Force lose 5th in six games

The Fargo Force took their fifth loss in six games as they lost to the Cedar Rapids Roughriders 3-2 in a shootout.  The Force were able to score in the last minute on a goal from Chase Grant, who had two in the game, with the goalie pulled.  Dayn Belfour was stellar between the pipes stopping 46/48 on the night.

The Force gave up a total of 97 shots on the weekend in the two games and Belfour saw 92 of them.  Belfour stopped a lot of rubber on the weekend saving 82.  The Force were lucky Belfour played so well because this game could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for him.  They were able to pick up one point in the USHL standings by sending the game to overtime.

Fargo takes on the Waterloo Black Hawks on March 5-6 at the Urban Plains Center and then take off to Sioux City, Iowa to play the Musketeers on Sunday, March 7th.

Here is the last of the shootout from Cedar Rapids.

Unofficial USHL Hockey Blog

The Unofficial USHL Hockey Blog is back up and running after some time off for the year.  There are some interesting videos regarding Muskegon's new franchise and they will be providing some good USHL news (hopefully) for the year! 

Check it out here.

Urban Plains Center naming rights

Force fans might have to get ready to start calling the home rink a new name. The Urban Plains Center will be selling the naming rights to a sponsor that will allow the UP Center staff to begin the construction of the Tournament Facility that was set to have four sheets of ice. It looks like they will build one sheet of ice at a time and will try to start with one after they sell the naming rights. Check out the article link below.

Urban Plains Center has ongoing negotiations for naming rights | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

This could also lead to the UP Center hosting the North Dakota State Hockey Tournament.  See link below.

SHIFTING ICE: North Dakota state high school hockey tournament | Grand Forks Herald | Grand Forks, North Dakota

Force drop another one

The Fargo Force were unable to use the momentum they built from their win over the Indiana Ice on Sunday into tonight's game as the Force lost to Waterloo tonight 8-2.  Waterloo outshot the Force 49-28 on rout to the big victory.  The Force have now dropped four of their last five games and will take on the Cedar Rapids Roughriders in a rematch from the series not so long ago.  The Force will need to be better than they were in that series and certainly better than they were tonight to beat the Roughriders.

Scoring for the Force in tonight's game was Marek Hrbas (assisted by Nate Condon) and Johnnie Searfoss (assisted by Nate Schmidt and Garrett Allen).  Both Force goals were scored on the power play, the only bright spot in the game for the Force (2/6 on the PP).  Dayn Belfour stopped 36/44 shots in the game in relief of Ryan Massa who was injured about five minutes into the game.  Belfour played a lot better than the score indicated as the Force didn't help Belfour much defensively.  We are going to need a lot stronger effort to get a win on the road at the Stable.

Go Force!

EDIT:  Ryan Massa Update - He was cut on the calf of his leg and got 8 stitches.  He will be out at least two weeks.

Final Four Friday

Talk about an exciting day if you are a hockey fan in North Dakota and throughout the United States.  It's Final Four Friday tomorrow night starting with the USA-Finland game starting at 2:00pm CST on NBC and the Canada-Slovakia game at 8:30pm CST on CNBC for the rights to play for the Gold medal at the Olympics.

In North Dakota, we get an extra final four on Final Four Friday with the semi-finals of the state hockey tournaments.  The West dominated on the boys' side of the tournament with Bismarck, Williston, Bismarck Century and the favored Grand Forks Central Knights making it to the semi-finals (Live blog available here).  The girls' final four consists of all eastern ND teams with West Fargo, Grand Forks, Fargo North and Fargo South making it to the semi-finals.

The Fargo Force will also be taking on the Waterloo Blackhawks from Waterloo (Live blog available here).  It's an action-packed day of hockey in North Dakota!

Weekend Preview - Waterloo, Cedar Rapids

The Fargo Force will be taking on the Waterloo Blackhawks on Friday and the Cedar Rapids Roughriders on Saturday this weekend.  The Force are coming off a win over Indiana after a 3-game losing streak in which they gave up 22 goals in possibly their worst three games of the year so far.  Even through the defensive struggles, Nick Romanick has been a +4 in the last five games (including a +1 in a 9 goals against game), the rest of the defensive unit will need to be equally as good if they want to win this weekend.  The Force will look to jump on Force captain Chase Grant's back as the veteran forward has put up points in nine straight games.  He has 8 goals and 6 assists in those 9 games and leads the team with a total of 23 goals this season.

The Blackhawks and the Force have played one game this year in Waterloo early in the season and lost that game 7-3.  The Blackhawks were led by J.T. Brown (2g, 3a), Tyler Barnes (1g, 2a), Brock Montpetit (1g, 1a), Derek Arnold (2a) and Patrick Divjak with 2 goals including the eventual game-winner.  Derek Arnold has scored 11 goals over his current nine-game point streak and 14 goals in his last 16 games.  The Blackhawks are currently on a 5-game winning streak so the Force will need a strong effort to get the win.  C.J. Motte has been in goal for all five of those wins and has posted a 1.78 GAA in those games.  Motte was also strong when they faced Fargo earlier in the season as he stopped 39/42 Force shots.

After the battle in Waterloo Friday night, the Force will head down the road to take on the Cedar Rapids Roughriders at the Stable.  The Force were recently swept by them in Fargo on 2/12-2/13.  The Force were terrible in both games despite scoring 9 goals.  Fargo will look to redeem themselves defensively against a team that was able to put 15 goals by them on their home ice.

I wonder who Coach Johnson will go with in net this weekend.  Personally, I hope he puts Massa back in net.  Belfour did a great job against Indiana snapping the 3-game losing streak, but I would love to see Massa regain his confidence on Friday night in Waterloo and redeem himself against the Roughriders (on Saturday) after giving up 9 goals in four periods of play against them.  Defensively, the Force will need to shut down Jeff Costello (3g, 3a in two games vs. Fargo) and Zach Lehrke (3g, 1a in two games vs. Fargo) as they dominated the Force in Fargo.

What do you think Force fans?  Who does Coach Johnson go with this weekend in net, Massa or Belfour?  Do you think that the Force will have a little fire in their belly after struggling against Cedar Rapids just a few weekends ago?  Despite the recent struggles, the Force have been able to score goals with 19 over the four games.  Does that continue?  Who steps up their game defensively?

USHL has made its mark on U.S. hockey squad

There are a number of former USHLers that are competing in the Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Check out this article in the Argus Leader out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota on the five players currently competing for the United States in the Olympics here.

The five former USHL players playing for USA in the Olympics are:

David Backes (Lincoln Stars)
Ryan Malone (Omaha Lancers)
Joe Pavelski (Waterloo Blackhawks)
Paul Stastny (Omaha Lancers)
Brian Rafalski (Madison Capitols)

Hockey coverage in America...

If you ask me, NBC completely dropped the ball when they chose to televise tonight's epic USA vs. Canada Olympic hockey game on MSNBC.  I get it that they didn't want to devote 3 hours to one sport so I appreciate that they allowed for it all to be broadcasted in its entirety with a decent pre-game on MSNBC.  The problem with them broadcasting the game on MSNBC is that there are some Americans out there that don't get MSNBC.  Another problem for Americans that actually do get MSNBC is that it was not in HD.  They could have aired the game on USA or CNBC instead (2 networks that do broadcast in HD) but they chose MSNBC. This is why Gary Bettman is forced to make the difficult decision on whether or not to send the NHL players to Sochi in 2014.  The NBC executives always give hockey the shaft and as a die-hard hockey fan, I am sick of it.

Critics of hockey throughout America always point to the TV ratings and state that this is why the NHL isn't put on prime time television, but the only time the NHL is ever on a national network is at 11:00am CST on a Sunday.  I am sure the hockey fans on the West coast don't appreciate getting up at 9:00am to watch hockey.  There are also a lot of people that are attending church at that time, and if you aren't at church maybe you are grabbing lunch.  If you ask me, that's why the NHL doesn't get the ratings that some of the other sports may get with prime time broadcasts. 

The NHL and hockey in general is always getting the shaft when it comes to being taken seriously as a major sport and we need a network that is willing to give it some coverage in order for hockey to grow as a sport.  The Olympics are a once every four years and it doesn't happen often that they are in North America. I have a hard time believing that most Americans really wanted to watch ice dancing over the USA-Canada hockey game.  Please NBC, start taking hockey seriously!  It's not just NBC (at least NBC is broadcasting hockey!), ESPN is terrible at broadcasting hockey.  I should say that ESPN is nonexistent when it comes to covering hockey.  ESPN is so bad that I have actually stopped watching Sportscenter.  I don't need to watch an hour of basketball highlights followed by a Tiger Woods press conference followed by 30 minutes of NFL coverage in February two weeks after the Super Bowl (Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating...).  Am I the only hockey fan out there that is frustrated with this?

EDIT:  This basically sums up my frustration... NBC Dances in Hockey Hell

Indiana at Fargo - Live Blog 4:05pm

Live blog provided to you by Kerry Collins from the Fargo Forum (

Struggles continue for the Force

The struggles continued last night for the Fargo Force as they fell behind quickly and weren't able to dig themselves out of the 5-0 hole they put themselves in going into the 3rd period.  The Force need to take the momentum they built in the 3rd period (scoring 4 goals to bring it to a 1-goal game) into this afternoon's game.

I would have to say it is a must for the Force to get on the scoreboard quickly as the Force have not even led a game since their last win against Omaha on 2/6.  Another thing the Force need to do tonight is to limit the odd-man rushes that the Ice were able to get last night.  If they do this in the first period it will allow our goalie to settle in and see some shots to build their confidence.  They also desperately need to put three good periods together.

Indiana at Fargo - Live Blog 8:05pm

Fargo Force take on Ice this weekend in Clark Cup Finals rematch

This weekend will mark the first time that the Fargo Force will be taking on the Indiana Ice at the Urban Plains Center since the Ice hoisted the Clark Cup in Fargo last year.  Indiana doesn't have very many returning players from last year's Clark Cup winning team with 6 players remaining from 2008-09 and a lot of their big name guys from last year won't be in Fargo this year as most of them have gone on to play NCAA college hockey this year.

This year, the Force have played the Ice twice in Indiana and have split their first two meetings.  Fargo lost the 11/13 battle 6-3 and won the 11/14 in come from behind fashion to beat the Ice 6-5.  Nate Condon netted three goals and added two assists for five points in two games against Indiana so far this year.  Captain Chase Grant has also been good against the Ice with two goals and two assists and Corey Leivermann has been the dishmaster with four assists in two games against Indiana this year.  The Force will look to shut down Shane Berschbach (1g, 4a against Fargo this year), Nic Dowd (2g, 3a vs. Fargo this year) and Antti Roppo (3g vs. Force this year) this weekend.

Force goaltenders Ryan Massa and Dayn Belfour have yet to face the Ice in a Force uniform this season as former goalies Cody Campbell and Ryan Holfeld played the Ice in Indiana earlier this year.

Fargo takes on Indiana at 8:05pm on Saturday night and 4:05 on Sunday afternoon.

It's official: Muskegon joins USHL

It's official.  The USHL is a 16-team league in 2010-11.  From

The United States Hockey League today announced that it will expand to Muskegon, Michigan and a new membership will begin play in the 2010-11 season, bringing the League's total to 16 Member Clubs.

"This is a red-letter day for the USHL," said Commissioner Skip Prince. "Together with USA's Hockey's NTDP team out of Ann Arbor, the entry of Muskegon into the USHL places us squarely in the midst of one of hockey's hotbeds in Michigan, and in front of some of the most knowledgeable fans in the game."

The new Muskegon organization, which will be known as the Muskegon Lumberjacks, will be owned and operated by Blue Ox Hockey and Lou and Josh Mervis. Part of the USHL since the League acquired its exclusive Tier I designation by USA Hockey in 2002, the Mervis family originally operated the USHL Danville (Illinois) Wings. Mervis Industries, the family's principal business, is a leader in manufacturing and recycling of industrial by-product which operates in 12 cities throughout the Midwest.

"We spent a lot of time and effort exploring multiple cities that would be a solid USHL market, but Muskegon clearly established itself as not only the right fit for us, but for the League," said Josh Mervis.

"The city has a rich tradition of hockey and a knowledgeable fan base whose passion and loyalty rivals hockey fans anywhere in North America."

The new Muskegon team will play its home games at L.C. Walker Arena, a multi-purpose facility which seats 5,100 for hockey games. Blue Ox Hockey will also operate L.C. Walker Arena in a joint venture with Jeff and Stacey Patulski, who have managed the building in addition to holding ownership of a hockey organization in Muskegon for the past two seasons. Tim Taylor, a well-respected hockey executive and native of Muskegon, will assume the position of COO of the USHL Lumberjacks.

"The opportunity for the USHL to have strong, committed, experienced local management in Muskegon, a city that has hosted this great game in numerous leagues for fifty years, is a statement by all of us – the League, the city and its great fans, and the Mervis family – that the pinnacle of USA Hockey's development model has a home here," said Commissioner Prince.

Muskegon becomes the second Michigan entry into the USHL, as the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) became a full-time member of the League prior to this season. With the recent addition of the Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints and the expansion to Muskegon, the USHL will have an all-time high of 16 Member Clubs for the 2010-11 season.

Cedar Rapids at Fargo - Live Blog 7:05pm

Kerry Collins from the Fargo Forum will be providing you with the live blog tonight.

Cedar Rapids at Fargo - Live Blog 7:35pm

Join me live from the Urban Plains Center for tonight's Fargo Force action against the Roughriders from Cedar Rapids.  Game starts at 7:35pm.  Blog will go live between 6:45-7:00pm.

Force affiliate goaltender Zane Gothberg wins Brimsek Award

Fargo Force affiliate goaltender (1st round pick for the Fargo Force in 2009) Zane Gothberg won the Frank Brimsek Award as the top senior goaltender in the state of Minnesota.  Gothberg is expected to play for the Fargo Force next season (with the possibility of even finishing this season with the Force) before heading to the University of North Dakota.

Gothberg has posted a 15-6 record with a 1.82 GAA and a .920 save percentage.  Gothberg has also posted three shutouts with the Prowlers of Thief River Falls this season.

Gothberg is also likely to be drafted into the NHL this summer as an "A" rated prospect (NHL Central Scouting).

USHL to Muskegon?

A number of websites and newspapers are reporting that the IHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks will be folding and a USHL team in Muskegon is to take its place.  It appears all but official that the USHL will be a 16-team league next year.  Hopefully the hockey fans in Muskegon will support a USHL team after supporting a minor league team over the years (assuming that this really does happen).

Articles regarding the latest on the Muskegon's possible USHL involvement:

Bloomington Pantagraph
From the comments: Sad day for Lumberjack fans, but give the USHL a chance
Muskegon Lumberjack owners confirm rumors of discussions with the USHL
Q and A with the new USHL owner in Muskegon

Live chat/blog for away games

There was some interest earlier in the year from a few of you that wanted to do the live blogs when the Force were the away team.  I am usually really busy on weekends when the Force aren't in town and usually I check how they are doing periodically through the nights but that is not enough to host the live blogs.  I was wondering if there is anyone out there that would want to play host for the away game live blogs.  If you would please let me know.  It would be a great way to get all of the Force fans together talking about the Force when they are playing out of town.  I would definitely join in on the chat but I wouldn't be able to moderate it throughout the night because I'm usually working.  So if you are usually listening or watching the Force for the away games and want to moderate the live blog/chat please e-mail me at


Force win, grab 1st place

The Fargo Force finally took over first place in the West Division of the USHL.  Check out the article in the Fargo Forum from Forum reporter Kerry Collins.  This has been a great run for the Force, hopefully they are able to keep it up and are not peaking too early!  Cody Campbell and the Cedar Rapids Roughriders come to the Urban Plains Center this coming weekend February 12-13.

USHL: Force win, grab 1st place | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

Posted using ShareThis

Omaha at Fargo - 7:05pm

Force move into share of first place in USHL's West Division

Check out Kerry Collins' article on last night's Fargo Force victory over the Omaha Lancers.  The Force are now tied for 1st place in the West Division of the USHL with another game against the Lancers tonight for sole possession of 1st.  Fargo Forum article in link below.

Force move into share of first place in USHL's West Division | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

Posted using ShareThis

Omaha at Fargo - 7:35pm

Fargo Force squeak out win in Sioux Falls

The Fargo Force were able to squeak out a win and an important two points in tonight's game against the Sioux Falls Stampede.  The Force took down the herd 5-4 in a shootout.  The Force were led by Corey Leivermann with 2 goals, an assist and the shootout game-winner, Chase Grant with a goal and an assist and Alex Lippincott with one goal.  Ryan Massa was solid once again between the pipes for the Force stopping 39/43 shots including all five in the shootout preserving the win.

With the win Fargo pulls within two points of West Division leader Omaha with an important home series upcoming against the Lancers at the Urban Plains Center this Friday and Saturday.

Pre-series notes:

  • The Force have won both meetings this year between Omaha and Fargo in Omaha.
  • Matt Leitner likes playing Omaha.  In the two games in Omaha the Force all-star has 4 goals and 3 assists for seven points.
  • Colten St. Clair has two goals and two assists in the two meetings with Omaha this season.
Omaha Lancers Feature:
  • Seth Ambroz is a 2011 NHL Draft eligible, University of Minnesota recruit that will be a player to watch for Omaha. He has 13 goals, 16 assists for 29 points in 36 games for Omaha.  2/13 of his goals have came against Fargo.  Check out this article on Ambroz from
  • Erik Haula is a Minnesota Wild draft pick and Minnesota Golden Gopher recruit that has 21 goals, 32 assists and 53 points in 38 games for the Lancers.  Check out this Haula interview with Hockey Wilderness.
  • Matt White leads the Lancers with 25 goals, 37 assists for 62 points in 37 games with Omaha.
  • The offense doesn't stop with those three for Omaha either.  They have 8 players with 20 points or more and 16 players with points in double digits for the year.
  • Jeff Teglia has been one of the top goalies in the USHL this year.  He is 4th in GAA with a 2.30 goals against average and 2nd in save percentage at .918 with a 22-7-2 record.
Should be a good weekend of hockey at the Urban Plains Center this weekend with a lot of talent and two of the top teams in the USHL competing for the top spot in the West Division.  Hopefully we are able to get 4,000+ fans in the building for the biggest series of the year this far.

Force entering critical stretch of games

This weekend's games is starting to build up some hype as we inch closer to playing three important games in three days with one game against 3rd place Sioux Falls and a two-game home series against the top team in the West in the Omaha Lancers.  Omaha is currently four points ahead of the Fargo Force after their victory on Tuesday, Feb. 2 over the Sioux City Musketeers.

Check out Kerry Collins' article in the Fargo Forum in the link below regarding this weekend's action that happens to start tonight against the herd in Sioux Falls.

Force entering critical stretch of games | INFORUM | Fargo, ND

Posted using ShareThis

Interview with Nick Oliver

Nick Oliver is featured in an interview for On the Forecheck, a Nashville Predators blog:

Nick Oliver was the Nashille Predators' 4th-round choice (110th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, and he currently plays for the Fargo Force of the USHL, the top junior league in the United States.  A broken collarbone derailed most of last year for him, but now his development is back on track and college hockey is on the horizon for next season.

Check out the interview here.

US College Hockey Report on Garrett Allen

Here is the commitment article written on Garrett Allen from the US College Hockey Report.  You heard it here first!

Good Bloodlines!

5'11", 170 lb. Fargo Force (USHL) forward Garrett Allen has committed to the University of Denver for the fall of '11.

Allen, a 3/7/92 birthdate from the Milwaukee suburb of Delafield, Wisc., played for the Milwaukee Junior Admirals midget minor squad in '07-08, then moved on to Team Illinois last year, and Fargo this season.

In 38 games to date, Allen has a 15-13-28 line, which is not bad for a first-year player in the USHL.  He's a speedster who can make plays and finish, and is also a strong penalty killer.  He's always been a little thin and physically undeveloped, but he'll have another season in the USHL to fill out before arriving in Denver.

In addition to Denver, the schools recruiting him were UNH, Wisconsin, and UNO.

Allen has good athletic bloodlines.  One of his cousins is Scott Polaski, a forward at Colorado College from '01-'05.  His aunt is former speedskater Bonnie Blair, who appeared in four Olympics, winning five gold medals.

Garrett Allen commits to Denver

From a reliable source I have learned that Garrett Allen has given a verbal commitment to the Denver University. Congrats to Garrett!

Garrett Allen is in his first season with the Fargo Force and the USHL.  He has 15 goals, 13 assists and 28 points in 38 games with Fargo.

Ryan Massa named USHL Goaltender of the Week

The United States Hockey League today announced the weekly award winners for the 18th week of the 2009-10 USHL regular season. 
Congratulations to forward Brandon Saad of Team USA, named Reebok Offensive Player of the Week; defenseman Conor Allen of the Sioux Falls Stampede, selected as CCM Defensive Player of the Week; and Ryan Massa of the Fargo Force who earned honors as the USHL Goaltender of the Week.
Massa allowed just two goals while earning two road victories for the Fargo Force.  He turned away 31 shots in the 9-1 win over Tri-City on Friday.  The native of Littleton, Colorado then stopped 32 shots in the 2-1 victory against Lincoln on Saturday.  Playing in his first USHL season, the 19-year-old has an impressive 13-1-1 record and ranks fifth among League goaltenders with a 2.47 goals-against-average.  During his USHL debut on November 28th, he posted a 22-save shutout in the 5-0 win over Tri-City.

Johnson deserves credit for helping build Stars

Check out the article in the Lincoln Journal Star about current Fargo Force Head Coach Steve Johnson's reception in Lincoln.  It's a pretty nice article about Johnson's experience in the USHL with Lincoln.  Hopefully he is able to build the Force into the organization that the Stars have in Lincoln.

Check out the article here.

Posted using ShareThis

An all-star decision for Schmidt

Check out this article that was featured in the St. Cloud Times about Nate Schmidt's decision to make the transition from St. Cloud Cathedral to the Fargo Force.  Check out the article here.

Hopefully Nate is able to be drafted in the NHL this year and it is nice that Fargo has helped him in the transition from high school to college and hopefully the NHL.  It will be exciting to see him in a Gopher uniform next year.

Interview with Nate Condon

Interesting interview with Nate Condon on "Hockey's Future"

Thomas McCarthy to Merrimack College

After interest from Brown University and a official visit to Denver University last week, former Force defenseman Thomas McCarthy has made up his mind.

Merrimack College has received a verbal commitment from Bismarck Bobcats' defenseman Tom McCarthy.  McCarthy appeared in 14 games for the Fargo Force (USHL) earlier this season and played all last season with the Force.

McCarthy, listed at 6-feet, 220 pounds, is a bruising defenseman in the stay-at-home mold.  He finished his USHL career with a 2g-5a--7pts line in 67 games to go with 93 PIM.  With the Bobcats this season, McCarthy has 1g-2a--3pts totals in 17 games with 28 PIM.