The Clark Cup Playoffs returned to Scheels Arena tonight for Game 3 between the Force and Waterloo. With the Force trailing this best-of-5 series, 2-0, this game was a must win to keep Fargo’s playoff dreams alive.
The teams would go back and forth throughout the majority of the first period, exchanging chances at both ends of the ice. Waterloo would finally cash in when Mason Palmer found Jackson Cates all alone in the slot. Cates would snap a shot past Force goalie Ryan Bischel to put Waterloo on top 1-0. Despite a late chance from Jack Adams, Cates’ tally would prove to be the lone goal of the period, giving the Black Hawks the 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Waterloo came out fast at the start of the second period pressuring the Force, but Bischel was up for the task, shutting the Black Hawks down and keeping the score 1-0. Fargo did not go without chances of their own, but came up empty handed. Fargo would head in to the final period still trailing Waterloo by the score of 1-0.
Waterloo would double their lead early in the final period when Shane Bowers slid a puck past Bischel, extending the Black Hawks’ lead to 2-0. Fargo would put some pressure on Waterloo, but Beydoun stood tall, stopping everything that came his way throughout the final period. The Black Hawks would add a late empty net goal to seal the game and the series win both, 3-0.
Head coach Cary Eades commends Waterloo on their effort throughout this playoff series and knows momentum could have turned with just a single bounce.
“I thought Waterloo played well,” Eades said. “It was a series of momentum and obviously the first game was key and they were able to make a comeback and win [Game 1] in overtime and grab the early series lead. I thought both teams were emotionally drained tonight. There were tired minds and tired bodies on both sides tonight, we couldn’t buy a goal. Robbie [Beydoun] was good, [Ryan] Bischel was also outstanding but we just couldn’t find a way tonight.”
This was a successful year for Fargo, making the Clark Cup Playoffs since the 2012-13 season and have multiple records broken by players including Jack Adams setting the new franchise record for goals in a single season (37), Blake Lizotte tallying the most assists in a single season (46) and Matt Murray finishing the season with the most wins in a single season (30).
Thank you to the best fans in the USHL for another great season and we can't wait to see you back next season!