The Fargo Force continued their four game streak of road games with a trip to South Dakota and Iowa on January 13-14. The Force were looking to rebound after getting swept last weekend by Lincoln and maintain their lead in the conference over them. This would be the sixth matchup versus Sioux Falls and the fifth matchup against Sioux City this season, with Fargo having won four of five versus Sioux Falls and Splitting the previous four matchups versus Sioux City.
On Friday, January 13th, the Force looked to continue their winning streak versus the Stampede. The first period was somewhat quiet until the midway point when Anthony Menghini scored his 12th goal of the season for the shorthanded Force on the penalty kill. Two minutes later Sioux Falls would tie the game on a Noah Andersson goal but that was as close as the Stampede would get the rest of the night. The Force responded with two more goals in the first period, Brent Link scoring his 11th of the season and Cole Knuble netting his 14th to make it 3-1 after the first period. The second period saw Sioux Falls cut the lead to 1 after a power play goal by Evan Murr, however, Fargo would respond at the midway point of the period with Anthony Menghini’s 2nd of the night. The final period was scoreless until Cole Knuble got his second goal of the night, followed by Anthony Menghini’s third goal of the night to get the hat trick on his 14th goal of the season. The Stampede would finish off the scoring for the game when they would respond with a Adam Zinka goal just 40 seconds later, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Force earned a 6-3 victory. The game’s 3 Stars of the game were 1st Star Anthony Menghini, 2nd Star Cole Knuble and 3rd Star Matej Marinov.
Saturday’s game at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, IA was another tough grind it out game between the two clubs. A much lower scoring game as compared to Friday night with just one goal per period. Fargo struck first as Defenseman Jacob Napier scored his fourth goal of the season. The second period slowed down and became a defensive struggle as fewer pucks were making it to the net. Fargo increased the lead to 2-0 when Bret Link got his 12th goal of the season at the 3:05 mark. Sioux City wasn’t able to solve net minder Anton Castro until the 12:29 mark of the third period on a goal by Ben Doran. Fargo had two players named to the 3 Stars of the game as Bent Link was named 1st Star and Jacob Napier was the game's 3rd Star.
The Force swept the weekend games on the road, which is never an easy feat. Fargo wasn’t able to capitalize on the power play this weekend going 0 for 4, but the opportunities to improve on the power play were also limited to relatively clean play by their opponents. Fargo’s penalty kill continued to be one of the best in the league as they were able to kill off 4 of 5 opponent power plays.
The Force regained the top overall record in the USHL and remained in first place in the Western Conference by 4 points over second place Lincoln after this weekend’s games. The Force are now 21-7-0-3 (45 points) and return to home ice on January 20th with a pair of games versus Sioux Falls Stampede (13-15-2-2 30 points). The Force will have their Hometown Heroes night on Saturday the 21st, featuring specialty jerseys, merchandise, musical performances, helmets, and more.