USNTDP at Fargo - 6:05pm

Former Stampede product enjoying success in NHL

I came across a nice little story on a kid from Minnesota that played for Sioux Falls in the USHL.

From NHL Prospect Examiner:  Dan Sexton: Anaheim Ducks prospect, small body, big talent

At 22 years of age, undrafted Dan Sexton of the Anaheim Ducks has continued to impress doubters at every level. His goal against the Minnesota Wild tonight is only further proof.

The native of Apple Valley, Minnesota is of a small frame (5'10'', 170 pounds), but his heart is bigger than you would imagine.  Despite not being drafted, Sexton put together a modest season with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL, and broke out with Bowling Green University in following two seasons.

In April 2009, the big boys took notice and the Ducks signed him in the middle of college.  It did not take him long to open some eyes, as he posted 7 points in his first 6 games, not to mention 2 goals in only the third game of his career.

Not many people expected the emergence from Dan Sexton (6 goals, 3 assists for 9 points in 12 games), but that should not let you think that he is some flash-in-pan.  This little guy has dogged tenacity, a outer-strength to stay on his skates and an inner-strength to believe in himself.

Across the hockey world, fellow smaller-sized prospects should begin looking up to his example.

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Forecast is frightful for Winter Classic

The weather outside may be looking frightful for the 3rd Winter Classic to be played at Fenway Park between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins.  After looking at the forecast the last couple days for Boston, MA, it is looking like it might be the worst kind of weather for an outdoor hockey game.  As of right now there is a good chance of it raining on January 1 at Fenway Park in Boston.

Raining in January?  That is unheard of coming from the North Dakota/Minnesota area, that's for sure, but it is something that is an obstacle for the upcoming NHL Winter Classic.  All we can do right now is pray that the rain stays away at least until later in the evening or the wind pushes the storm clouds away and we are able to enjoy another 'Classic'.

An excerpt from the Boston Baked Blog on

Not surprisingly, today's afternoon media briefing with Don Renzulli and Dan Craig was focused on analyzing weather forecasts and preparing for contingency plans should New Years Day be a washout.

While weather is always a concern, Renzulli went about easing the tension.

"Now we are looking at light drizzle, temperature dropping (for New Years Day)," Renzulli said. "It's kind of too early right now to decide what we are going to do. We have got to finish out our build-out phase and we will continue to monitor the weather. And we are prepared for a number of different issues, and when we get to Thursday, we'll make a call based on the current weather forecast. But right now looks like we'll be good to go and play the game."

Renzulli said if a decision is going to be made to postpone the game until Saturday, in a perfect world it will be made before the stadium fills up with fans.

"Once the Commissioner gets here, we will meet with him and Dan (Craig) and Colin Campbell and evaluate what we think the weather is going to be; and if we think there is a good chance we can get this game in, we'll do everything in our power to do that," Renzulli said. "If they are calling for a foot and a half of snow, it’s a little bit different. Three days out, I think it's kind of hard to make that decision.

"It's not like baseball where you can get in, you know, five and a half innings and it's a full game. We want to play three full periods, and we are going to make the decision based on that."

-- Dan Rosen

That's what the NHL is dealing with heading into the Winter Classic.

USA improves to 2-0 at IIHF WJC


The U.S. National Junior Team won their second straight game at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship after defeating Switzerland 3-0 on Sunday.  Team USA opened the tournament with a 7-3 win over Slovakia on Saturday.
USHL players with Team USA:
Jack Campbell earned the shutout stopping all 22 shots.  The goaltender has appeared in four USHL games this season posting a 2-1-1 record, 1.96 GAA, and one shutout.
Defenseman Matt Donovan scored his second goal of the tournament on Sunday after netting the game-winner in Saturday's 7-3 win vs. Slovakia.  He is currently a freshman at the University of Denver after spending the previous two seasons with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.  Donovan was selected All-USHL First Team during the 2008-09 season.
Mike Lee made 17 saves in Saturday's 7-3 victory.  He was the 2008-09 USHL Goaltender of the Year while playing for the Fargo Force and is currently in his freshman season at St. Cloud State University.
John Carlson scored two points (1g, 1a) in Saturday's win.  He was All-USHL Second Team during the 2007-08 season while playing for the Indiana Ice.  Carlson was then selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  He made his debut with the Capitals in November.
Danny Kristo also scored two points (1g, 1a) on Saturday.  He spent the 2008-09 season with the Omaha Lancers and is playing in the IIHF World Junior Championship for the second straight year.  Kristo is in his freshman season at the University of North Dakota.
Team USA is being coached by Dean Blais who was the 2008-09 USHL Coach of the Year while leading the Fargo Force to the Clark Cup Finals.  He is in his first season as the head coach at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Other USHL players at the WJC:
Radoslav Illo tallied two assists for Slovakia in Saturday's loss to Team USA.  He has posted 20 points (13g, 7a) in 19 games for the Tri-City Storm this season.  The second-year USHL forward has a goal in each of his last four games for the Storm.
Andrej Sustr was added to the roster for the Czech Republic and played in Sunday's 4-3 loss to Finland.  He has collected 13 points (13a) in 23 games for the Youngstown Phantoms this season.

Pond Hockey Festival

I have gotten a few comments regarding the pond hockey festival that is going on at the outdoor ponds outside of the Urban Plains Center.  I would like to direct everyone to the Fargo Force website link that provides everyone with information regarding the tournament.

Information is available here.
Registration is available here.

Thanks for your interest!  Hopefully it turns out to be a great event!

2010 ISS Top 30 - December

From Hockey's Future:

International Scouting Service - Top 30 2010 Prospects - December
1  Hall, Taylor   LW  14-Nov-91 L *6.00.75 186  Windsor  
2  Seguin, Tyler   C  31-Jan-92  R  *6.00.75  180  Plymouth  
3  Fowler, Cam   D  5-Dec-91  L  *6.02  195  Windsor  
4  Kabanov, Kirill   LW  16-Jul-92 R *6.01.75 176  Moncton  
5  Gormley, Brandon   D  18-Feb-92  L  *6.02  187  Moncton  
6  Tarasenko, Vladimir   RW  13-Dec-91  L  5.11  202  Novosibirsk  
7  Connolly, Brett   LW  2-May-92  R  6.02  181  Prince George  
8  Granlund, Mikael  C  26-Feb-92  L  5.10  180  HIFK Helsinki  
9  Gudbranson, Erik   D  7-Jan-92 R *6.03.75 195  Kingston  
10  Burmistrov, Alexander   C  21-Oct-91  L  *5.11.5  162  Barrie  
11  Pysyk, Mark   D  11-Jan-92  R  *6.01  179  Edmonton  
12  McFarland, John   C  2-Apr-92  R  *6.00  200  Sudbury  
13  Forbort, Derek   D  4-Mar-92  L  *6.04.5  198  Under 18  USHL
14  Petrovic, Alexander   D  3-Mar-92  R  *6.03.5  192  Red Deer  
15  Bjugstad, Nick   C  17-Jul-92  R  *6.03.75  188  Blaine  
16  Sheahan, Riley  C  7-Dec-91 L 6.01.5  202  Notre Dame  
17  Watson, Austin   RW  13-Jan-92  R  *6.03  180  Windsor  
18  Hishon, Joey   C  20-Oct-91  L  *5.09.25  172  Owen Sound  
19  Skinner, Jeffrey   C  16-May-92  L  *5.10  197  Kitchener  
20  Kitsyn, Maxim   LW  24-Dec-91  L  6.02  194  Novokuznetsk  
21  Niederreiter, Nino   LW  8-Sep-92  L  *6.01  205  Portland  
22  Johansen, Ryan   C  31-Jul-92  R  *6.02.25  194  Portland  
23  Tinordi, Jarred   D  20-Feb-92  L  *6.05.5  205  Under 18 USHL 
24  Howden, Quinton   LW  12-Jan-92 L *6.00.75 183  Moose Jaw  
25  Schwartz, Jaden   C  25-Jun-92  L  *5.10  180  Tri-City  
26  Kuznetsov, Evgeny   C  19-May-92  L  6.00  174  Chelyabinsk  KHL 
27  Faulk, Justin   D  20-Mar-92  R  *5.11.75  196  Under 18  
28  Nelson, Brock  C  15-Oct-91  L  *6.02.5  205  Warroad  MN-H
29  Merrill, Jonathan  D  3-Feb-92 L *6.03.25 198  Under 18  
30  Pulkkinen, Teemu   RW  2-Jan-92  R  5.11  183  Jokerit  FinE 


Yasin Cisse – RW - Des Moines Buccaneers
Big winger from Quebec and a Boston University recruit, he was playing lights out and on the rise, with 8 points in his last four games. He reportedly suffered a tear in the tendon on his right ankle and will likely miss the rest of the season, so scouts may not get another chance to see him play before the NHL Draft.

T.J. Tynan – C – Des Moines Buccaneers
Small center who is right near the top of USHL scoring race, is committed to Notre Dame, and having a great start to his junior career. Displays wonderful on-ice vision and playmaking skills, along with a solid wrist shot makes up for lack of size with a ton of skill.

Andrei Kuchin – C – Chicago Steel
Passed over at last year’s NHL Draft, Kuchin arrived in North America to play for Chicago in the USHL and is starting to turn heads. Near the top of the USHL scoring race, has pro experience playing four games last season in the KHL with Chekhov. Kuchin displays high-end skills and might not only be picked in the NHL Draft next June, will also likely be selected in the CHL Import Draft as well.

Fargo Force: Oliver adjusts to first full season

Check out Kerry Collins' article in the Fargo Forum about former Roseau Ram and current Fargo Force forward, Nick Oliver.  Oliver was chosen in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round.  Check out the article in the link below.

Fargo Force: Oliver adjusts to first full season | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

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If anyone out there has any pictures or videos from the Fargo Force games, I would love to take it and post highlights after games with a recap.  If you do, please e-mail me at  More media = more interest.  More interest = more fans!


Chase Grant named Offensive Player of the Week

Fargo Force captain Chase Grant has been named the Reebok Offensive Player of the week.  Grant scored five goals and registered a plus-three rating in helping the Force earn five of a possible six points in the standings during the week.  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma native netted two goals and fired a game high seven shots in the 5-4 shootout loss to Des Moines on Wednesday.  He scored the winning goal in Friday's 3-2 overtime win over Sioux Falls.  The 20-year-old then tallied two more goals in the 4-1 win against Sioux City on Saturday.  He is currently riding a four-game point streak (5g, 2a) and has scored 18 points (11g, 7a) in 25 games this season.  It is his second USHL campaign after collecting 28 points (10g, 18a) in 57 games for the Force last season (  Grant is committed to play for the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks next season.


Christmas break has begun across the USHL and games won't start up until December 29 and your Fargo Force won't play until December 31.  It's time to reflect on what has happened in the first half of the season...

Force fans expected a lot going into the year returning fourteen players that led them to the Clark Cup Finals in the inaugural 2008-09 season.  The preseason roster had 16 players committed to Division 1 programs and it was looking as if the Fargo Force would be headed to the Clark Cup Finals once again.  We had two solid goaltenders locked up (we thought) in Cody Campbell and Zane Gothberg before the season started.  Gothberg decided to stick around his high school team for one more year in TRF and the search for a solid backup had begun.

The month of October was terrible for Fargo and Force fans that had set expectations high going into the year.  They finished the month of October with a 5-6 record and a big question mark in between the pipes.  Cody Campbell struggled and the backup goaltending was questionable which forced the coaching staff to look that much harder for any form of solid goaltending.  From preseason to present, we have seen Martin Janzons, Keegan Asmundson, Ryan Holfeld, Cody Campbell, Dayn Belfour and Ryan Massa in between the pipes in a Fargo Force uniform.

From November until now, the Force have been one of the best teams in the league and the team that everyone had thought they should be going into the season.  Fargo is 11-3-1 since November 1.  They have seemed to found their niche in net with Ryan Massa putting up solid numbers in 9 games played with the Force.  Massa is 6-1 with a 2.59 GAA and .913 SV%.

Fargo has the fourth best power play and third best penalty kill in the USHL.  They have scored the third most goals in the league and if Massa is able to keep it up, the Force may see themselves among the league leaders in goals against by the end of the year.

There are a lot of good signs going into the 2nd half of the year.  We have seen many players like Nate Condon, Nate Schmidt, Corey Leivermann and Johnnie Searfoss step up their game.  Matt Leitner and Eamonn McDermott have done what we expected them to do all along.  Leitner is the team leader with 25 points and McDermott has been solid all year on the blue line.

The young guns like Brian Cooper, Garrett Allen, Alex Lippincott, and the new addition in Marek Hrbas have been all you can ask for in young USHL players.  Allen is among the team leaders in scoring.  Hrbas and Lippincott are plus players and Brian Cooper has played well as the youngest player on the Fargo Force roster.

There are many improvements that can be made going into 2010, but there are a lot of things to be happy about if you are a Fargo Force fan...

Celebration of Hockey

Scheels, the Urban Plains Center and the Fargo Force have announced the First Annual Pond Hockey Festival to be held on the pond directly to the east of the ice arena this coming New Year's Eve. The pond hockey festival is a celebration of the great game of hockey and allows for hockey fans of both genders and all ages to interact and mingle the way the game originated, on the pond.

The Pond Hockey Festival will cost $100 for each team which will include playing in the tournament and 6 Fargo Force tickets to the game later that night.  Registration is available here.

New Year's Day, January 1, 2010 will be the 3rd NHL Winter Classic.  Hopefully everyone will be able to watch the game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park in Boston, MA.

Fargo Force can move into tie for 2nd tonight

The Fargo Force will head to Sioux City today after defeating Sioux Falls in a come from behind overtime win over the 2nd place team in the West Division.  The Force are now only two points out of 2nd in the West Division with last night's win.  Sioux Falls picked up a point last night with the overtime loss.  Fargo can move into a 2nd place tie with the herd with a Sioux Falls regulation loss and a Fargo Force win.

In the last three games, Fargo has been led by captain Chase Grant.  The Force captain has 5 points in 3 games including the game winning goal in last night's game.  He has 3 goals and 2 assists in the three game hot streak.

Johnnie Searfoss did last night what he has been doing all year long.  The Colleyville, TX native has not disappointed Force fans when he has needed to come through in the clutch this year.  Searfoss scored the goal that tied the game with 7:44 remaining against the herd last night.  "Mr. Clutch" has 5 game winning goals this year in 15 Force wins.

Sioux Falls at Fargo - 7:35pm

Des Moines at Fargo - 7:05pm

Go to the Force game tomorrow night!

The Fargo Force are teaming up with Great Plains Food Bank to provide you with a great deal for a great cause.  The only thing you have to do is take one of your canned food items that have been sitting in the cupboard for 6 months to get into the game against the Des Moines Buccaneers for $5.  The canned food items will go to the needy and you will get a great deal on Force tickets.  Sounds like a good deal to me!

Unfortunately, I personally won't be able to be there (men's league hockey game), but I have a substitute live blogger to take my place in case you are also missing the action live.  The substitute live blogger is the same person that did it last week so he will do a nice job.  Hopefully, everyone will be AT the game though!

After the Wednesday night tilt, the Force are back in action for some revenge on Friday night against the Sioux Falls Stampede at 7:35pm.  If the Force win on Wednesday and the Herd loses to Waterloo on the same night, the Force could take possession of 2nd place in the West Division with a win over Sioux Falls on Friday.

Go Force!

Ryan Massa Interview

Thank you to our new Fargo Force goaltender, Ryan Massa for doing the interview for the Fargo Force Blog.  Here it is:

FFB: How has the transition from the NAHL and Bismarck to the USHL and Fargo been so far?

Ryan: The transition has been great so far! The players and staff here in Fargo have made me feel welcome and it is a great feeling to be here. I also credit the Bismarck coaching staff in making the transition as smooth as possible.

FFB: Do you have any colleges that you are currently interested in committing to?

Ryan: As of now I just want to focus on playing well and giving my team the best chance to win every night I am in the net. The college aspect will take care of itself.

FFB: What is your favorite TV show? Favorite movie? Favorite music?

Ryan: TV Show: Entourage and the Sopranos. Movie: The Hangover. Music: I enjoy just about everything.

FFB: What other sports do you like to watch/play?

Ryan: I enjoy watching football and college basketball during March Madness

FFB: Did any one player stand out as the "most" welcoming guy when you arrived here?

Ryan: Every player on the Force made me feel at home and welcomed me immediately when I entered the locker room for the first time.

FFB: At what age did you decide to become a goalie? Did you play other positions?

Ryan: At age 6 I played my first ever hockey game as a goalie and loved it! Been playing the position ever since.

FFB: Do you have any brothers or sisters? If so, do they play hockey or excel in other things?

Ryan: I have a younger sister and she is an excellent volleyball player for her high school in Colorado!

FFB: As a goalie, are you superstitious? What are your pre-game rituals? How about your on-ice routines?

Ryan: Not very superstitious in general. I do get dressed from left to right and I play soccer before every game. On the ice I always make a star in my net during the game to allow me to stay focused and on my angles.

The growth of USHL players in the NHL

The USHL has been producing more and more NHL players, the Behind the Net Blog has provided us with some interesting information that shows the growth of hockey in the United States and the USHL.  This is a very interesting article that proves that the quality of the USHL is among the top in the world.

(This is just a portion of what was posted at their blog - only information regarding USHL players going on to play in the NHL.)

From the Behind the Net Blog: Checking Back in with the USHL:

Two years ago, I looked at how the USHL had gone from producing an insignificant number of NHL players to accounting for almost 10% of the pros in less than a decade. Forget the 'Miracle on Ice' - the growth of the USHL is the most significant success story in the history of American hockey.

I thought I'd take another look at how the USHL is doing and whether it has continued to produce NHL players at such a high rate. The pertinent plots are after the jump...

First, has the USHL continued its seemingly inexorably path to filling the entire NHL with its players? Sure looks that way to me:

We don't yet see players jumping directly from the USHL to the NHL like we do with Canadian junior leagues, but by age 21, it's difficult to argue with the results: on a per-team basis, the 12-team USHL produces as many NHL players as the 60-team CHL. Canada has achieved hockey saturation, so the number of players going from AAA Midget or Tier II Junior to the CHL and on to the NHL is unlikely to increase in the near future. The USHL, on the other hand, continues to expand its reach as previously-untapped areas of the country like California grow their youth hockey programs.

Back to the Fargo Force Blog:

The Behind the Net Blog used a 12-team USHL because that has been the consistent number of teams in the USHL.  If the USHL is able to maintain the 14, soon to be 15-team league, the number should be able to increase.  Also, with the addition of the USNTDP, the number of NHL draftees coming from the USHL is bound to increase dramatically, which is good for the league.  It is interesting to see how the blog stated that on a per-team basis, the 14-team USHL (soon to be 15 with the addition of Dubuque) produces as many NHL players as the 60-team CHL.  Maybe there is hope for the USHL in becoming the elite junior hockey league in the world. 

Here's to wishful thinking for the USHL and USA Hockey...

Force win 5-3 in Chicago

The Force made sure that an early Chicago goal wasn't going to haunt them like it did in their last two games after losing to Sioux Falls 5-0 and Green Bay 5-2 after they scored early goals on their way to defeating the Force.  This game had a similar beginning but a different result as the Force were able to overcome an early deficit to defeat the Steel 5-3.

Ryan Massa proved tonight that he is able to rebound from bad games just fine after getting pulled following the 1st period Friday night upon giving up 3 goals on 15 shots.  The Force netminder turned away 37 out of 40 Chicago Steel shots en route to the victory.

Colten St. Clair started the scoring for the Force early in the first period to tie the game at 1-1.  Fargo pulled ahead 2-1 on a goal by Fargo's scoring leader, Matt Leitner.  Leitner was assisted by Force captain Chase Grant on the play.  Chicago was able to tie it 2-2 to end the period knotted up.

Nate Condon made it 3-2 with his 12th goal in 13 games.  The newest addition to the Force blue line, Marek Hrbas assisted along with Corey Leivermann.  Chicago proved to be resilient as they would tie it once again to end the 2nd period 3-3.

Garrett Allen scored 31 seconds into the 3rd period with Condon picking up his 2nd point of the night on an assist.  Former Grafton-Park River Spoiler, Chad Demers would also add an assist on the eventual game winning goal.  Luke Sandler was able to provide the Force with some insurance on his 1st career USHL goal with an assist going to Joe Rehkamp.

Fargo is back in action Wednesday, December 16 against Des Moines at the Urban Plains Center.

Fargo Force take on Chicago Steel tonight

The Fargo Force will look to rebound tonight at 7:30pm in Chicago as they take on the Chicago Steel.  Fargo lost last night 5-2 to the top team in the East, the Green Bay Gamblers.  Fargo will look to get it going a little quicker tonight as they found themselves in a early hole last night that they were never able to get out of. 

Last night, Dayn Belfour saw his first action as a Force goaltender after Ryan Massa struggled in the 1st.  Belfour stopped 16/18 in two periods in relief of Massa.  Colorado Avalanche prospect Nate Condon continued to put the puck in the net as he netted his 11th goal in 12 games for the Force.  Garrett Allen also scored for the Force with assists going to Colten St. Clair and Nate Schmidt.

Tonight the Force take on a struggling team in Chicago.  The Steel have lost their last four games after losing to Sioux City last night 3-2 in OT.  Fargo will hope to kick its two game losing streak and begin a new winning streak after their 6 game winning streak was halted on Wednesday against the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Be sure to check out all of the action on the B2 Network.

Cody Campbell traded to Cedar Rapids

According to the Pointstreak USHL transactions, Fargo Force goaltender Cody Campbell has been traded to Cedar Rapids.  Kerry Collins is stating on his blog that the Force are getting either a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick for next year out of the deal, depending on Campbell's save percentage.  If Campbell plays the following season with Cedar Rapids, the Force will get another 2nd or 3rd round draft pick for the following season.  Ryan Massa and Dayn Belfour will be the Fargo Force goaltenders as of right now. 

Cody Campbell is a great goalie and a great person.  Hopefully the change of scenery will benefit him and his hockey career.

Force take on top team in East Division

The Fargo Force take on the top team in the East Division and the hottest team in the league in Green Bay tonight.  The Green Bay Gamblers have won their last 5 games and are sitting at the top of the East Division in the USHL.  The Force will look to return to their winning ways after being shut out by the Sioux Falls Stampede on Wednesday 5-0.  Islanders 6th round draft pick and former Edina High School standout, Anders Lee leads the Gamblers with 24 points.  Fargo will need to bring their A game to get back on track against one of the best teams in the USHL.  Check out the game on the B2 Network to watch your Fargo Force in action at 7:05 in Green Bay.

Mike Lee making his mark

Mike Lee is making his mark in the hockey world and starting to get recognized.  The former Fargo Force goaltender and Roseau Ram standout is starting to find his way on a good St. Cloud State hockey team.  Mike Lee has also solidified a spot on the 2010 World Junior Championship team.  Lee is going to be an integral part of a team that is expected to do better than they have since winning the Gold Medal in 2004.  I highly suggest any Mike Lee fan read the article that has featured Lee in the St. Cloud Times.  Here is the link for that article.  Not only do they make references to Mike Lee as a former Fargo Force goaltender, they also mention Dean Blais and how the two will be reunited at the World Junior Championships coming at the end of the month.

Lee has played in 10 games for the Huskies, posting a 4-4-2 record, 2.38 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

Lee was the 3rd round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Sioux Falls at Fargo - 7:05pm

Next Interviews

Colten St. Clair and new Force goalie, Ryan Massa have agreed to do the next interviews for you, the fans.  Please post the questions you have for Colten and Ryan! 

Colten St. Clair is a UND recruit from Gilbert, Arizona and Ryan Massa is a Littleton, Colorado native who has not committed to a college yet.  Please post your question and specify which player your question is for in a comment below.

Colten St. Clair Questions:

1. Was the decision to come to Fargo an easy one for you and if not, what made it difficult?
2. You've been in Fargo for a while now, how do you like playing here?
3. Growing up in Arizona, who or what was the biggest impact on your hockey playing career?
4. Do you plan on playing in Fargo for another year or are you heading north to play for the Sioux next year?
5. What made you decommit from Colorado College and commit to UND?
5. How was the experience of playing in international tournaments such as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the Junior Select Tournament?
6. What is your favorite TV show? Favorite movie? Favorite music?
7. Who do you think is the funniest guy on the team? Any specific reason for that?
8. What other sports do you like to watch/play?
9. Who is your best friend on the team?
10. Who do you think is the hardest worker on the team?
11. What is it like to play for the Force?
12. Andy Taranto had a lot of success last year and is continuing that for Alaska-Fairbanks, what was it like to play with him?
13. What is your favorite and least favorite subject in school?
14. Do you or any of the other guys get homesick? If so, what do you do to overcome that?
15. Do you have any brothers or sisters and do they play hockey or excel in other things?

Ryan Massa Questions:

1. How has the transistion from the NAHL and Bismarck to the USHL and Fargo been so far?
2. Do you have any colleges that you are currently interested in committing to?
3. What is your favorite TV show? Favorite movie? Favorite music?
4. What other sports do you like to watch/play?
5. Did any one player stand out as the "most" welcoming guy when you arrived here?
6. At what age did you decide to become a goalie? Did you play other positions?
7. Do you have any brothers or sisters? If so, do they play hockey or excel in other things?
8. As a goalie, are you superstitious?  What are your pre-game rituals?  How about your on-ice routines?

New Domain Name

The Fargo Force Blog has a new domain name!  Hopefully this will bring in more visitors and more activity to the blog and hopefully generate more interest for the Fargo Force.  The new domain name is - it will still be available at

Thanks to all of the readers who have followed so far, it has been a lot of fun and, with the new domain name, should continue to go strong in the future!  The Fargo Force are back in action Wednesday, December 9 and there will be a live blog available here.

Sioux City at Fargo - Game 2 - 7:05pm

Sioux City at Fargo - 7:35pm

Team USA Preliminary Roster Announced

Former Fargo Force goaltender Mike Lee has made the preliminary USA roster for the 2010 IIHF U-20 World Junior Championships.

Jack Campbell, Port Huron, Mich. U.S. National Under-18 Team
Mike Lee Roseau, Minn. St. Cloud State University (WCHA)

John Carlson, Colonia, N.J. Hershey Bears (AHL)
Matt Donovan, Edmond, Okla. University of Denver (WCHA)
Justin Faulk, South St. Paul, Minn. U.S. National Under-18 Team
Cam Fowler, Farmington Hills, Mich. Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Jake Gardiner, Minnetonka, Minn. Univ of Wisconsin (WCHA)
Brian Lashoff, Albany, N.Y. Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Jon Merrill, Brighton, Mich. U.S. National Under-18 Team
John Moore, Winnetka, Ill. Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Max Nicastro, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Boston University (HEA)
John Ramage, St. Louis, Mo. University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
David Warsofsky, Marshfield, Mass. Boston University (HEA)

Ryan Bourque Boxford, Mass. Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Chris Brown, Houston, Texas University of Michigan (CCHA)
Jerry D’Amigo, Binghamton, N.Y. RPI ECACH)
A.J. Jenks, Wolverine Lake, Mich. Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Tyler Johnson, Spokane, Wash. Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Chris Kreider, BoxfordMass. Boston College (HEA)
Danny Kristo, Eden Prairie, Minn. UND (WCHA)
Philip McRae, Chesterfield, Mo. London Knights (OHL)
Jeremy Morin, Auburn, N.Y. Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Kyle Palmieri, Montvale, N.J. University of Notre Dame (CCHA)
Vinny Saponari, Powder Springs, Ga. Boston University (HEA)
Jordan Schroeder, Prior Lake, Minn. Univer of Minnesota (WCHA)
Derek Stepan, Hastings, Minn. University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
Luke Walker, Portland, Ore. Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
David Wohlberg, South Lyon, Mich. University of Michigan (CCHA)
Jason Zucker, Las Vegas, Nev. U.S. National Under-18 Team (USNTDP)

Colorado Avalanche Farm Report -

Nate Condon is featured in the Colorado Avalanche Farm Report on  Also, if you are a University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux fan, there is also a report on Brad Malone in the report as he is also a Colorado Avalanche prospect.  Check out the article here.

Nate Condon scored the game-winner 51 seconds into overtime during the Fargo Force’s 5-4 victory over Tri-City on Friday. The forward scored again and added an assist during Saturday’s rematch, a 5-0 shutout victory for Fargo. Condon now has a nine-game point streak - during which he has totaled 14 points (8g/6a) - and has scored a goal in each of the past three games.

Taranto tearing it up

Former Fargo Force standout, Andy Taranto, has been named the CCHA Rookie of the Month for November.  He is leading the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks with 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists).

He scored five goals and seven assists for a total of 12 points during November and registered at least one point in seven of the eight games played with five straight multi-point games. Five of his seven goals have come on the power play, which ties him for second in the CCHA and fifth in the nation.

He was also named CCHA Rookie of the Week for November 30 after recording three goals and an assist in a pair of shootout wins over Northern Michigan. He also tallied the decisive shootout goal Friday, Nov. 27 to earn the Nanooks the extra point in the conference standings (

Andy now wears #29 instead of the #20 that Force fans were accustomed to.

What's everyone so afraid of?

There are so many more reasons people attend sporting events than for just the game itself.  People want to be entertained with things other than what is going on the ice, so what is everyone so afraid of?  The Fargo Force are in their second year and Fargo Force staff and some fans have taken criticism of game atmosphere with a grain of salt. 

This year we have seen the addition of the Party Pit to add to the atmosphere in the south end of the rink which has helped.  They have also added an organ (the Zamborgan).  Force fans have taken it upon themselves to create more interest in the Force.  We have seen Force fans bring in signs, cowbells, and even a very LOUD Fargo Force drum.  Force fans have even created their own "Chaos Corner" that usually produces a decent amount of vocals game in and game out.

The question is, why isn't everyone else participating?  What does it take to get the average attendance of around 3,000 to participate in the "Let's go Force" chant or the "Sieve" chant that is attempted on the south end of the rink.  Do we have to educate our fans on how to be fans?  Do we need to give pamphlets out to get people participating?  How can we get casual fans to leave the games with a feeling of excitement and desire of wanting to come to another game to take part in that atmosphere once again?

Strides have been made since opening night last year with all of the additions that are mentioned above, but it would be the best place to hold a game if we were able to get that ultimate atmosphere that sports fans desire when they purchase the ticket.  Players will also feel the effects of added atmosphere.  Ask any player that has played in the USHL and I am sure they would tell you that the places that they had the most fun playing in, was the facilities that had the best atmosphere.  Let's make the Urban Plains Center the best place to watch/play a game in.

Big Rig

Check out the video on one of the Fargo Force's newest additions - John "Big Rig" Stampohar

Sounds like a kid that knows his role on a team, whether it be scoring goals or playing physical, he knows what he has to do to get his team going.

If I find anything on any of the other new additions or if anyone else finds anything interesting, feel free to post a comment.

Tri-City at Fargo - Game 2 - 7:05pm

Tri-City at Fargo 7:05pm from the Urban Plains Center.  New players added to the Force roster, you might want to tune in!

Tri-City at Fargo 7:35pm

2009 Scheel's Pond Hockey Festival

It's official! The 2009 Scheel's Pond Hockey Festival will be held Dec. 31 10:00am - 4:05pm. The pond hockey tournament will take place on the east side of the Urban Plains Center. Registration for the pond hockey tournament opens next week with 64 teams available.

Fargo Force sweep Team USA

The Fargo Force swept Team USA over the weekend in a pair of 6-3 wins in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

On Saturday, the Force were led by Garrett Allen, who netted his first USHL hat trick, Matt Leitner, 1 goal, 2 assists and Nate Schmidt, 1 goal, 2 assists.  Cole Gunner also scored for the Force.  Nate Condon, Chad Demers, Grant Scott and Chase Grant eached picked up an assist.

On Sunday, Nate Condon, Johnnie Searfoss and Alex Lippincott each scored a goal and picked up an assist.  Gavin Hartzog picked up two assists.  Colten St. Clair, Oleg Yevenko and Joe Rehkamp each netted goals for Fargo.  Others picking up assists included: Corey Leivermann, Cole Gunner, Grant Scott and Blake Doerring. 

Ryan Holfeld picked up two wins in the sweep over Team USA, stopping 47 of 53 shots in the two games.

Force are back in action this weekend, Friday and Saturday, against the Tri-City Storm.  Enjoy some hockey games the day after Thanksgiving and then Saturday night is the 2nd annual Teddy Bear Toss night. 

Force lose heartbreaker in Des Moines

Fargo Force fans can have a new favorite player to hate.  Connor Brickley scored three goals and added two assists for a 5 point night downing the Force 6-4.

Fargo started slow and Des Moines led on a first period goal by Connor Brickley.  HT Lenz extended that lead and put Fargo down 2-0 early in the second period.  Fargo proved in the game before against Indiana that they are able to come back on a team and they did it again tonight in Des Moines.  Fargo got goals from Nate Condon (shorthanded) and Corey Leivermann to even the game up in the second period 2-2.  Yasin Cisse would regain the lead for the Bucs before heading to the locker room for the second intermission.

The third period is where things got a little more interesting.  Des Moines extended their lead early in the period to 4-2 and it looked like that would be enough for Des Moines to take the game with Eric Mihalik standing on his head in the Bucs' net.  Fargo proved to be resilient though, once again.  Fargo got goals by Garrett Allen and Matt Leitner, both assisted by Eamonn McDermott to tie the game up late in the third period, 4-4.  Connor Brickley stunned the Force and pumped the 1,954 Bucs fans up by scoring with only 15 seconds remaining in the period.  Brickley would seal the deal with the hat trick (empty net) goal 4 seconds later to end the game 6-4.

Cody Campbell stopped 23 of 28 for the Force.  Mihalik stopped 31 of 35 for the Bucs.

If there are any positives to take from the past few games, it would have to be the character the Force have shown by being resilient and not giving up when they are down.  They have come back from deficits late in games a few times this year, including the last two games.  Unfortunately Fargo was unable to come out with a victory on this night, but at least we have a "never give up" attitude that could go a long way as the season progresses.

USHL adds fourth team in three years

Dubuque, Iowa will be getting their USHL franchise back, making it the fifth team in Iowa and the fourth expansion team in three years.  The Dubuque Fighthing Saints started their franchise in the USHL in 1980-81 and left 21 years later.  Dubuque has officially been added as the newest addition to the USHL today.

The team will play at the Mystique Ice Center, a 3,200-seat arena scheduled to open next summer on Chaplain Schmitt Island. 

Good to see the league continuing its success, and bringing a team back to where it has had some tradition is a great idea for the league and the city.  It will be interesting to see if the USHL adds another team to even the pool at 16 or leave it at 15.

Check out a few articles here and here.

Nate Schmidt Interview

Fargo Force defenseman, Nate Schmidt, answered all of the questions Force fans were able to come up with.  Thank you to all who responded with comments and questions for Nate, and a big thank you to Nate  for doing this for us!

FFB: Was the decision to come to Fargo an easy one for you and if not, what made it difficult?

Nate: Yes, it was a difficult decision leaving my family and friends and everything and everyone I had grown up with. I played four years of high school hockey so I felt that that part of me needed to move on to Fargo in order to develop into a better player. I miss things from back home but the guys, my billet family, and the coaches have made my transition to Fargo easier.

FFB: Why did you choose Minnesota? Were there any other colleges on your list, or was Minnesota your only choice?

Nate: I chose Minnesota because of the tradition and the opportunity of winning a national championship. I felt like it was a great fit for me as a person and that I would fit in well at the campus and with the team. My other choices were Colorado College, St. Cloud State, and North Dakota.

FFB: There was a rumor out there that you may go to Colorado College. Is there any truth to that?

Nate: There are always rumors out there about situations like that, but no there were never any intentions on moving away from my decision to play for the Gophers.

FFB: Were you always a defenseman or were there other positions that you played in the past?

Nate: I was all over the place growing up. In squirts, I played center and a little bit of wing. In peewees, I was a defenseman my first year. I was then back to forward for the first half of my second year, and then back to defense. After that, I made our varsity team at my high school as a forward playing left wing. It wasn’t until about halfway through my freshman year that I got moved back to defense, where I have been ever since.

FFB: We all know you have a hard slap shot, is that something you had to work at, or did it come naturally?

Nate: It was kind of both, I guess. I have shot a lot of pucks during the summer and when I was in peewees I think 95% of the shots I took were slap shots, so it just started to come natural to me after a while.

FFB: College players are undergoing pressure to leave early. What are your plans for attending the University of Minnesota? Do you see yourself playing 2 or more years?

Nate: That is a difficult decision for many college players now with the pros looming over their shoulders to make the jump, but I don’t see any plans to move on as of now. That is not really a concern of mine right now, on how fast I can get to the pros, pending I even get that far. So, like I said, no plans on leaving.

FFB: Who outside of your family has made the biggest impact on your hockey career?

Nate: I would have to say my high school coach Eric Johnson. He was my coach in peewees for a year before taking the high school job, and he coached me all four years I was at St. Cloud Cathedral. Coach Johnson would help train me in the summers if I would ever have to be in shape for a summer select festival or some tournament that I would be playing in. Also, he helped me with talking to colleges for making my decision on where I wanted to play, and which school was the best fit for me. In addition, he was great with preparing me for Fargo this year; he had all the best wishes for me to continue on with my career despite having a year left of eligibility in high school. Coach Johnson helped me with becoming the hockey player I am now, as well as helping me develop the personal character that I needed on and off the ice in order for me to succeed at the next level.

FFB: What is your favorite TV show? Favorite movie? Favorite music?
Nate: I would have to say the Sons of Anarchy or Family Guy. Favorite movie would have to be The Boondock Saints. Favorite music would have to be pretty much anything, just whatever will get me fired up when I get ready to play.

FFB: Who do you think is the funniest guy on the team? Any specific reason for that?

Nate: I would have to say Nick Oliver. Ollie has been one of my best buddies in hockey for the past 5 years or so. I met him a long time ago playing in selects and against each other in the summer. He brings a vibe into the locker room that cannot be matched or brought down in any way. He is always in a good mood, quick for a joke, or helpful in any way he can. It's just the way he is, he is a goofball of a guy but can be as serious as they come when need be, but the loosest guy when the times are not serious.

FFB: What does a typical weekly practice schedule look like?

Nate: Our typical week consists of Monday being a “get back into it” day where we are going hard, just getting back after a day off on Sunday, usually, and that is followed by a workout. Tuesday is our toughest day - hard drills, lots of battling, odd man rushes, and conditioning highlight Tuesday, while practice is also followed by a workout. Wednesday is a flow day, lots of open ice movement, quick decisions and such. Thursday is mostly speed and getting guys ready to play whomever we are playing if we are at home or a travel day if we are away.

FFB: What are you going to major in at Minnesota?

Nate: Business

FFB: What other sports do you like to watch/play?

Nate: I love to play baseball, and I enjoy watching NHL games and the Vikings play football.

FFB: Who was the best player you played with at St. Cloud Cathedral? Who was the best player you played against while there?
Nate: I would have to say the best player I played with would be Matt Crandell, he is currently a defenseman at Michigan State University right now.  The best player I played against would probably have to be either Jack Connolly (Duluth Marshall, UMD) or Ben Hanowski (Little Falls, SCSU).

Fargo Force players and affiliates recognized by NHL Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting has released a preliminary "Players to Watch" list and also ranked the top prospects in the USHL.  The "Players to Watch" list are mainly prospects that are younger and scouts will be watching them for the next years to come up until their NHL draft eligible year.  The preliminary rankings list, ranks the top USHL players that scouts are watching for the draft upcoming in the NHL.

Four of the top five players on the USHL list are in the USNTDP program.  At the top of the list is Derek Forbort, a big defenseman for Team USA.  Fargo was only able to claim one player on the Top 25 Skaters list.  Eamonn McDermott impressed the scouts enough to be number 19 on the list.

For the "Players to Watch" list, there are a few names that should be familiar to Force fans. 

Joey Benik, St. Francis star that scored over 70 goals as a junior last year, is a "C" rated prospect.  This means that he is on scouts' radar, and could be a late round NHL selection.

Willie Corrin is also an affiliate player for the Fargo Force playing in Minnesota HS for International Falls (Home of Dean Blais).  Corrin is a defenseman and, like Benik, also a "C" rated prospect.

Zane Gothberg, Fargo Force's first round selection in the USHL draft this year, is a "A" rated prospect as goaltender of the Thief River Falls' hockey team this year.  The Force are expecting to have him in their lineup next year, before Zane heads to the University of North Dakota.

Fargo Force complete comeback 6-5

Fargo wasn't able to complete the comeback on Friday night as they lost 6-3.  They completed the comeback on Saturday night as they scored three straight goals in the third period, and got the game winner from Brian Cooper with 1:46 remaining.

Indiana led the game early and was leading 3-1 after the first period.  The Force got their first period goal from Nate Condon on the power play with the feed coming from Brian Cooper. 

The Force thought they would start the comeback earlier this time and came back with two goals in the second period to tie it up going into the third.  Nate Condon scored early in the second period, Johnnie Searfoss picked up the assist.  Matt Leitner tied the game halfway through the second period on the power play.  He was assisted by Chase Grant and Corey Leivermann.

Indiana picked it up in the third period and scored two goals in the first four minutes of the to make it a 5-3 game. 

It would then turn into the Brian Cooper show.  Cooper started the comeback with a goal 6:25 into the period.  Nate Condon and Grant Scott picked up assists.  Captain Chase Grant scored the game tying goal less than a minute later.  Corey Leivermann and Nate Schmidt both assisted on the game tying goal.  Brian Cooper would finish things off with 1:46 remaining.  The game winner was assisted by Matt Leitner and Chase Grant.

Cody Campbell got the win for Fargo, stopping 17 of 22.  Casey DeSmith was in the net for Indiana, allowing 6 goals on 30 shots.

Fargo is back in action against Des Moines on Thursday, November 19.

Force lose in Clark Cup Final rematch

Corey Leivermann was able to keep his hot streak going with two assists, but Fargo wasn't as they fell to the defending Clark Cup champions 6-3 in Indiana.

Fargo dominated on the shot counter in the first period, but were unable to capitalize.  Indiana managed to take advantage of the few opportunities they had and got a goal in the opening stanza from Kevin Goumas.  Indiana only managed four shots in the first period.  Fargo rifled ten on Indiana goalie, Cab Morris, but Morris was equal to the task in the first.

Indiana broke the game wide open in the second with four goals, forcing Ryan Holfeld out of the net and onto the bench.  Holfeld stopped 8 out of 12 in the first half of the game.  Cody Campbell came in when it was 4-0 and only let in one goal in the game (only goal coming in the 2nd period). 

Fargo made their comeback in the third period on a power play goal from Nate Condon.  Condon was assisted by Oleg Yevenko and Corey Leivermann.  Chase Grant narrowed the score to 5-2 on a goal three and a half minutes later with assists from Condon and Leivermann. 

Fargo would get a power play with about five minutes left in the game.  The opportunity opted Coach Johnson to pull Campbell and it paid off and gave the Force some hope.  Fargo would get that goal from Colten St. Clair on assists from Johnnie Searfoss and Matt Leitner.  With 4:16 remaining and only a two goal deficit, Fargo was within striking distance of pushing it to overtime.  Fargo continued to try to keep the magic going with the empty net and Indiana was able to capitalize, scoring another goal to finish off the game 6-3.  Cody Campbell finished the game with 14 saves on 15 shots in relief of Holfeld.

Fargo will try for a split as they play the Ice again tomorrow in another Clark Cup Final rematch game.

Live Blog/Chat

Anyone interested in having a live blog/chat available for when the Force are at away games?  Let me know in a comment and if there is enough interest, we could make that happen. 

We would be using the same program that we have been for home games (CoveritLive).

Rumor: Fargo Force Pond Hockey Tournament?

Rumor is that the Fargo Force and the Urban Plains Center might be putting on a Fargo Force Pond Hockey Tournament on New Year's Eve, before the Force play later in the evening.  Games would be played on the pond directly east of the Urban Plains Center.  I am sure there will be more news to come soon, if it all works out as planned.

Questions to ask Nate Schmidt

Nate Schmidt has accepted to do the next interview for you, the fans. Please post your question for Nate in a comment below, and I will add them to the list on this site. Nate is a former St. Cloud Cathedral standout and future University of Minnesota Golden Gopher. He also scored the game-winner in last night's win over Chicago.

1. Was the decision to come to Fargo an easy one for you and if not, what made it difficult?
2. Why did you choose Minnesota? Were there any other colleges on your list, or was Minnesota your only choice?
3. There was a rumor out there that you may go to Colorado College.  Is there any truth to that?
4. Were you always a defenseman or were there other positions that you played in the past?
5. We all know you have a hard slap shot, is that something you had to work at, or did it come naturally?
6. College players are undergoing pressure to leave early.  What are your plans for attending the University of Minnesota? Do you see yourself playing 2 or more years?
7. Who outside of your family has made the biggest impact on your hockey career?
8. What is your favorite TV show?  Favorite movie? Favorite music?
9. Who do you think is the funniest guy on the team?  Any specific reason for that?
10. What does a typical weekly practice schedule look like?
11. What are you going to major in at Minnesota?
12. What other sports do you like to watch/play?
13. Who was the best player you played with at St. Cloud Cathedral? Who was the best player you played against while there?

Also, if you missed the first interview with Cody Campbell, click here.

McDermott named player of the game; Team USA wins Gold

Eamonn McDermott scored the first goal of the game and added an assist on Matt Leitner's game winning goal in Summerside, P.E.I. against Canada West.  For his efforts, McDermott was rewarded with being named Player of the Game in the Gold Medal win for Team USA.

Colten St. Clair, Matt Leitner and Eamonn McDermott will all be coming home from Summerside with some hardware around their neck, winning the Gold with Team USA.

Chicago @ Fargo - Game 2 - 7:05 PM

Free ticket to an active (commenting) reader.  Game starts at 7:05.

Chicago @ Fargo: Live from the UP Center

Once again - free ticket to an active reader (comment please!) 

St. Clair picks up two points in semi-final win over Russia

Colten St. Clair registered a goal and an assist in the U.S. win over Russia in today's semi-final game.  Eamonn McDermott also assisted for Team USA in the win.  Team USA will play the winner of Canada East/Canada West on Sunday, November 8.

From USA Hockey:

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Shane Berschbach (Clawson, Mich./Indiana Ice/1-1--2), Jeff Costello (Milwaukee, Wis./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders/1-1--2) Nick Jensen (Rogers, Minn./Green Bay Gamblers/0-2--2) and Colten St. Clair (Gilbert, Ariz./Fargo Force/1-1--2) each tallied two points as the U.S. Junior Select Team downed Russia, 6-3, here today in the semifinals of the World Junior A Challenge at Credit Union Place. With the win, Team USA looks to defend its 2008 World Junior A Challenge title in the championship game Sunday (Nov. 8) at 4 p.m. EST. The U.S. will play the winner of tonight's semifinal matchup between Canada East and Canada West.

"We came out hard in the first period and finished the game strong," said Mark Carlson, head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team. "We're very happy we get to play for another championship Sunday."

After John Parker (Green Brook, N.J./Indiana Ice) knocked the puck loose from a Russian defenseman along the boards, Connor Brickley (Everett, Mass./Des Moines Buccaneers) picked up the puck and cut below the right faceoff circle before firing a shot through Russian goaltender Sergey Kostenko's five hole at 11:25 of the first period. Less then five minutes later, Jensen sent a pass to Mac Bennett (Warrick, R.I./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) at the blue, who fired a shot toward the far post that Berschbach tipped past Kostenko for a power-play marker at 15:37. At 18:54 of the opening frame, while coming down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush, Costello tipped St. Clair's pass over the netminder's left shoulder to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0.

In the second period, Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn./Indiana Ice) gave the U.S. a 4-0 lead with a power-play goal at 2:56. Eamonn McDermott (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Fargo Force) was just inside the blue line at the left point when he sent a cross-ice pass to Berschbach at the faceoff dot. Berschbach then sent a pass across the goalmouth to a waiting Mattson, who sent it to the back of the net.

After being held scoreless for half of regulation, Russia scored three straight power-play goals to close the gap, 4-3. Alexey Marchenko tallied the first at 10:04 before Nail Yakupov scored at 14:00, both in the second period. Ignat Zemchenko potted his power-play marker at 1:27 of the final stanza.

Team USA responded with two goals in the third frame, including a tally from Beau Bennett (Gardena, Calif.) at 15:29. While on a 5-on-3 power play, Jensen fed Bennett at the right faceoff dot, where he snapped a shot over Kostenko's shoulder. With 11 seconds remaining in the game, St. Clair took passes from Derek DeBlois (East Greenwich, R.I./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) and Costello at the slot and beat Kostenko over his blocker.

U.S. netminder Eric Mihalik (Avon Lake, Ohio/Des Moines Buccaneers) turned aside 13 shots in the win.

Series Preview: Chicago Steel @ Fargo Force

One of the hottest teams in the USHL will be facing off against the Fargo Force this weekend, November 6-7.  Fargo will once again be without three of their top players, St. Clair, McDermott and Leitner, as they are playing in the World Junior A Challenge in Summerside, P.E.I.  Chicago will also be missing their top defenseman, Kevin Lind, for the same reason. 

Chicago hasn't had to rely on Kevin Lind as much as Fargo has had to rely on the top trio missing for this weekend's action.  Chicago has the most powerful offense in the USHL as they lead the league in goals this year (45).  Three of the five USHL leaders in scoring are from Chicago.  Sahir Gill leads the team with 17 points (4g, 13a), Mark Anthoine leads the team in goals with 10 and has added 5 assists for a total of 15 points.  Andrei Kuchin has also been quite the dishmaster for the Steel, posting 13 assists this year.  Kuchin has also added a couple of goals for a total of 15 points.

Chicago will also be bringing along an NHL legend's son, Jake Chelios, son of Chris Chelios.  He is sixth in team scoring with 2 goals and 8 assists.

If there is a chink in the Steel's armor, it has been in between the pipes for Chicago.  Nick Pisellini has been the go to goalie for the Steel so far, posting up 6 wins but a weak 3.13 GAA and .887 Save %.  Connor Wilson hasn't had much luck so far backing up Pisellini.  Wilson has one win in two games but a 5.05 GAA and a .851 Save %.

Fargo will be leaning on secondary scoring once again with the absences of three top players.  They may be able to put some pucks in the net against Chicago, but with Chicago's offense Fargo will need to play well defensively and in between the pipes.  Cody Campbell and Ryan Holfeld will be key if the Force plan on winning this weekend.

U.S. Junior Select Team Downs Sweden 3-1

Fargo Force's Matt Leitner, Colten St. Clair and Eamonn McDermott each assisted in the 3-1 win over Sweden today.

From USA Hockey:

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Shane Berschbach (Clawson, Mich./Indiana Ice) tallied his tournament-leading fourth goal and Eric Mihalik (Avon Lake, Ohio/Des Moines Buccaneers) turned aside 34 shots as the U.S. Junior Select Team downed Sweden, 3-1, here today in the quarterfinal round of the World Junior A Challenge at Credit Union Place. With the win, Team USA advances to the semifinals against Russia Friday (Nov. 6) at 1 p.m. EST.

"We've been improving all aspects of our game and it showed here today," said Mark Carlson, head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team. "We're getting better each time on the ice and it's an exciting time for our team right now as we head toward the semifinals."

After a scoreless first period where Mihalik and Sweden's Jonas Gunnarsson stopped six and 17 shots, respectively, Nick Jensen (Rogers, Minn./Green Bay Gamblers) gave Team USA a 1-0 lead at 4:06 of the middle frame. Colten St. Clair's (Gilbert, Ariz./Fargo Force) faceoff win to the right of Gunnarsson found Mac Bennett (Warrick, R.I./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) at the blue line, who slid a pass to Jensen. The defenseman skated in from the point and fired a shot that beat Gunnarsson low to the far side.

The U.S. scored two more goals in the middle frame, with David Gerths (Ankeny, Iowa/Lincoln Stars) giving the U.S. a 2-0 advantage at 8:20. After Berschbach took the puck away from a Swedish defenseman in the corner, he sent a pass to Kevin Gravel (Kingsford, Mich./Sioux City Musketeers) at the right point, who found his defensive partner Kevin Albers (Lake Orion, Mich./Green Bay Gamblers). Albers fired a shot that was directed by Gerths into the back of the net.

While on the power play, Eamonn McDermott (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Fargo Force) sent a pass along the boards to a waiting Matt Leitner (Los Alamitos, Calif./Fargo Force) at the hash marks, who sent a pass to Berschbach near the goal line. Berschbach made a fake that froze Gunnarsson before banking the puck off his arm to extend the U.S. lead to 3-0 at 15:35.

Sweden ended Team USA's shutout bid with a goal from Adam Almquist at 4:29 of the third period to account for the U.S. 3-1 final.

Force players tally a total of five points in Team USA win

Fargo Force players Matt Leitner, Eamonn McDermott and Colten St. Clair tallied a total of five points for Team USA in a 6-1 win over Belarus.  Leitner tallied three assists, Eamonn McDermott posted his first point with an assist and Colten St. Clair added a late goal for Team USA in the win.

From USA Hockey:

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Led by Shane Berschbach's (Clawson, Mich./Indiana Ice) two goals and one assist, the U.S. Junior Select Team rolled past Belarus, 6-1, here tonight in its final preliminary-round game of the World Junior A Challenge at Credit Union Place in Summerside, P.E.I. With the victory, Team USA (1-0-1-0) secured second place in its group and will face Sweden Thursday (Nov. 5) in the quarterfinal round at 1 p.m. EST.

"I thought we played well tonight and had a lot of improvements in our game," said Mark Carlson, head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team. "Even though the team hasn't been together for very long, everyone followed the plan and our power play and penalty kill worked well for us."

The U.S. garnered four power-play markers in the game, including two from Berschbach in the opening frame. While on a 5-on-3 advantage, Matt Leitner (Los Alamitos, Calif./Fargo Force), who was positioned in the high slot, sent a David Gerths' (Ankeny, Iowa/Lincoln Stars) pass to the left side of the net, where Berschbach fired the puck past Belarussian goaltender Stanislau Artynski to give Team USA a 1-0 lead at 14:42. Berschbach would net his second tally of the game 2:10 later when he directed another Leitner pass behind Artynski. Eamonn McDermott (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Fargo Force) collected his first assist of the tournament on the power-play goal.

In the second period, Team USA capitalized on another power play, with Berschbach and Leitner setting up Gerths at 7:27. Gerths took a Berschbach pass at the high slot and fired a onetimer over the netminder's blocker to give the U.S. a 3-0 lead. Derek DeBlois (East Greenwich, R.I./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) extended Team USA's lead to 4-0 after Kevin Albers (Lake Orion, Mich./Green Bay Gamblers) sent a pass to Nic Dowd (Huntsville, Ala./Indiana Ice), who passed to DeBlois at the bottom of the left circle, where he buried the puck past the goaltender.

After holding Belarus scoreless for almost two periods, Kiryl Brykun made it a 4-1 game with :32 remaining in the middle frame.

The U.S. regained its four-goal lead with a marker from Beau Bennett (Gardena, Calif.) at 6:03 of the final stanza. Nick Mattson's (Chanhassen, Minn./Indiana Ice) shot from the blue line was tipped by Mike Parks (O'Fallon, Mo./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) and knocked out of the air by Bennett past Artynski. Colten St. Clair (Gilbert, Ariz./Fargo Force) closed out the scoring with :23 remaining in the game when his shot off the rush from the right wing found the back of the net. Chris Crane (West Chester, Ohio/Green Bay Gamblers) collected an assist on the power-play tally.

U.S. netminder Eric Mihalik (Avon Lake, Ohio/Des Moines Buccaneers) turned aside 25 shots in the victory.

Cody Campbell Interview

Special thanks to Cody Campbell for doing this interview for us.  He was very happy to do it, and very willing to answer all of our questions.  Thank you to all who posted questions to ask Cody in the interview.

FFB: What do each of the symbols on the back of your helmet mean to you?

Cody: I try to keep most of my helmets team related but on almost all of my masks I have used the back plate as a personal thing. I have a Colorado flag, which obviously represents where I'm from and inside of the flag I have the name Brody. Brody was an infant brother of a very close friend and teammate that unfortunately died of SIDS only two months after he was born just over a year and a half ago. So I like to honor Brody and his family with his name on my helmet. Under the Colorado Flag, I have two crossing Pick Axes with a rose going through them. The Pick Axes was the logo of the Pikes Peak Miners which was my midget hockey team and without that organization I definitely would not be where I am today. The rose is for my little sister Cierra. Rose is her middle name and she is without a doubt my biggest fan. She never missed a home game when I was still playing at home and she sacrificed a lot just to watch me play. Even when I have a bad game, or whatever, she always thinks I play amazing. So even on the road when we have no fans and the environment is tough to play in, I always know I've got my biggest fan there with me.

FFB: Do you feel more comfortable in the USHL this year vs. last year, with a year under your belt?

Cody: I feel 10 times more comfortable this year. Last year was a big transition not only on the ice but also moving away from your family at 16 and being on your own at such a young age is quite an adjustment.

FFB: What is your pregame preparation like? Do you have any pregame rituals? Any superstitions?
Cody: My game prep is very intense. Goaltender is a very mental position so you have to do everything you can to be as focused as possible. With that I do have an infinite number of rituals and superstitions. I could write a 500 page book on all of those, so just a few of the things I do off the ice on game days are: at home, subway is always my pregame meal.  I always warm up in my track suit and I never leave my house to go to a game or on a road trip without my closet door and door to my room being shut. That's the mild stuff, too. People aren't lying when they say goalies are a bit different.
FFB: What is your goal in life (Hockey or non-hockey related)?

Cody: I really couldn't see life without hockey. I would love to be able to play at a high level for as long as possible but once I am done playing I would really like to be able to coach at a high level as well.

FFB: Who outside of your own family has influenced you the most on the ice and off the ice as well?

Cody: My Midget AAA coach, Luc Trombetta, has no doubt been that person. He taught me numerous things on the ice but even more about things away from the rink. We have a very close relationship and still talk at least twice a week.

FFB: What do you like to do in the summer time and down time during the season?

Cody: During the off-season I love playing golf with my dad, grandpa or some buddies.  I normally play 3 times a week during the summer. During the season when we have down time at night I normally just relax, watch some hockey, do some homework, and occasionally hang out with a girl.

FFB: How would you describe your style of goaltending?

Cody: I like to think I kind of have my own style. I play butterfly a lot but I also make kick saves and skate saves which is uncharacteristic of a butterfly goalie. I guess I just like to be athletic and make saves. I don't think I really fall into any one category.

FFB: Who is your favorite goalie (past and/or present)?

Cody: My favorite goalie is Martin Brodeur because he competes so hard and, kind of like me, doesn't really fall into one category of style. Plus, he wins a lot.

FFB: Who did you idolize growing up? (Who did you want to "be"?)

Cody: Being from Colorado, I idolized Patrick Roy. Much like Brodeur, he competed so hard and he won a lot too.