The Fargo Force headed to a familiar location for Fargo residents as the team traveled to Frisco, TX to take part in the 4th annual Frosty Cup on January 26th and 27th. The Force were in essence the headliners of the event which featured 43 youth teams from 13 states and ended with the Force taking on the Tri-City Storm in two regular season games at the Comerica Center.
On Thursday, January 26th, the Force made their game a memorable one but it seemed as though it would be one to forget early on. Fargo got the scoring started when Joe Palodichuk tallied his fifth goal of the year on a power play at the 7:37 mark of the opening period. Tri-City responded by netting a shorthanded goal just moments later at 8:56 by Graham Gamache. Tri-City would take the lead when August Falloon scored on the power play at 14:00, then at 15:54 the Storm would add to their lead as Cam O’Neil scored to make it 3-1. The Storm would go into the first intermission with that lead and would keep Fargo scoreless in the second to maintain the 3-1 advantage headed into the final period. Ty Henricks would score his 6th goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-2 at 1:52 of the third period. Just before the midway point of the third, Charlie Russell would tie it up on his 9th goal of the season. Matej Marinov would hold Tri-City scoreless in the final period to force Overtime. Just 40 seconds into the overtime period Fargo completed the comeback and sealed the victory on Cole Knuble’s 17th goal of the season. Knuble was awarded the game’s 1st Star while Joe Palodichuk was the game's 3rd Star.
Friday’s game the Force flipped the script from the previous game as Fargo earned a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Jakob Stender got the scoring started with his 5th goal of the season not even a minute into the contest, which was followed by a goal from Cole Knuble his 18th of the season. The Force maintained the 2-0 lead until the last minute of the period when they extended it to 3-0 at 19:36 on Boris Skalos’ 4th goal of the year. The celebration didn’t last long as Tri-City got on the board just 19 seconds later. Fargo regained a three goal advantage as Verner Miettinen notched his 8th goal of the year on a Force power play just 12 seconds into the second period. The Storm would eventually find some offense later in the second period as Sebastian Tornqvist scored at 15:00 and Cam O’Neill scored at 19:22 to end the period with the momentum on the Storm’s bench heading into the final period trailing just by one goal at 4-3. Fargo would eventually regain the momentum as Bret Link would score his 13th goal of the season at 6:07 of the third period. The lead would be too much for the Storm and the Force would notch an empty net goal at 18:15 to solidify their lead and make the final 6-3 in Fargo's favor. The 3 Stars of the game were 1st Star Cole Knuble, 2nd Star Anton Castro and 3rd Star Bret Link.
The Force swept the Frosty Cup games in Frisco, Texas and by doing so maintained their five point lead in the standings over the Waterloo Black Hawks who now have won nine of their last ten games and have leapfrogged Lincoln in the standings recently.
The Force stayed at the top of the USHL and the Western Conference with an overall record of 24-8-0-3 (51 points) and head to Waterloo, Iowa on February 3rd and 4th, to take on the red hot Black Hawks (23-12-0-0 46 points) in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference. The Force will return to Scheels Arena on February 10 which starts five straight home games for the team.