted goal by German Yavash with 3:43 remaining in the period. Omaha would finally get on the board with a goal from Aleksi Kivioja about a minute later in the second period. Omaha would inch closer as they scored at almost the midway point of the third period on a Marcus Broberg goal. Fargo would retaliate a minute later on an unassisted goal by Ty Henricks to push the lead back to two. Omaha would get a Charlie Lurie goal to get within one goal again late in the third period. Fargo closed the door on the series sweep of Omaha with an empty net goal by Charlie Russell to make the final 5-3. Matej Marinov got his fifth win of the season, improving to 5-0-0-1 on the young season. The Three Stars for the game were 1st Star Mac Swanson, 2nd Star Ty Henricks and 3rd Star Charlie Russell.
The Force were able to go 2-0-0-1 this week, all while going 1 for 11 on the power play, just converting on 9% of the opportunities over the three game trip. Fargo averages a 25% conversion rate on power plays this season. The Force were roughly around their average on the penalty kill this trip stopping 77% of their opponents power play opportunities, this puts the Force at third in the league penalty kill at 79% for the season. If the Force continue to struggle on the power play, they will have to make up for it by continuing to be efficient in their penalty kill.
The Force will be home for the next two weeks as they will host the Sioux Falls Stampede at the Moorhead Sports Center for Cully’s Kids Night on Thursday, November 17th. Sioux Falls will return to Fargo to take on the Force for a Thanksgiving Eve matchup on November 23rd. The Omaha Lancers will head north to Fargo for a pair of games from November 25-26.