Who will play in 2010-11?

Here is an attempt to let all of you blog readers who may be here next year for returners and maybe even some of the players that are coming in from the drafts this year and past drafts.  We'll start with the returners.

Returning for Fargo:

Goalie -

Ryan Massa

We are pretty sure that Ryan Massa will be back in Fargo for next season.  It is getting really late in the game for Ryan to commit to a college for 2010 and although he has had some offers, he will look to get more options as he starts in Fargo in 2010-11.

Defense -

Brian Cooper
Brandon Carlson
Oleg Yevenko
? - Nick Romanick

Brian Cooper, Brandon Carlson and Oleg Yevenko are all expected to return to the Force lineup for 2010-11.  Marek Hrbas will not be back with the Force next season, he will  be further pursuing his goal of being an NHL prospect by playing in a different league.  I talked to him today and he said that he would not be back, verifying our commenter's post (see comments).  Also, that same blog poster below believes that Nick Romanick will be elsewhere to start the season next year (see comments).

Forwards -

Colten St. Clair
Nick Oliver
Garrett Allen
Joe Rehkamp
? - Chad Demers
? - John Stampohar

Nick Oliver, Garrett Allen and Joe Rehkamp are all expected to be in a Force uniform come opening night.  Chad Demers had to be re-drafted with the last pick in the USHL Entry Draft which must mean that the Force did not protect Demers.  The Force re-protected him by drafting him so that should mean he should be back with the Force for 2010-11.  Chad played very well in the playoffs playing on Joe Rehkamp and John Stampohar's line.  Stampohar is the big question mark for possible returning forwards.  He has not decided whether he will return to Fargo, go back to Medicine Hat and play with the Tigers (WHL) or play elsewhere.  John Stampohar, Chad Demers and Nick Romanick were all drafted in the NAHL making all of their returns more questionable for the 2010-11 season.

BREAKING NEWS 6/6/10 - Colten St. Clair will be back in Fargo after I talked with him today.

With only a few returners up front for Fargo, the Force will have almost three full lines to fill with new incoming players from their protected list.  Here are some names to watch out for and what I have been able to find out.

From 2008, 2009:

Zane Gothberg - G, Thief River Falls (MN-HS)
Jimmy Mullin - F, Shattuck-St. Mary's (MN-HS)
Willie Corrin - D, International Falls (MN-HS)
Troy Hesketh - D, Minnetonka (MN-HS)
Corbin McGuire - F, Taft Prep School
AJ Jarosz - F, Team Illinois
Ryan Doner - F, Kent Valley Selects
Garrett Haar - D, LA Selects
Aaron Scheppelmann - D, S2 U18
Neil Goff - D, Stillwater (MH-HS)
Joe Basaraba - F, Shattuck-St. Mary's (MN-HS)

Most of the defensemen on this list won't make the roster with all of the defensemen the Force have coming back.  The two that will likely make the roster are Troy Hesketh and Willie Corrin.  Neil Goff will probably return to high school.  I haven't gotten any info on Haar or Scheppelmann but they were listed on Fargo's affiliate list according to Kerry Collins' blog.  AJ Jarosz, Corbin McGuire and Ryan Doner will all get good looks from the coaching staff to fill the voids at forward for the Force.

From 2010:

Tanner Kero - F, Marquette (NAHL)
Jimmy Murray - F, Chicago Mission
Daniel McNamara - F, Chicago Young Americans
Austin Farley - F, Chicago Mission
Tyler Maugeri - F, LA Jr. Kings
Tanner Lane - F, Detroit Lakes (MN-HS)
Jakob Batcha - F, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals
Dan Weissenhofer - D, Bismarck (NAHL)
Justin Wade - D, Chicago Mission
? - Dajon Mingo - F, Wenatchee (NAHL)
? - Chase Souto - F, LA Jr. Kings
? - Steven Beyers - F, Orangeville (CCHL)
? - Josh Lazowski - F, Spruce Grove (AJHL)
? - Riley Simpson - F, Brooks (AJHL)

All of these players have shown interest in playing for the Force next season if they can make the roster.  There are a lot of voids to fill at forward and head coach Steve Johnson drafted a lot of forwards in 2010 to fill the spots so many of these players have a shot.  A kid that we have talked a little bit in the comments section of the blog, Tanner Lane, even said that he would forgo his senior season at DL to play in Fargo.  Chase Souto, the youngest player selected by the Force in the 2010 drafts, said that he wants to play in the WHL, but if he was not able to play for Kamloops (WHL), he might be interested in playing a season in Fargo.  Also, when I talked to Dajon Mingo he didn't sound too certain if he was going to stay in Wenatchee or come to Fargo.  He said he really trusts his coaches in Wenatchee and likes playing there.  I also put question marks by our imports from Canada as they are always hard to predict as to whether they want to go the major junior route or even stay in Canada in their pursuit of a college scholarship.  With Hrbas not coming back, it does open the door for a couple of them to come in.  The Force can only add two imports for a total of three with the grandfather rule (would be only two if Yevenko was not coming back).

Tryouts are July 25-28 so everyone will be able to make their scouting reports after they are able to see the kids play.  Can't wait for 2010-11!


Fargo's Entry Draft Results

The USHL has completed the Entry Draft and Fargo's selections are shown below.  Fargo didn't select any defensemen until after they hit 23 players on their protected roster and that is not surprising at all to me as the Force return most of their defensemen next season and have a few players already coming in that were drafted last year (Willie Corrin from International Falls and Troy Hesketh from Minnetonka to name a couple of the most notable defensemen coming in).

13. Tanner Kero - C, Marquette (NAHL) - A kid that played junior hockey in the North American Hockey League with Marquette.  He scored 32 goals and added 19 assists for 51 points in 57 games with Marquette.  Having that year experience in the NAHL will do him wonders coming into Fargo next year.  Tanner is a Michigan Tech Huskie recruit.  Western College Hockey Blog thinks that this pick for Fargo was a steal as Kero led the NAHL in goals.  They also think that he could be a sleeper pick in the NHL Draft.  Check out their blog entry on the USHL Draft.

Oh...by the way...he scores game-winners! (video below)

27. Jimmy Murray - LW, Chicago Mission (MM) (from Cedar Rapids in Campbell trade) - The Force were able to trade Cody Campbell early in 2009-10 and now they got to see what they traded him for.  Jimmy Murray is a left winger from Chicago Mission's midget major team and he put up good numbers scoring 21 goals and adding 30 assists for 51 points in 42 games.  Murray is a small forward at 5'5, 130 lbs.

28. Daniel McNamara - LW, Chicago Young Americans (MM) - McNamara scored 8 and assisted on 13 for 21 points in 48 games for the Chicago Young Americans' midget major team.  McNamara has good size at 6'1, 170 lbs.

34. Austin Farley - LW, Chicago Mission (U16) (from Chicago in Gunner trade) - Once again the Force finally got to see what the result of their trade of Cole Gunner to Chicago would be and this time they picked up a young player out of Chicago Mission's midget minor program.  He averaged a point per game with the Mission scoring 19 and assisting on 19 for 38 points in 38 games last season with the Mission.  He's 5'5, 145 lbs and a late 1993 birthdate.

43. Tyler Maugeri - RW, Jr. Kings (MM) - 21 goals and 36 assists for Tyler Maugeri on the Jr. Kings midget major team this past season.  Maugeri is a California kid with Matt Leitner like numbers in midget majors.

44. Tanner Lane - F, Detroit Lakes (MN-HS) (from Omaha) - Tanner Lane was tied for the lead in Minnesota's point leaders with 90.  He was second to Joey Benik in goals with 49.  Detroit Lakes didn't have the toughest schedule in the world so Lane was able to light it up on a lot of weaker teams but he is a goal scorer nonetheless.  He was a junior this season with the Lakers so it would be interesting to see if he would want to make the 45 mile trek to Fargo to play in the USHL this season or stick around in Detroit Lakes for his senior season.

58. Steven Beyers - RW, Orangeville (CCHL) - Beyers had 11 goals and 12 assists in 16 games for Orangeville in the CCHL.  He is the 199th rated North American skater in this year's NHL Entry Draft.

73. Dajon Mingo - C, Wenatchee (NAHL) - Mingo has been playing in the North American Hockey League and would join the Force as an experienced junior hockey player.  He would only be eligible for the 2010-11 season as he just turned 20 years old this May.  He had 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points in 34 games with Wenatchee.  Mingo is 5'10, 170 lbs.

88. Josh Lazowski - C, Spruce Grove (AJHL) - Josh Lazowski put up huge numbers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this past season scoring 26 goals and assisting on 52 for 78 points in 55 games for Spruce Grove.

The Force then reached their 23-man protected roster which results in all of the passes you may see on the USHL Draft website.  Once a team gets to 23, they pass until all teams have reached 23, then they pick another 7 to fill the protected list.

223. Jakob Batcha - F, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals (NAPHL) - Batcha put up good numbers in the North American Prospects Hockey League with the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals midget major hockey team.  Batcha scored 21 and assisted on 31 for 52 points last season with the Jr. Admirals.  Batcha is a 6'1, 170 lb kid out of Fredonia, Wisconsin.

238. Garrett Schmitz - D, Red Lake Falls (MN-HS) - Schmitz led his Red Lake Falls high school team in points as a sophomore with 25 goals and 25 assists for 50 points from the blue line for RLF.  Sounds like he played on a pretty weak team and was the bright spot on the roster.

253. Chase Souto - F, Jr. Kings (U16) - Souto is the youngest player taken by the Force in the 2010 USHL Drafts (including USHL Entry and Futures drafts).  He is also a draft pick of the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in Canada (taken in the 5th round by the Blazers in 2009).  He scored 14 and dished 6 for 20 points in 35 games for the Jr. Kings (U16).

268. Dan Weissenhofer (Bismarck, NAHL and Lincoln, USHL) - Weissenhofer played with the Bismarck Bobcats and 14 games with the Lincoln Stars this season.  He scored 1 goal and dished 6 assists in the regular season (33 games).  He also had 3 assists with the Stars in 14 games.  He was good in the NAHL playoffs as he was +11 in 11 games, scoring one goal and adding an assist.

283. Austin Rudnick - D, Breck (MN-HS) - Rudnick was a sophomore this past season for the best team in Class A Minnesota high school hockey, Breck.  Rudnick scored 8 goals and had 14 assists for 22 points in 30 games.  In three state tournament games, Rudnick had a goal and an assist.

300. Riley Simpson - LW, Brooks (AJHL) - Here is an article about Riley Simpson.

317. Chad Demers - LW, Fargo (USHL) - Who is this guy?!  The Fargo Force forward was re-drafted in the USHL Entry Draft today because the Force must not have protected him.  The Force snatched him back up with the 317th pick in the Entry Draft.  Chad played really well down the stretch on Stampohar and Rehkamp's line.

Feel free to leave info on any of these kids if you have any!


Fargo's Futures Draft Results

The United States Hockey League completed the Futures Draft today and the Force loaded up with two defensemen and three forwards in the draft.  A couple of names that might be familiar to our Minnesota Force fans would be Monticello's Gage Torrel and Lakeville North's Nate Arentz who appeared in the MN-HS state tournament this year.

Fargo Force Futures Draft Results:

1. Justin Wade - D, Chicago Mission (U16) - Justin is a big kid for his age standing at 6'1 and 197 lbs as a 16 year old.  He played for the Chicago Mission (U16) midget hockey team this past season and recorded 12 assists in 34 games.  In his career with the Chicago Mission (1994 birth year and midget combined) he recorded 6 goals and 28 assists for 34 total points.  He has gotten some college looks and according to this site he has gotten significant offers from Wisconsin but has yet to sign.

2. Gage Torrel - LW, Monticello HS - Gage was the leading scorer on a sub-par Minnesota high school team this year with Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake.  He averaged more than a goal per game and nearly two points per game as a sophomore.  He finished the year with 26 goals and 19 assists for a total of 45 points.  His team only averaged 2.82 goals per game so you can see he was a big part of any success that they might have had.  Hey, he did score on future Force goaltender Zane Gothberg when his team took on the Prowlers of Thief River Falls. Gage will need to pack a few pounds on before coming to the Force as he is currently listed at 5'9, 158 lbs.

3. Nate Arentz - LW, Lakeville North HS - The third selection for the Force is a kid that led his team to a MN-HS state hockey tournament appearance but were beaten by the number one team in the state at the time, Minnetonka.  As a sophomore he led the team in goals with 18 and was tied for fourth in assists with 10 giving him 28 total points.  He is another kid that will need to beef up before heading a Force roster at 5'11 and 158 lbs.

4. Ben Johnson - C, Calumet HS (Michigan) - The fourth selection for the Force is an elite goal scorer for his age in Michigan high school hockey.  In 29 games with the Calumet Copper Kings, Johnson netted 29 and assisted on another 30 for 59 points as a sophomore.  That was good enough to lead his team in points and a winning record at 17-12.  He averaged over two points a game on a team that averaged 3.21 goals a game - pretty impressive for a sophomore.  Johnson stands at 5'10, 160 lbs.

5. Drew Best - RW, Victory Honda (U16) - Best stands at 5'8, 160 lbs for Victory Honda (U16).  Best scored 13 goals and dished out 21 assists for 34 points.  If you want to pay some money you can find out what some scouts think of him but other than that, there is not much info out there on this kid.

6. Wayland Williams - D, Compuware (U16) - Wayland is a tall kid for his age standing at 6'0, 165 lbs.  He scored 9 goals and added 5 assists at the blue line for Compuware (U16).  Some scouts have already reported him as a top 25 defensmen in the United States.  I'll guess we'll see when he puts on a Force uniform.


USHL Drafts start this week

Usually the USHL holds two drafts but with the addition of Dubuque and Muskegon this year, the USHL will hold three.  Dubuque and Muskegon will participate in the Expansion Draft and the entire league will participate in the Futures Draft and the Entry Draft.

The USHL Expansion Draft will start Monday, May 17 around noon central time after Muskegon and Dubuque receives a list of unprotected players currently on USHL rosters.
The USHL Futures Draft will begin Tuesday, May 18 at 10:00am CST.
The USHL Entry Draft will begin Wednesday, May 19 at 10:00am CST.

The Futures Draft is a five or six round process in which USHL teams will pick five players, usually for the future (although one or two players may make the roster this year), from the 1994 draft class.

The Entry Draft is the main draft in which USHL teams form their roster.

For more information on the USHL drafts, see the links above and visit the USHL website.

FOR LIVE DRAFT COVERAGE: Check out the SBNation coverage of the USHL Draft helped out by our friend at Unofficial USHL Prospects Blog.

UPDATE:  Fargo Force did not lose anyone to the USHL Expansion Draft today.  Fargo, Omaha and Sioux Falls were lucky enough to hang on to their guys.  Thanks to Tri-City radio announcer, Skip Berry for the information.


In-Forum: Fargo Force articles

An article will be featured in the Fargo Forum in the morning about the Fargo Force's "wild ride" to the Clark Cup Finals and also a "Fargo Force by the numbers" section to look out for.  You can check them out in the links below:

Pretty good article done by Kerry Collins of the Fargo Forum.  Only thing is that 8,487 isn't the largest crowd to see a USHL game, Indiana had a "Pack the House" night in which they had 11,092 fans pack Conseco Fieldhouse in Indiana.  However, the attendance of 8,487 is the biggest crowd to ever see a Clark Cup Finals game.  Enjoy!


USHL scouts eyeing area players

The USHL has their eye on a number of area hockey players in the youth/high school hockey ranks and here is the players to look out for from North Dakota and some Minnesotans that might even end up on a Fargo Force roster.  We will be watching for the Force to get some of the talent from North Dakota and the surrounding area in Minnesota.

First of all, there are a couple of links from the USHL that are highlighting these players:
USHL Prospects on display at USHL Combine (1992-93s)
USHL Future on display at USHL Combine (1994s)

There are many other North Dakota and Minnesota players that will be drafted into the USHL, I am just highlighting the players that were invited to the USHL Combine.  No doubt there are others that are deserving of being listed and once they are drafted, I will write another blurb about the area kids being drafted.  This is just who was on the USHL Combine lists and deserving of a preview going into the USHL Drafts next week.


Michael Bond (D) Fargo South 1993 - Bond played in 24 games as a sophomore for the Fargo South Bruins (HS) logging two assists.  Bond has the right size for this league at 6'2, 183 lbs and being a Fargo kid will give him some exposure to the Fargo Force.

Jace Kusler (F) Bismarck Century 1993 - Kusler finished the North Dakota state high school hockey season third in points as a junior with 25 goals and 27 assists for the Bismarck Century Patriots (HS).  Kusler is 5'11 and 155 lbs.  Associate coach Byron Pool has probably seen his share of Kusler in his two years as head coach of the Bismarck Bobcats and may make a push for the Force to draft the North Dakota boy.  (Photo of Jace Kusler on right: Tom Stromme, Bismarck Tribune)

Jeremy O'Keefe (D) Grand Forks Central 1992 - Steve Johnson played for Grand Forks Central (HS) and O'Keefe played with Steve Johnson's kid, Luke Johnson, so this is a kid that Johnson should be familiar with. O'Keefe logged 8 goals and 12 assists on the blue line for the Knights and may be a North Dakota player drafted in the USHL.  O'Keefe was a junior this past year with GFC.

Quin Buckellew (F) Moorhead 1992 - Buckellew was the leader in goals with 15 last year with the Moorhead Spuds (HS) hockey team across the river from the Fargo Force.  Buckellew is only 5'10 but has some size at 210 lbs.  He could be a local kid that may interest the Force coaching staff.  (Quin Buckellew, shown on right)

Ryan Crosson (D) Thief River Falls 1992 - Crosson may be tempted to join his high school teammate and goaltender Zane Gothberg in the USHL next season and Crosson appears to be a kid that might be ready for the jump.  Crosson was third in points on the Thief River Falls Prowlers (HS) hockey team as a junior defenseman.  Crosson stands at 5'10, 170 lbs.  Thanks to an anonymous poster in the comments, Crosson appears to be headed for the BCHL and this article confirms that.  A USHL team could still take a chance on trying to get him in the USHL with a late draft pick.

Alex Phelps (F) Detroit Lakes 1992 - Phelps is only a short 45 mile drive away from Fargo in Detroit Lakes and was second on the Detroit Lakes Lakers (HS) in scoring with 21 goals and 36 assists in 24 games.  Phelps graduates from high school this year and the USHL would be a good option to continue his hockey career.


Garrett Brossart (F) Fargo South 1994 - Brossart was the only freshman to crack the Fargo South Bruins (HS) lineup.  He is another Fargo boy that may be enticed to stay in his hometown.  He netted one goal and added 4 assists as the Bruins' youngest player on the roster.  Brossart is 5'11, 145 lbs.  (Garrett Brossart, shown on right)

Luke Johnson (F) Grand Forks Central 1994 - The son of Fargo Force coach Steve Johnson and Lincoln Stars' draftee would be an intriguing option for Fargo if the Stars have not protected the Grand Forks Central (HS) sniper.  Johnson started as an 8th grader on the Grand Forks Red River (HS) squad and transferred to Central, where his dad played high school hockey, this year.  He won a state championship with both teams and had 17 goals and 29 assists as a freshman with GFC this season.  He tried out for the USNTDP U-17 team but I'm not sure if he made the team or not.  One way or another, he will likely be playing in this league (either for the Force, the Stars, or the USNTDP) sometime in his career.  (Luke Johnson, shown on right)

Zach Doerring (F) Blake School 1994 - Doerring may be a familiar name with Fargo Force fans as Zach's brother Blake started the season with the Force but was later traded to the Des Moines Buccaneers.  His younger brother Zach played forward and scored 5 goals and 4 assists as a sophomore with the Blake School Bears (HS).


Force hire new associate coach

According to the Fargo Hockey Examiner, the Fargo Force have made a move in the coaching ranks by going out and replacing Chad Johnson, who is leaving Fargo for the head coaching job in Lincoln, with Byron Pool.  Pool was the head coach for the Bismarck Bobcats the past two years and took the Bobcats to the Robertson Cup in both years including a championship this year (2010).

Check out Tim How's article for all the news on the hiring.

Sounds like the Force have hired another guy to keep the winning tradition going and a likeable coach to play for.  Massa and Rendle gave Pool high praises in the Examiner article so he sounds like a good pick up for the Force.

Check out this article from the Bismarck Tribune on the coaching changes.

Gamblers win the Clark Cup

Congratulations to the Green Bay Gamblers on defeating the Fargo Force in five games for the Clark Cup championship.  Green Bay proved to be resilient as they never gave up in any of the games and they earned the Clark Cup winning game five by a score of 5-3.

This one hurts for Fargo Force players and fans but the franchise is still young and will have plenty of chances to win the Clark Cup in the years to come.  With the coaching staff led by Steve Johnson and the winning tradition set in stone by both Dean Blais in the inaugural season and continued by Johnson this season, the Force have a tradition to build around, and with the Urban Plains Center as our stomping ground, the Clark Cup will be ours sooner rather than later in Fargo.

For a game five recap check out the article by Fargo Hockey Examiner.

Good luck to all of the Force players that will move on to junior and professional ranks.  Thanks to all of the Fargo Force players that made this one fun season to watch.  A big thank you to all of the Force players that helped make this blog somewhat worth coming to and thanks to the Force staff for letting me blog at the games this year.  Thanks to Tyler and Forcehockey.com for giving us fans a place to grumble to each other before and after games.  Thanks to the drummer boys and chaos corners for making the Urban Plains Center a more intimidating place to play for opponents and more fun place to go to a game for fans.  Hope to see even more fans at the games next year!

...and thanks to all of you fans that came to the blog during the season!  Without you, this is really boring!

This is not the end of the blog for the year, we have the USHL drafts coming up next week and tryouts will start quickly thereafter so there will be plenty of Force news/information to pass along to Force fans.  If I am able, I will try to do live blogs for tryouts and exhibition games but that all depends on when/where they hold tryouts and when/where the exhibition games will be held.  We'll probably start soon by thinking about who may be here next year...since that is now what we have to look forward to.

Great season Force!

Fargo at Green Bay, Game 5 - Live Blog 7:05pm

One long season and it all comes down to one game and one live blog provided to you below.  Go Force!

Force expect the unexpected

The series between the Fargo Force and the Green Bay Gamblers for the Clark Cup has been a crazy one and the Force are expecting the unexpected as they travel to the Resch Center in Green Bay for a winner-take-all Game Five.  Check out the article that will be featured in the Fargo Forum in the morning.

We'll be having a live blog here for the game, see you there, unless you're at BWWs or Green Bay!

USHL Champion Determined in Game Five


The Green Bay Gamblers and Fargo Force are preparing for a deciding Game Five in the USHL Clark Cup Finals with the winner being crowned as League champions. The road team has won each of the first four games in the best-of-five series.

The game will feature the largest crowd ever to see a Clark Cup Finals game as more than 7,000 fans are expected to pack the Resch Center in Green Bay on Wednesday night. Game time is set for 7:05 PM (CDT).

USHL Clark Cup Finals coverage:

Gamblers vs. Fargo: Winner Takes All - click here for video by WBAY-TV in Green Bay
One to Decide it - click here for video by WDAY-TV in Fargo
Gamblers on verge of history - click here for article by Weston Hodkiewicz in Green Bay Gazette
Do or die without your leader - click here for article by Timothy How in Examiner.com

Momentum has shifted?

When the Force won Games One and Two, some may have thought that momentum shifted in Fargo's favor having two wins under their belt and two home games upcoming but with the two losses that evened the series with the Green Bay Gamblers, it is Green Bay that thinks they have all the momentum...

Bottom line is that Game Five is a new game, the past is the past and none of that matters.  One game to win the Clark Cup championship... Go Force!

Game Five Preview

The Fargo Force have done a nice job (for the most part) of shutting down Green Bay's leading scorer, Anders Lee, in the series.  It's too bad they couldn't shut him down when it mattered most in Game Three as the league's leading scorer found the back of the net twice in the game including the game-tying goal with 49 seconds remaining.  Lee also added an assist in the all important Game Three for the Gamblers.  Those are the only three points the Gamblers' leading scorer has put up in the Clark Cup Finals.  Lee is also a -2 in the series.

Lee's linemates Ryan Furne and Reed Seckel have picked up the slack for the Gamblers to lead the Gamblers in their last two wins.  Ryan Furne was the one that stabbed the Force in the back on Friday night as he netted the game-winner on the power play in 3OT on Friday night.  Reed Seckel has become the team's top scorer in the Clark Cup Finals including two goals and the game-winner that came in the first period of Game Four.  The Force will need to shut down the top line that Green Bay relies so heavily on.

Fargo will look to jump on one of the strongest defensive corps in the USHL led by Makowski, Albers, Czarnowczan and Jensen.  The Force have had more success than most teams in the league but that's not saying much and they will need to score goals and give Force goaltender Ryan Massa a lead to relax with.

As much as Fargo will try to give Ryan Massa the lead and more of an offensive presence so he doesn't have to work as much as he has in the past four games, he will likely be peppered once again and will again be the key to a Force win.

With the absence of two of the Force's leaders and offensive threats in Corey Leivermann and Chase Grant, the Force will need players like Nate Condon, Matt Leitner, Garrett Allen, Colten St. Clair and Johnnie Searfoss to pick up the offense.  Leitner has led the team in scoring in the Clark Cup Finals with one goal and 6 assists, Garrett Allen has scored three goals, Johnnie Searfoss has scored a goal and picked up 2 assists, Colten St. Clair has scored two goals (both in Green Bay) and Nate Condon has been held scoreless in the Clark Cup Finals.

The line of Chad Demers, John Stampohar and Joe Rehkamp have done a great job in the Clark Cup Finals of making things happen and generating some momentum for the Force.  That is what the Force will need out of their 3rd and 4th liners in Game Five.

One more game to win the Clark Cup...get it done Force!

Game 5 is Wednesday in Green Bay.  Live blog will be available here for the game.

Game Four Highlights

Green Bay defeats Fargo 5-3 at the UP Center.  Highlights below:


Former Fargo Force goalie Mike Lee is featured in a Minnesota Hockey article at www.minnesotahockey.org.  Check out the article on Mike Lee here.

Here are a couple of articles featured in the Fargo Forum the last couple of days regarding Games 3 and 4 and captain Chase Grant's injury.  Check them out in the links below:

Gamblers win in 3 OTs with goal right after midnight
Record attendance sees Clark Cup Finals game
Clark Cup Finals game Friday will remain unforgettable
Force lose another star as Grant will miss Game 5

I don't think the Forum has the attendance numbers quite right unless they have different numbers than the folks at the USHL.  According to this USHL gamesheet, the Force and Urban Plains Center's record attendance would have been 4,993 set on opening night, October 30, 2008 against the Sioux Falls Stampede which would have beaten the mark that the Forum has with the March 27, 2010 contest between the Gamblers and Force that saw 4,837 spectators walk through the gate.

Regardless...enjoy the links!

Saturday Night Fight

Brandon Carlson of the Fargo Force tries to jump start his team as they trailed to the Gamblers early in Game Four of the Clark Cup Finals.  Check it out below thanks to the YouTube video poster:

Be here - FargoForceBlog.com - for Game 5

Be here at www.FargoForceBlog.com for live chat/updates for Game 5 of the Clark Cup Finals.  Join Force fans on this blog as we will all watch the Fargo Force win the Clark Cup in Green Bay!

Gamblers force decisive Game 5

For the fourth time in four Clark Cup Finals games the away team won as the Green Bay Gamblers jumped to a big lead early and hung on to defeat the Fargo Force 5-3 at the Urban Plains Center tonight.  The Gamblers jumped on the Force with three quick goals to start the first period with a 3-0 lead only 3:31 into the game.

Garrett Allen would jump start the Force on a goal midway through the first period on a feed from Matt Leitner and Johnnie Searfoss to make it 3-1.  Reed Seckel would regain the three goal lead a little more than a minute later on the power play for the Gamblers' fourth goal.  Less than a minute later, the Force answered with a goal by Joe Rehkamp assisted by Chad Demers to make it 4-2.  With 4:27 left in the first, Johnnie Searfoss would add a goal to close within one goal of the Gamblers.  Matt Leitner assisted on the Searfoss goal.  The 4-3 score after the first 20:00 was identical to the score of the previous night's score of 4-3 after 101:38 minutes of play.

The Force and the Gamblers both picked up their defensive game following the 7-goal first period as neither the Force or the Gamblers were able to score a goal until the Gamblers added an empty net tally to finish off the game with a 5-3 win over the Fargo Force.

The good news for the Force is that if the trend continues with the away team winning every game of the Clark Cup Finals, they will come out of Green Bay with their first ever Clark Cup championship.  The bad news for the Force is that they will have to do it without their captain, Chase Grant (according to Steve Johnson on his radio interview with Dan Hammer on 740 The Fan) .  That makes two of the Fargo Force captains out for Game Five as Corey Leivermann also won't play as he is still feeling the effects of the concussion along with a shoulder injury sustained in Game Two of the West Division Finals against Omaha.

I will be doing a live blog for Game Five in Green Bay.  I will be watching the game on the B2 Network and providing updates on the blog.  The blog will go unmoderated as long as we keep it PG-13 : ) - Hope to see everyone there as Force fans can come together on the blog to follow the Force to their Clark Cup victory!

...if anyone is going to Green Bay for Game Five, have fun and represent Fargo and the Force proudly!

Photo by RJ Meyer from USHLimages.com

Game Four Links:
Force lose captain, home ice, and game four
Game Four Recap by USHL
Here is a video from Green Bay's news station:

Green Bay Gazette Article

For Game Three Highlights check it out below:

Live blog for Game Four

I can't make it to the game, I have my niece's baptism to go to.  That doesn't mean you can't follow another live blog.  Check out www.areavoices.com/force for Kerry Collins' live blog for Game Four between the Force and Gamblers. 
Go Force!  Wish I could be there!

Game Three Recap - Gamblers 4, Force 3 (3OT)

For the third straight time in the best-of-five series, the road team won the game as Gamblers forward Ryan Furne scored 1:38 into the third overtime to keep his club alive in the quest for the Clark Cup.  It was the first win of the series for Green Bay as Force now holds a 2-1 advantage in the Clark Cup Finals.
Fargo captain Chase Grant got the already energized capacity crowd on their feet when he scored a little more than three minutes into the first period.  Again, Green Bay out-shot the Force in the first frame, 11-7, but the Force has scored first in each of the three games so far.
Anders Lee evened the game scoring his eighth of the playoffs at 1:38 of the second period.  Gamblers captain Patrick McCadden then gave his club their first lead in the series when he netted his second of the postseason and Green Bay went into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Matt Leitner tied the game at 2-2 when his pass attempt redirected and slipped past Gamblers goaltender Steve Summerhays.  Four minutes later, Chase Grant netted his second of the night to re-gain the lead for Fargo when his shot from the side of the net bounced off Summerhays and trickled across the goal line.  Fargo's captain now has three multi-goal games in the playoffs.
Fargo appeared to be on their way to celebrate their first ever Clark Cup title, but the Gamblers weren't finished.  With their goaltender pulled in favor of the extra attacker, Anders Lee fired home his second goal of the game, with just 49 seconds remaining to tie the game at 3-3 and send it to overtime.
Force goaltender Ryan Massa continued his stellar play in the postseason turning away 17 shots through the first two overtimes, but it was to be Green Bay's night when Furne scored his sixth of the playoffs and send the series to Game Four which will be played on Saturday night at the Urban Plains Center.  Summerhays made 29 saves to earn the victory for the Gamblers.
Force fans set a new attendance record at the Urban Plains Center as 5,191 people packed the building to witness a thrilling triple-overtime contest.  Although 101:38 minutes of game action was played, it was not the longest game in playoff history.  That was a four-overtime contest between the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Lincoln Stars on April 12th, 2002, which lasted 126:15.
Post Game Reaction
Green Bay Gamblers Head Coach Jon Cooper on his team's effort…
"That's why hockey is the greatest sport in the world because you just watched the passion that was put into the game by both teams and then one goal ends it.  I am so proud of the effort our guys gave in a hostile environment."
Cooper on his team's penalty killing…
"We have to give a ton of credit to Summerhays and our penalty killers.  Summerhays got a tough couple bounces against him in regulation, but I thought he was as cool as the other side of the pillow in the overtimes.  For the penalty killers to do what they did was just phenomenal.  You need those unsung heroes to come through for you at crunch time and they gave us the opportunity to be able to win it."
Gamblers goaltender Steve Summerhays on his team's mindset…
"All we wanted to do was come in here and win on Friday night to get us to Saturday.  After two overtimes, we sat in the locker room and said this is the period that we are going to score a goal.  The team that wants it the most is going to win the series.  We won that game and now we get to play on Saturday."
Summerhays on the Gamblers battling back…
"We had two good games last weekend.  We thought we did a lot of good things but we knew we needed to be better tonight. We knew their goalie was going to be great again - Massa has been unbelievable in this series. We went down by one, but we have done that every game this series and we knew that we were going to battle back. We killed off penalties all game and in overtime, then we finally get our chance on the power play and we score."
Gamblers forward Ryan Furne on scoring the game-winner in triple overtime…
"That was a pretty big goal because in the second overtime, I hit the post.  In the overtimes, we were pretty jacked up and buzzing around.  For me to score the goal is lucky for me, but it was a team effort tonight." 
Furne on out-shooting the Force…
"We weren't getting too frustrated and we kept pouring it on them. Even the first two games of the series we out-shot them, but we just have to keep going to the net hard, earn the rebounds, and do whatever we can to score goals."
Gambler forward Anders Lee on the offensive production after scoring just one goal combined in the first two games of the series…
"Massa and the Force have really had our number the last couple of games. Tonight it was do or die time.  Once we were able to get that first goal, it made things a lot easier and got us rolling." 
Lee on what the team was saying when twice falling behind in the game…
"We are fine, especially when they tied it up and then took the lead.  We didn't worry about it because all it takes is one shot and we will get right back into it.  We had some poise at the end of the third and got that done. We had to battle through some penalties in the overtimes, but that is what you have to do if you want to win and we just pulled it out."
Lee on the team's 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second overtime…
"Unbelievable.  All three of our guys were great and obviously Summerhays making some great saves out there. Your best penalty killer is your goalie and he was there for us." 
Lee on the team's thoughts for Game Four…
"We will enjoy this one here for a few moments, get some food in us, and get hydrated, but for sure tomorrow is already on our minds and we will be ready to go."

Green Bay at Fargo, Game 3 - Live Blog 7:35pm

It will be a packed house for Game Three tonight between the Fargo Force and the Green Bay Gamblers.  You can't even get tickets to this anymore.  Standing room only!  If you weren't lucky enough to get tickets, we will be providing you with live updates below.  Force can win the Clark Cup tonight at home.  Game starts at 7:35pm.

In-Forum: Cool demeanor suits Force's McDermott

Check out the latest article in the Fargo Forum by Forum reporter Kerry Collins.  This time he talks to Steve Johnson and Eamonn McDermott about McDermott's all-business demeanor.  Check that article out at the Fargo Forum website here.

The Fargo Force take on the Green Bay Gamblers in a Game Three in which the Force could win the Clark Cup.

Friends Turn Foes for USHL Clark Cup Finals

From the USHL.com:

Both the Fargo Force and Green Bay Gamblers are seeking the USHL's ultimate prize of the Clark Cup this spring, but for two players on opposing sides of the ice, personal bragging rights are also on the line.
Green Bay forward Robert Francis and Fargo defenseman Brandon Carlson are southern California natives that have a little history together. They both are now after a USHL title, but once upon a time, they wore the same jersey and won a championship as teammates.  Francis, 19, and Carlson, 17, weren't even teenagers yet when they won the California Peewee State Championship with the San Diego Jr. Gulls.  It was their second year playing together after what was an interesting first season on the ice, which their former coach Mike Lazano fondly recalls.
"Our first year together, we got rocked pretty good early in the season, even once losing 20-0," said Lazano.  "It was definitely a building year because many of those kids came from playing roller hockey to play ice hockey for the first time.  But we kept those kids together and went all the way to win a state championship the second year."
One of those roller hockey players was a young Robert Francis who converted to ice hockey at the urging of Lazano after convincing Robert's father that he would be good enough.  "I told his dad that Robert has all the tools – he just needs to learn how to ice skate."
So Francis took the ice for the first time at team tryouts, equipped with a pair of rented skates, and got his first taste of ice hockey.  During a scrimmage that day, he got a rude welcome to the more physical sport when after receiving a pass, he was immediately checked by a player on the other team.  That player was Steven Hoshaw, who played in the USHL this season for both the Lincoln Stars and Waterloo Black Hawks.
"Robert got run over so bad that I didn't think he was going to ever come back again," said Lazano.  "But, he got up and I remember him saying, 'Wow that was cool'.  I knew right then he was going to be a good player."
Another player on the ice that day who had vivid memories of that hit was Brandon Carlson because he was the player who delivered that pass to Francis.  "It was the first time I had met Robert," said Carlson.  "I gave him a buddy pass and he got rocked pretty hard."
Carlson was the youngest player in that group who was brought up to play at the peewee level because of his good skill and big size for his age.  A little coaching from Lazano helped him to progress as a defenseman.  "I remember teaching him how to hip-check and get the proper angles on forwards who were faster than him," said Lazano.  "He got ran over at first, but he never quit trying.  He is a hard worker and wasn't afraid to get in the middle of anything."
The coaching and continued development in the USHL has paid off for the defenseman as speedy forward Francis notes that it is not an easy task to beat his buddy.  "Brandon does very well defensively.  Every time I go against him, I have to try to think of different things to get around him.  He is a younger player, but knows the game very well and is not afraid to throw his body around."
After a rocky first season in peewee's, Carlson and Francis enjoyed the results of hard work and sticking together when they captured the state title.  It is a lasting memory for the both of them who even bumped into each other prior to the USHL Clark Cup Finals to reminisce for a few moments.  One memento from that season includes a photo with a popular NHL player who spent that season in southern California with the Los Angeles Kings.  "I still have pictures of that season, and one that is hanging up in my house is our team with Wayne Gretzky," said Francis.
While Carlson and Francis both have fond memories of those times as teammates, they are now looking to make new memories as opponents in the USHL.  Their friendship and respect for each other as players remains strong, but they both realize what is at stake for their respective teams now.
"It is fun, but he is my buddy off the ice," said Carlson.  "On the ice, it is all business and I think he feels the same way.  It is a good experience for both of us and our teams."
They have already met as opponents a few times during the USHL regular season, but now the friends are playing for something more, which includes bragging rights when the players head back to southern California after the Clark Cup Finals.  Following the series, they will soon see each other again on the ice as they continue to skate together at least once a week during offseason training sessions. 
"Playing against Brandon is a cool experience, but you definitely don't want to be the loser out of this competition," said Francis.  "Whoever wins this series is going to be the 'big man' with all the buddies back in California.  It definitely gives you that little extra fire in the belly."
Although Lazano has since moved away from southern California, the former peewee coach still keeps in contact with the two USHL players by sending notes of encouragement and text messages.
"Both of them are great kids and the kind you want to coach and keep in touch with," said Lazano.  "I couldn't have coached a couple of better kids and I wish them both the best of luck."

Force look for the sweep in front of a SELL-OUT crowd

The Fargo Force sold out their reserved seat tickets today at 11:00am and they will look to bring home the Clark Cup in front of a capacity crowd of 5,000 on Friday night at the Urban Plains Center. 

There are still General Admission tickets available.

Along with the possibility of winning the Clark Cup and doing it in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,000, the Force are treating fans with yet another $1 night - that is $1 hot dogs, beer and pop!  See you at the Urban Plains Center on Friday night and don't forget to BRING YOUR BROOMS!

Ryan Massa and Nate Condon links

Here is a story done by Fargo Hockey Examiner, Tim How on Fargo Force goaltender Ryan Massa.

Colorado Avalanche prospect and Fargo Force all-star Nate Condon is featured in the Colorado Avalanche Farm Report and an article done by Craig Stancher at the Colorado Avalanche website.  Check that article out here.

Videos from Game Two

Even Kevin Allen of the USA Today has written about the goal scored by goaltender Ryan Massa.  Check out his blog entry here.

Massa, Force take Game Two 4-1

Photo courtesy of mJoy Photography -->

The Fargo Force were led once again by goaltender Ryan Massa and picked up two big road wins to start the Clark Cup Finals in Green Bay.  Massa stopped 31 Gambler shots and even added an empty net goal late to put the exclamation point on the Force win.

Colten St. Clair added his second goal in the last two games on a slap shot that found Summerhays' 5-hole to give the Force a 1-0 lead in the 1st period.  St. Clair was assisted on the goal by future Minnesota Golden Gopher Nate Schmidt.

Green Bay tied the game quickly to start the second period but Fargo answered 5:13 later on a jab at a loose puck by John Stampohar.  Stampohar was assisted by Joe Rehkamp.  Garrett Allen gave the Force an insurance goal on the power play after wristing the puck over Green Bay goaltender on a feed from Matt Leitner. 

The game would remain 3-1 after a couple of close calls for Green Bay in the second and third period with a shot that rang the post in the second and a high sticking call that led to a "no goal" call in the third that upset the Gamblers' announcer.  Later in the third period, with the Green Bay net vacated, Ryan Massa would score an empty netter to put the icing on the cake.  Massa celebrated Teemu Selanne style after his goal which is a rare feat for any goaltender and deserving of a celebration but he was whistled for excessive celebration on the play.  Green Bay fans, announcer and goaltender Steve Summerhays took exception to Massa's celebration as the announcer and fans were livid and GB goaltender Summerhays apparently challenged Massa to no avail (according to the Gamblers' radio announcer). 

It definitely might make for another interesting homestand in Fargo at the Urban Plains Center.  I don't see why everyone has beef with Massa celebrating.  A goalie scoring an empty netter is a once in a lifetime feat, give him a break.  Not only did he score a goal, but it was also a goal in a championship series...  Very deserving of a celebration (Teemu Selanne style shown below).