Fargo Force Week Nineteen Recap

Fargo Force Logo
Fargo Force Logo

The Fargo Force traveled to Waterloo, Iowa to take on the second place Black Hawks who came into the series trailing the Force but just three points in the standings. Waterloo entered the weekend series as the hottest team in the USHL having won 10 of their last 11 games and boasting the league's best home record at 16-5-0-0. Not to be outdone Fargo entered the weekend series as the top overall team in the league (24-8-0-3) and the second best road record in the USHL (13-4-0-1).

On Friday, February 3rd, the Force made a statement showing why they have the best record in the USHL. Fargo scored quickly to start things off with a goal from Captain Kyle Smolen, his 13th of the season, at the 2:20 mark of the opening period. Waterloo answered a minute and a half later with a goal by Miko Matikka. Fargo would retake the lead on a power play goal by Verner Miettinen, his 9th of the season.  Fargo would add a third goal in the period when Bret Link would notch his 14th goal of the season. The second period started where the first period ended with Fargo getting another on the scoreboard as Charlie Russell scored his 10th goal of the season just 85 seconds into the period. At 12:21 the Black Hawks would answer on a goal by Gavin O’Connell. Approximately two minutes later Boris Skalos would return Fargo to the three goal advantage on his 5th goal of the season. Waterloo wouldn’t give up as they would cut the lead back to two at 17:35 on Aaron Pionk’s goal to end the second period scoring. That was as close as the Black Hawks would get as Fargo would net the first two goals of the final period. Boris Skalos would get his second of the game and 6th of the season and Charlie Russell would get his 11th goal of the season on an empty net goal. Waterloo would get one more past Matej Marinov at 18:59 but that would not be enough as Fargo would win 7-4. The Game’s 3 Stars were 1st Star Boris Skalos, 2nd Star Girts Silkalns, and 3rd Star Matej Marinov.

Saturday’s game the Force would start off hot once again as they scored the game’s first three goals. In the first period Verner Miettinen would get his 10th goal of the season, he would then follow up with an encore in the second period as he would get his 11th of the year on the power play and give the Force a 2 goal lead. James Hong would get Waterloo on the scoreboard at 15:42 of the period and cut the lead to 2-1. Girts Silkalns would get in on the action as he would also score on a Fargo power play and make the lead 3-1 at the 1:14 mark of the final period. Waterloo would not quit as they would get the next two goals in the second half of the final period. Gavin O’Donnell would score both goals for the Black Hawks as they would force overtime. For the first time this season Fargo would concede a game in overtime, their previous overtime games were either wins or shootout losses. That night Waterloo’s Sam Rinzel got the game winner at 2:21 of the extra period and snapped Fargo’s three game winning streak.

The Force remain at the top of the USHL and the Western Conference after securing 3 out of a possible 4 points this past weekend. The Force have an overall record of 25-8-1-3 (54 points) and return to Scheels Arena this weekend (February 11th and 12th) to host the Sioux City Musketeers (18-15-2-3 41 points) in a two game weekend series. This is the start of five straight home games for the Force before heading out on the road during the last weekend of February.