Garrett Allen started the scoring for the Force with 5:47 left in the second on a rebound that was initially shot by Matt Leitner. Colten St. Clair added a little insurance a little more than a minute later on a rebound flip shot over Green Bay goaltender Steve Summerhays. St. Clair's goal was assisted by Oleg Yevenko. The Force didn't need that insurance with Ryan Massa between the pipes. Massa stopped all 35 Gambler shots on net and Allen's goal would be the eventual game-winner as the Force held on in the third to win the game 2-0 and lead the series 1-0. The Force are back in action tomorrow night and the action will once again be on at the Buffalo Wild Wings locations.
Anyone go to BWWs to watch the game tonight? How was it?
Game One Links
USHL - Game One Recap
Fargo Hockey Examiner Article
Picture by H. Marc Larson - GB Gazette
USHL Clark Cup Finals Preview :: USHL.COM
Two teams remain in the postseason of the United States Hockey League as the Green Bay Gamblers and Fargo Force are set to meet in a best-of-five series to see who will raise the Clark Cup as USHL playoff champions.
Green Bay Gamblers vs. Fargo Force
In just their second USHL season, the Fargo Force make their second straight trip to the Clark Cup Finals, facing the Green Bay Gamblers who have won the Anderson Cup the last two regular seasons. It has been ten years since the Gamblers last reached the Finals (1999-2000), when they won their second Clark Cup in team history.
Goals For Per Game 3.53 (6)
Goals Against Per Game 2.33 (1)
Shots For Per Game 32.37 (3)
Shots Against Per Game 25.33 (1)
Power Play % 13.1% (14)
Penalty Killing % 85.2% (3)
Goals For Per Game 3.78 (tied 2)
Goals Against Per Game 3.57 (9)
Shots For Per Game 33.08 (7)
Shots Against Per Game 28.47 (6)
Power Play % 19.4% (7)
Penalty Killing % 83.9% (7)
12/11/09 – Fargo 2 @ Green Bay 5
3/26/10 – Green Bay 1 @ Fargo 3
4/3/10 –Fargo 1 @ Green Bay 5
Goals For 14
Goals Against 9
Power Play 4-20 (20.0%)
Penalty Kill 17-21 (81.0%)
Schedule - 2010 USHL Clark Cup Finals
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates eighth season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2009-10. With over 220 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 13 NHL Entry Draft picks currently on League rosters, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com.
There is another article in the Fargo Forum from Forum reporter Kerry Collins that is about the Clark Cup Finals between the Fargo Force and the Green Bay Gamblers. Check out the article here.
Here is also a video that was on WDAY with Dom Izzo, Fargo Force goaltender Ryan Massa and head coach Steve Johnson.
Gotta love the coverage the Force have been getting in the playoffs!
Get out to BWWs this weekend and support the Fargo Force!
Fargo jumped on the Lancers quickly once again in the second period thanks to a goal with some nifty stickhandling work by JP Burkemper to regain the Force lead 2-1. Ryan Massa remained in the net for the 2nd period stopping 10 more Omaha shots.
The Lancers got on the board quickly in the third on a tic-tac-toe play on the power play finished off by Troy Power with assists from Ryan Daugherty and Nick Oddo. Chase Grant would answer on a feed from Colten St. Clair less than three minutes later to regain the lead yet again for the Force. Grant's goal would be the eventual game winner after Matt Leitner would net another couple of goals (one empty-netter) to finish off the scoring for the Force and send the Lancers home for the season. Ryan Massa stopped another 10 shots in the third and stopped 27/28 in the 5-2 Force win.
The Force will now compete in their second Clark Cup Finals in their second year in the league. This time they hope the outcome is a little better against the Green Bay Gamblers after losing to the Indiana Ice in four games in the '09 Finals.
I will be running a live blog here tomorrow night for the decisive Game 5 between the Fargo Force and the Omaha Lancers. We didn't do the live blog for Game 4 and we lost, but we did it for Game 3 and won! Hopefully we carry that going into tomorrow night's game to send the Force to the Clark Cup Finals.
Hope to see you all on the blog tomorrow night! It will be unmoderated so fans can chat freely with other fans. I will be providing updates as I watch on the B2 Network.
Well, at least it wasn't a dirty game...
The Force were unable to match the Lancers' intensity for the full 60 minutes and it showed on the scoreboard as Omaha came up with a 6-2 win over the Fargo Force at the Urban Plains Center in Game Four. With the win, Omaha pushed the series to Game 5, with Game 5 going back to Omaha.
Leading the charge for the Lancers was Dakota Eveland with two goals and an assist, Greg Wolfe with a goal and an assist, Troy Power with a goal and an assist, and Ryan Daugherty with a goal and an assist fresh off his one-game suspension. The Force got goals from Chad Demers and Matt Leitner. JP Burkemper, Chase Grant and Garrett Allen added assists for Fargo. Ryan Massa made 18 saves on 23 shots and Dayn Belfour played 4:52 without seeing a shot. Jeff Teglia stopped 18/20 for the Lancers.
The Force will need a much better effort if they plan to make their second straight appearance to the Clark Cup Finals...
I can't make it to the game tonight. Check out Kerry Collins' Fargo Force blog at http://www.areavoices.com/force. He will be doing a live blog.
Fargo was able to hold off a late rally from Omaha to take a win and a lead in the series 2-1 from the Omaha Lancers. The Force won the game 4-3 in front of a crowd of 4,120 after a couple of close calls with under two minutes to go.
Omaha at Fargo for Game 3 of the West Division Finals of the USHL Playoffs. Series is tied 1-1 after the series intensified in Omaha for games one and two.
A response to anyone who may call us classless in Fargo. Some of many birds flipped from the Omaha crowd.
Photo courtesy of mJoy Photography. Be a fan of mJoy Photography on Facebook.
An 18-year-old from St. Cloud, Minnesota, Schmidt posted 37 points (14g, 23a) in 57 regular season games for the Force. He tied for third among league defenseman with 14 goals and was third with 175 shots on goal. The defenseman scored two goals in his USHL debut on October 2, 2009. He collected an assist at the USHL All-Star Game in January. Schmidt will play collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota following his USHL career.
Congratulations to Nate Schmidt!
It's also $1 night at the Urban Plains Center. Beers, pops and hot dogs will be $1 each.
We already know that the intensity of the series have been amplified given what had happened in Omaha over the weekend. Hopefully for everyone's sake it doesn't get out of hand for games three and four on Wednesday and Thursday in Fargo. I hope the players can keep it clean regardless of high emotions, but I hope the games have great playoff intensity.
Win 'em for 18. Go Force!
I think by now everyone knows what happened after this weekend's games but I think it deserves a blog entry regardless. The Force lost game one after some strong goaltending by both Jeff Teglia and Ryan Massa. Massa finished with 29 saves on 31 shots, Teglia stopped all 24 Force shots for the shutout and the 1-0 series lead for Omaha.
EDIT: Suspensions - CJ Ludwig is suspended for 5 games. Ryan Daugherty is suspended for one and Matt Leitner is suspended for one game.
The Force averaged 3,209 fans per game during the regular season – sixth-most in the 14-team USHL.
That makes them the most popular sporting event in town during the winter. North Dakota State men’s basketball averaged 2,792 fans per home game this season.
Last summer, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks minor league baseball team averaged 3,870 fans.
“It can really be a great atmosphere,” said Lance Johnson, general manager of the Urban Plains Center. “It’s so much more positive when you get those big crowds in the building.
“It’s like that 3,500 number is the breaking point. That’s when you really see a change in the place.”
The Force’s average number of fans is pretty much the same as their total from the team’s inaugural season in 2008-09 – when they averaged 3,203 fans.
But that total jumped substantially in the postseason. In last year’s playoffs, Fargo averaged 3,864 fans – tops in the USHL.
“That’s what you want from the playoffs,” Steve Johnson said. “At this time of year, you want to be playing in your own building, and you want that home ice to be an advantage.”
Let's give the Force a little home ice advantage and fill the UP Center for the next series against the Omaha Lancers.
Nick Oliver started the scoring off for the Force in the second period on the power play on a nice tic-tac-toe play from Eamonn McDermott to Corey Leivermann to Nick Oliver who buried it to make it 1-0. Garrett Allen extended the Force lead with a spin-o-rama backhander on a nice feed from Matt Leitner. Matt Bailey would put the Herd on the board on a shot over Massa's glove to cut the Force lead in half.
Chase Grant would finish the game off with an empty netter to make it a 3-1 final with the Force sweeping the series 3-0 and giving the Force a 9-0 all-time record in the West Division playoffs. The Force will now take on the Omaha Lancers in the West Division championship for a chance to get into the Clark Cup finals.
Game 3 of the USHL playoffs. Fargo leads the series 2-0 and goes for the sweep tonight at the Urban Plains Center. Fargo has yet to lose a West Division playoff game (8-0). Check out the live blog below.
- What's it going to take to do well in the playoffs?: Come playoff time you're going to need just about everyone buying into team goals, especially blocking shots, playing with urgency, and playing defense first. Taking care of our end first is how we are going to have to win playoff game, in a grind it out, in your face style of play.
- Who's been stepping up so far in the playoffs?: You know it hasn't just been one guy, I would say our goalies have been playing pretty well for the most part, but our veteran leaders are really starting to take hold of the team and they are getting everyone to buy in and work hard because they know how tough it is to win playoff games... Guys like our captains, and other second year guys.
- Playoff superstitions: There are always superstitions with hockey guys, like not bothering Eamonn on game days, or Oliver making sure we get our fist pounds in before and after every period. There are not a lot of noticeable ones that I know about but every guy has his own routine and it has pretty much stayed the same all year.
- Thoughts on the mohawks: Mohawks! Haha I love them I think they look awesome, but it all started one day last week before practice, Dayn Belfour showed up with his two-tone mohawk, and as a part of one of our team goals, "Everyone Buys In", Chase Grant ordered mandatory mohawks for the team, and contrary to popular belief, a lot of our guys can pull a mohawk off pretty good! haha!
- Playoff hockey: This is my first ever USHL playoffs and first time ever playing in a series style elimination. I love it though, games like last night, and to know the fans and everyone was behind us the whole way really gives us the energy and determination to do those kinds of things like last night. Playoffs are the best time of the year, and last night's game proved it. We came out hard, about as hard as we did on Wednesday, but as soon as we got that first goal we kinda let up on them, and that let them back into the game. After see-sawin' between 2 goal and a 3 goal deficit, we finally pulled it together and played like we knew how to. And that's what it will take tonight, hard work, urgency, good goaltending, and being solid defensively.
The Force used a 4 goal 3rd period to comeback from a 6-3 deficit to defeat the Sioux Falls Stampede 7-6 for a 2-0 opening round series lead. I don't think there is any question that Chase Grant is deserving of the "player of the game" award if there ever was one. If you need more reasons than him having two goals and one assist then how about the game-winning goal or the hard work that drew the penalty that resulted in a power play goal to tie the game 6-6... just to name a few big factors. Yeah, I think that is deserving of a player of the game award. Chase Grant displayed every reason why he is the captain of this hockey team.
Fargo was also led by Corey Leivermann, my 2nd star of the game, with two goals and an assist including the game-tying goal on the power play. Matt Leitner had a goal and an assist and a team-leading +3 for my 3rd star of the game. There were a number of other players that made a big impact in the game. Brian Cooper had a couple of huge hits that probably helped sway momentum in Fargo's favor. Nate Condon had a goal and an assist. Oleg Yevenko had a big goal early in the third to give the Force hope.
The Force overcame a lot of adversity in the game to come back for a 7-6 victory and a 2-0 series lead. Hope to see a lot of people at tomorrow's game.
BYOB - BRING YOUR OWN BROOMS!!!
Video made by Ben Shane and Lars Hegland. Check it out below!
Sioux Falls at Fargo for Game 2 of the USHL Clark Cup playoffs. The Force have never lost a playoff game in the West Division (7-0), they look to continue that tonight against a good SF Stampede team. Puck drops at 7:35pm. Join me for the live blog below:
Sounds like a pretty awkward situation that Chad is getting into with the 2009-10 head coach still being on staff with the Stars. I can't imagine Jimmy McGroarty would be too happy with the demotion. As many people know, Chad's brother Steve (current head coach of the Force) coached in Lincoln from their inaugural season to 2006-07. Chad was an assistant for Steve with the Stars until he got a position in the NAHL with the F-M Jets. Good luck to Chad in Lincoln. Here is the link from Lincoln.
See you at the UP Center.
What four game losing streak? The Fargo Force proved that they weren't too worried about a 4-game losing streak to end the season as they were able to defeat the Sioux Falls Stampede in game one of the opening round of the USHL playoffs by the score of 5-1.
Who are your picks for Fargo Force...
...Top Defenseman? (Can be the top offensive d-man or defensive d-man.)
...Top Forward? (Doesn't have to be the leading scorer!)
...Most Promising Young Player? (Who are the young guys that will make a big impact on future Force rosters?)
Interested in hearing all of your picks for the year!
Make your picks in a comment below...
The Force are featured in the Fargo Forum for getting to the playoffs for the second straight season. Something I didn't realize before I read it is that the Force actually were outscored 10-4 in two losses to close out the season last year. Obviously the Force had success even with backing their way into the playoffs last year, hopefully they repeat that success this year. Check out the link to the article here.
The Sioux Falls Stampede are back in the postseason after missing out last season. The Herd won the Clark Cup in 2006, the Force were runner-ups last year for the Clark Cup. This is Fargo's closest rival so it should be a good first round of playoffs. Check out the video from KSFY-Sioux Falls below. Playoff action begins this Wednesday, April 5th in Sioux Falls.
Former Fargo Force goalie Cody Campbell got in his first USHL fight and had an interview with Kevin Wey of McKeen's Hockey Prospects. The video is below and here is the link for the interview. The good news for Force fans is that Cody Campbell is playing another year for Cedar Rapids which means that the Force gets another 2nd or 3rd round draft pick.
The Force ended their season exactly how they didn't want to end it, with yet another loss to Green Bay pushing their losing streak to 4 games. The new 4-game losing streak is the longest losing streak of the year and it couldn't come at a worse time for the Force going into the USHL playoffs. The Force were able to get some help from Tri-City with their win over Sioux Falls to give Fargo home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs against the Stampede. Fargo will be the number two seed and Sioux Falls will be the number three seed in the West Division.
Johnnie Searfoss scored the lone goal for the Force tonight on the power play. Colten St. Clair assisted on the goal. Jason Goldsmith was the backup tonight and he saw some action stopping 3 shots in just over two minutes in relief of Ryan Massa who gave up 4 goals on 14 shots.
Anyone concerned with the longest losing streak of the season going into the playoffs? Hopefully they think "fresh start" as the begin the second season (playoffs). The Force were lucky enough to get some help from Tri-City to get the crucial home ice advantage. Fargo has been good at home (19-7-4) so getting three games at home will be beneficial.
USHL PLAYOFFS - ROUND 1
Game 1: @ Sioux Falls: Wednesday, April 7: 7:05 PM
Game 3: @ Fargo: Saturday, April 10th: 7:05 PM
Game 4: @ Sioux Falls: Tuesday, April 13th: 7:05 PM, if necessary
Game 5: @ Fargo: Wednesday, April 14th: 7:05 PM, if necessary
Fargo got off to a good start in the first period thanks to two power play goals by Nick Oliver. Both of the Oliver goals were assisted by Matt Leitner and Eamonn McDermott. Both goals were the result of former Force player, Cole Gunner, being sent to the box twice.
Chicago kicked off the 2nd period with a goal of their own from Theo DiPauli. Peter Hand would tie the game up about 10 minutes later. Colten St. Clair would regain the lead for the Force with an assist to Brian Cooper with 2:05 remaining in the period. Former Force player Cole Gunner would even it up once again for the Steel making it 3-3 with 52 seconds remaining in the period.
Matt Leitner would get the Force's third power play goal of the game to make it 4-3 in the 3rd period. Brian Cooper and Ryan Massa assisted. Chicago would then get three unanswered goals to eventually win the game 6-4. University of North Dakota recruit Danny Mattson started the scoring for the Steel tying the game 4-4. Theo DiPauli's second goal of the night was the eventual game-winner with an assist to Cole Gunner for his second point of the night making it 5-4. Darik Angeli would seal the deal with an empty netter with 18 seconds left to make it 6-4.
Ryan Massa stopped 22 of 27. Steel goalie Connor Wilson stopped 40/44 Force shots. The Force are back in action tomorrow night against the Anderson Cup winning Green Bay Gamblers. The Force need the win to guarantee two home games at the Urban Plains Center, so it is a very important match-up.