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 of the has continued to impress doubters at every level. His goal against the tonight is only further proof.
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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 NHL.com:
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.
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.
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!
International Scouting Service - Top 30 2010 Prospects - December
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 USHL
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 USHL
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 USHL
30 Pulkkinen, Teemu RW 2-Jan-92 R 5.11 183 Jokerit FinE
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. More media = more interest. More interest = more fans!
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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:
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 http://www.fargoforceblog.com/ - it will still be available at http://fargoforce.blogspot.com/.
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.
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)
Nate Condon is featured in the Colorado Avalanche Farm Report on NHL.com. 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.
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 (Prohockeynews.com)
Andy now wears #29 instead of the #20 that Force fans were accustomed to.