Fargo Force Week Twelve Recap

Fargo Force Logo
Fargo Force Logo

The Fargo Force headed out to finish their current five game road trip, the first stop was Sioux City, Iowa before heading further south to Omaha, Nebraska. Friday’s matchup with the Musketeers was the fourth meeting between the two squads. The Saturday and Sunday matchups with the Lancers would be the 5th and 6th games between the two teams and the fourth time the Force have played them in their last seven games.  

On Friday, December 9th the Force took on the Musketeers with Sioux City looking to even the season series between the teams at two wins a piece. In the first period, it appeared the Musketeers were well on their way to getting that victory as Ty Hanson and Tyler Hotson each scored a goal to put the home team up by 2 at the first intermission. Fargo got things going in the second period as Brasen Boser tallied his first goal of the season just before the period was two minutes old. The Force would tie the game at the 12:40 mark as Girts Silkalns scored his first goal as a member of the Force. Sioux City would take control just past the midway point of the third period with a goal by Ryan Conmy, giving the Musketeers a 3-2 lead that would not relinquish, earning Sioux City a much needed win versus the Force.

The Force came into Saturday’s game having lost back-to-back games and three of their last four games overall and were facing an opponent that they had just split their weekend series against in the Lancers. After a scoreless first period, Omaha got the early lead on a goal by Vincent Salice at 6:34 of the second period. The Force would respond with Leo Gruba’s third goal of the season at 14:59 to tie the game and set up a deciding final period. At the start of the third period the Lancer fans barely had time to get settled back in their seats when Jacob Napier scored the go-ahead goal just 46 seconds into the third stanza. Fargo would not relinquish the lead and added an empty-net goal with 52 seconds remaining to put a bow on the victory. Jacob Napier was named the games 1st Star, while Leo Gruba and Charlie Russell were named the game’s 2nd and 3rd Stars respectively.

The Sunday afternoon finale between the two teams was set to cap their weekend play for both clubs. For the first time this weekend Fargo scored in the first period at just about the midway point of the opening period Brent Link netted his 8th goal of the season to give the Force a 1-0 lead.  Omaha would tie the game just 33 seconds into the second period on a goal by Reese Laubach. The Force would keep the pressure on the Omaha goaltender as Fargo would respond with two second period goals, the first by Brent Link his 9th of the year, and Leo Gruba’s 4th of the season. Verner Miettinen would tally his 7th of the season on a short-handed empty-net goal that would cap the scoring and secure a sweep of the Lancers. The game's 3 Stars were all members of the Force as the 1st Star was Bret Link, 2nd Star was Leo Gruba and Matej Marinov was the 3rd Star.

The Force were able to win two of three games this past weekend and increase their lead over Lincoln to four points and remain the top team in the Western Conference. While the Force once again were unable to find the back of the net on the power play (0 of 15), their penalty kill was stellar, holding their two opponents over 3 games to a combined 0 of 7.  Fargo has also done a good job of staying out of the penalty box in general which limits teams that are efficient on the power play. Special teams play is such a critical part of the Force’s rise to the top of the Western Conference. The Force are now 15-5-0-3 (33 points) which is good for the best record in the Western Conference and second best in the USHL.

The Force return to the ice this week with a weekend home and home series with the Sioux Falls Stampede (8-12-2-1 19 points) hosting the Stampede on Friday, December 16th and then traveling to Sioux Falls on Saturday, December 17th. Sioux Falls is currently in last place, but the Force did drop a game to them this season and needed overtime to get their last win against them.