Youngstown at Fargo (Game 2)

Youngstown at Fargo - Game 2 - LIVE BLOG - 7:00 pm
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Leitner assists in pre-tournament win

Matt Leitner was the only Fargo Force player to register a point in the first exhibition game for Team USA at the World Junior A Select Tournament in Summerside, P.E.I.  Here is the article from

MONTAGUE, P.E.I. - Shane Berschbach (Clawson, Mich./Indiana Ice) tallied two goals and an assist as the U.S. Junior Select Team downed Canada West, 5-2, in an exhibition game here tonight at Montague and Area Wellness Centre in Montague, P.E.I. The game marked Team USA's only exhibition contest as it prepares for the World Junior A Challenge Nov. 1-8 in Summerside, P.E.I.

"It was great for the team to get a game under its belt before we open the tournament," said Mark Carlson, head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team. "We did some real nice things tonight and learned what we have to work on as we move forward."

The U.S. and Canada West traded goals in the first period, with Berschbach opening the scoring at 2:43. Matt Leitner (Los Alamitos, Calif./Fargo Force) sent a pass to David Gerths (Ankeny, Iowa/Lincoln Stars), who dumped the puck toward the net. Berschbach banged the puck past Canadian West goaltender Kirby Halcrow to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Canada West's Conner Jones responded with a tally at 5:43 before Jeff Costello's (Milwaukee, Wis./Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) power-play marker at 7:41 from Nic Dowd (Huntsville, Ala./Indiana Ice) and Beau Bennett (Gardena, Calif.) gave the U.S. a 2-1 advantage. Bennett's slap shot from the blue line was tipped by Dowd and then jammed into the net by Costello. Canada West's Kellen Jones tied the game, 2-2, with a power-play marker at 19:58.

In the second period, Dowd gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead when his shot from the slot beat Halcrow over his glove at 4:32. Gerths and Berschbach collected assists on the play.

John Parker (Green Brook, N.J./Indiana Ice) took passes from Chris Crane (West Chester, Ohio/Green Bay Gamblers) and Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md./Waterloo Black Hawks) down the right wing and fired a short-side shot past Halcrow to extend Team USA's lead, 4-2, at 9:18 of the final frame. Berschbach added his second tally of the game with an empty-net goal with 37 seconds remaining in the period to account for the 5-2 final.

U.S. netminder Will Yanakeff (Jerome, Mich./Sioux City Musketeers) turned aside 28 shots in the game.

Team USA faces Canada East in its first game of the World Junior A Challenge Sunday (Nov. 1) at 6 p.m. EST.

Time to find secondary scoring

Fargo is going to have to find some secondary scoring if they want to win games with some key players missing.  Leitner, St. Clair and McDermott were gone for the Junior A Select Tournament, Chase Grant was gone for his grandfather's funeral, and the Force lost to the Youngstown Phantoms 3-1. 

Fargo is going to have to find some secondary scoring if they want to be successful this year, and right now is a good time to start.  They are missing three of their top players for four games and Chase Grant will be back for next weekend's series.  Now is the time for Fargo to start developing some of the younger players and the players that haven't seen as much ice time because of their top players seeing a majority of the action.

Fargo has three more games to make some significant strides in improving their secondary scoring and developing their younger talent.  Hopefully they are able to accomplish that goal and put up more than one goal in the upcoming three games in which Fargo will be dishing out a lot of ice time to the players further down the depth chart.

Youngstown at Fargo Live Blog

Upcoming live blogs October 30-31

We will be continuing to do the live blogs October 30-31. Once again, FREE TICKETS will be given out to some active users on the blog, so make sure you come check that out and join in on the action.

Also, PINK THE RINK is coming up this weekend, on Friday night, sponsored by Jill Henning of State Farm Insurance. The Force will be wearing pink jerseys and this year Pink the Rink will be featuring pink ice! You won't want to miss it, but if you do, we will be here blogging all of the action for you.

Updates on former Force players

Mike Lee is the starting goaltender as a freshman for the St. Cloud State Huskies.  Lee has played in four games and has played very well.  He is 1-1-2 with a 92.6% save percentage and a 2.18 GAA.  Lee is expected to carry much of the load this year for SCSU and is a shoe in for Team USA at the upcoming 2010 IIHF World Junior Championships that former Force coach Dean Blais will be heading.

Luke Witkowski is playing defense for Western Michigan.  Luke has played in four games with the Broncos and has registered 5 shots with a -2 rating.  Western Michigan is currently 4-0 playing in the CCHA.

Keegan Flaherty is playing with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.  Flaherty has played in seven games and has registered one assist as a freshman.  The Bulldogs are 4-2-1 on the young season.

According to this site, Oleg Lee was drafted in the 3rd round, 67th overall in the KHL draft by Atlant Mytischi.  I wasn't able to find anything else for Oleg Lee.

Jake Areshenko is playing for Bemidji State.  He has played in three games for the Beavers, but has yet to register anything statistically.

Former Fargo Force fan favorite, Andy Taranto, is playing for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  He has one goal, two assists for a total of three points in four games for the Nanooks.

Josh Birkholz is playing for the University of Minnesota.  He has played in three games only to register two penalty minutes.  Birkholz is one of four freshmen for the Golden Gophers.

Steve Spinell is playing for the University of Miami (Ohio) Redhawks.  The Redhawks are the top ranked team in college hockey right now and Spinell has seen action in two games registering two penalty minutes for the nation's number one team.

Urban Plains Center parking lot paved

The Urban Plains Center officially has a paved parking lot.  There will be 525 paved parking spots available for this weekend.  This has been the biggest operational hurdle in Fargo's short two year existance.  On-site parking will make for a better Fargo Force fan experience for all. 

Now let's all get going to the games and supporting the Fargo more mud!

Searfoss changes mind, goes back to Blais

Kerry Collins from the Fargo Forum is reporting on his blog, Force the Issue, that Johnnie Searfoss will not be going to Maine as originally planned, but rather with his former USHL coach, Dean Blais, at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  Here is the post from Collins:

It appears Johnnie Searfoss likes playing for Dean Blais at lot more than he likes the prospects of playing for Maine.

According to Chris Heisenberg's recruits list, the Fargo Force forward has switched his commitment from the University of Maine to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

In case you've been living under a rock, Blais coached Searfoss with the Force last year before taking over at UNO this season.

Force get pummeled in Waterloo

Matt Leitner continued his hot streak with his fifth straight multi-point game, but it wasn't enough as the Blackhawks defeated the Force 7-3 in USHL action.  J.T. Brown had two goals and two assists for the Hawks.  Ryan Holfeld started his first USHL game for Fargo and stopped 22 of 28 Waterloo shots (seventh goal was an empty net goal).  Waterloo goalie C.J. Motte stymied the Force offense with 39 saves on 42 Fargo shots.

Force squeak by Buccaneers

The Fargo Force were able to hold off the Bucs in USHL action tonight as they defeated Des Moines 3-2.  The Force were up 3-0 going into the third period, but Des Moines had a rally in the third off two goals by HT Lenz.  Fargo was led by Garrett Allen (1g, 1a), Matt Leitner (2a) and Johnnie Searfoss (1g, 1a) with two points a piece.  Johnnie Searfoss got the eventual game winner in the second period with assists from Leitner and Allen.  Also scoring for the Force in the first period was Chase Grant, unassisted.  Cody Campbell stopped 18 Des Moines shots.

Matt Leitner named Offensive Player of the Week


Leitner registered seven points (4g, 3a) and a plus-two rating as the Force claimed two victories over the weekend. The forward scored two goals in the first period on Friday night while also assisting on the game-winning overtime goal in the 6-5 victory over Tri-City. The following evening, the native of Los Alamitos, California scored two power play goals and assisted on two other goals as the Force handed the Omaha Lancers a 5-2 loss. Leitner is playing in his third USHL season and was the League's highest returning scorer from 2008-09 in which he scored 57 points (14g, 43a) in 56 games.

Force players selected for '09 US Junior Select Team

Colten St. Clair, Eamonn McDermott and Matt Leitner have been selected to play for Team USA in the World Junior A Challenge in Summerside, Prince Edward Island from November 1-8.  They will miss two home games against Chicago on November 6-7. 

Force take two on the road

Fargo Force 6 @ Tri-City Storm 5 (OT)
Matt Leitner led the Force with three points (2g, 1a) and the first goal of the season for Johnnie Searfoss was a big one as he scored just 27 seconds into the extra session to claim a key road victory for Fargo.  Chase Grant, Nate Condon and Chad Demers also scored for the Force.  Johnnie Searfoss, Nate Schmidt, Garrett Allen, Corey Leivermann, Chase Grant and Nick Oliver also dished assists in the 6-5 overtime win.  Cody Campbell got the win in relief for the Force, stopping 9 out of 10 Tri-City shots.  Keegan Asmundson stopped 14 of 18 before being pulled midway through the game.

Fargo Force 5 @ Omaha Lancers 2
Fargo took on the undefeated Omaha Lancers in the second game of the weekend road trip.  Matt Leitner (2g, 2a) and Eamonn McDermott (3 assists) led the way for the Force as they handed Omaha their first loss of the young season in a 5-2 win for Fargo.

In the first period, highly touted Lancer prospect, Seth Ambroz, wasted no time showing people why he has been the talk of the league as he popped in the first goal 4:53 into the first period.  Matt Leitner answered on the power play  for the Force with assists from Nate Schmidt and Eamonn McDermott. 

In the second period Corey Leivermann made the score 2-1 early on the second power play goal of the game for the Force with assists from McDermott and Condon.  Fargo pulled ahead with another goal on the power play later in the second period with Searfoss deflecting home a shot from Leitner.  Garrett Allen also picked up an assist on the goal.

Leitner scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period, once again on the power play.  Eamonn McDermott added his third assist of the game on the play.  With 2:16 remaining in the period, a Fargo player was charged with covering the puck in the crease, which resulted in a penalty shot for Omaha.  Dakota Eveland capitalized on that opportunity, beating Campbell to cut the Force lead down to two.  Fargo was able to overcome the late Lancer rally and Colten St. Clair iced the game with an empty net goal with 31 seconds remaining.  Leitner added another point to pad his stats on the empty netter, assisting on St. Clair's goal.

Campbell finished with 19 saves in the game and picked up his third win of the season.

USHL prospects recognized by NHL

The NHL has an article on their website that shows a list of a few of the prospects that NHL Central Scouting will be following for the 2009-10 season.  That article can be found here.

Fargo Force goaltender, Cody Campbell is included on that list.  Other USHL players on the list include:  Nolan Zajac (Cedar Rapids), Kevin Lind (Chicago), Yasin Cisse (Des Moines), Ludwig Karlsson (Green Bay), Cab Morris (Indiana), Jared Coreau (Lincoln), Mathieu Brisson (Omaha), Kevin Gravel (Sioux City), Clark Cristofoli (Sioux Falls), Jaden Schwartz (Tri-City), Jack Campbell (USA), Nick Sorkin (Waterloo), Nick Czinder (Youngstown).  

Keep in mind these are some of the 2010 NHL Draft prospects, which does not include 2011 eligible players like Seth Ambroz of Omaha or Colten St. Clair of Fargo.

Sioux Falls tops Fargo

Sioux Falls was able to overcome a 2 goal deficit in the 2nd period and capitalize on key power play opportunities to defeat the Force 4-3 on Friday night at the Urban Plains Center.  The one goal decision is the 7th out of 10 all time games between the two franchises.

Both teams were able to capitalize on power play opportunities as Fargo was 3-6 on the power play and Sioux Falls was 3-10 before getting the first even strength goal in the third period from Matt Zarbo, that ended up as the game winner.

Goal scorers for the Force were Matt Leitner, Nate Schmidt and Nate Condon.  Assisting on the three goals was Colten St. Clair on the Leitner's goal, and Eamonn McDermott and Matt Leitner on Nate Condon's goal late in the 2nd period.

Cody Campbell stopped 12 of 16 shots for Fargo and Chimienti stopped 14 of 17 for the herd.  The loss drops Fargo to 1-2 on the season.  Fargo's next games are October 16 at Tri-City, and October 17 at Omaha. Their next home game is October 30 against the Youngstown Phantoms.

Sioux Falls at Fargo Live

Upcoming live blog

Follow and participate in our live blog on Friday, October 9 as the Sioux Falls Stampede come to Fargo to take on the Fargo Force.

We will be giving away:

  • 1 free ticket to a Fargo Force home game
  • 4 free hot dogs to be redeemed at a game
  • 4 free medium soft drinks to be redeemed at a game
We will also be looking to possibly give away more stuff in the future!

Blog will go live roughly 30 minutes before the game...

Nate Schmidt goal at MN State A Hockey Tournament

The kid that leads the Force in points on defense also has one of the sickest high school hockey goals on YouTube.  Check out Nate Schmidt's goal versus Mahtomedi in Class A State Hockey.  Schmidt is #21 for St. Cloud Cathedral.

From the rumor mill...

Rumor is that Zane Gothberg, Fargo's top pick in the 2009 USHL Draft, may be coming to Fargo after all. 

There is a rumor that he may be coming to finish up the season in Fargo after completing his high school career with Thief River Falls.  That would give the Force two legit number one goalies going into the playoffs. 

Keep in mind though that this is only a rumor and a lot could change in four or five months.

Thanks for reading, keep checking back for more information, rumors and all things Fargo Force hockey.  Also, join us on October 9 for our second live blog in which free tickets, hot dogs and drinks will be given away to some active readers.

Who would be interested in...

A free ticket for being active on the live blogs?
Free hot dogs, drinks and other giveaways for being active on the live blogs?

Trying to get some people active on the live blogs!

Force fall to Stampede 3-2

The Sioux Falls Stampede came from behind in the 3rd period and got a late goal from Matt Lindblad to down the Force 3-2 in Sioux Falls.

Chad Demers picked up two points in his return to the Force lineup but it was not enough to hold off the Stampede as Sioux Falls picked up two third period goals including one with 2:51 remaining in the game to down the Force in Saturday night's action.

The Stampede were led by Anthony Day with two goals and Dominic Zombo with two assists.  Matt Lindblad got the game winner for the Stampede.

Cody Campbell got the day off for the Force.  Keegan Asmundson stopped 20 of 23 shots in the loss.  Goal scorers for the Force were Alex Lippincott on the power play and Garrett Allen even strength.  Chad Demers picked up two assists and Nate Schmidt also added one.

Fargo will hope to get revenge at home in their next game on the schedule, October 9 at the UP Center.  October 9 is College Night at the UP Center.  College students will be able to get a reserved seat ticket for only $5 with ID.

Force post first win in Steve Johnson era

The Fargo Force defeated the Lincoln Stars 5-2 in the home opener Friday, October 2 at the Urban Plains Center. The win marked the first win for the Force in the Steve Johnson era, who took his new team to a victory against his old team.

3,156 fans braved the muddy parking lots as construction on the parking lot was halted as Mother Nature was not able to cooperate with original plans. The parking lot is expected to be finished by the next Force home game on October 9. That game will be played against their I-29 rival, the Sioux Falls Stampede.

The Force were led by Nate Schmidt with two blasts from the point that found the back of the net. Grant Scott and Gavin Hartzog also scored for the Force, and Joe Rehkamp added a empty net power play goal late to put the icing on the cake. Nate Condon and Corey Leivermann also added assists for the Force in the win. Cody Campbell didn't see a lot of action, stopping 12 of 14 Lincoln shots.

The Force play their second game of the season tonight in Sioux Falls, against the Stampede. That game will be broadcast on 740 The Fan. 7:05 is the game time for that one.

Lincoln Stars vs. Fargo Force

Chase Grant named team captain

Chase Grant has been named team captain for the 2009-10 season. Grant is committed to play collegiate hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato. He will be signing autographs following the game in the upper lobby of the Urban Plains Center.

The Force will also be wearing their brand new 3rd jerseys for opening night! Come to the UP Center for the beginning of an exciting new season and the start of the Steve Johnson era. Expressway Suites will be giving away ice scrapers to the first 1,000 fans.