The 2019-20 USHL season was officially cancelled on March 18th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite an unexpected end to the season, the Force closed the season in second place in the USHL Western Conference standings.
The Force moved ahead of the Omaha Lancers, as the USHL made the decision to base standings and the 2020 USHL Draft order on win percentage over points earned. Fargo had a winning percentage of .625, while Omaha finished with .620. The change comes in correlation with the season’s early finish, which created teams having an unequal amount of games played at the point of the cancellation.
Scheels Arena and the Fargo Force welcomed 75,427 fans through the doors this season. The Force continue to hold the second highest average fan attendance total in the USHL for the second consecutive year. With the average attendance of 3,429 per game and four consecutive sell-out games in February, fans helped the Force achieve an over 3,000 fan per game threshold for the 12th consecutive season.
On the ice, the team had a record of 27-15-4-2, earning the them a total of 60 points in the shortened season. After surviving a rash of injuries in December and January, the Force’s overall heath and season improved.
"By moving up in the standings and having a 7-0-1 record in our final eight games, we showed we were poised to finish the season on a strong note. We proved we were one of the favorites to potentially go on a long run in the Clark Cup playoffs - we were a big, strong team that was hard to play against,” said General Manager and President of Hockey Operations, Cary Eades. “First-year Head Coach, Pierre-Paul Lamoureux, Associate Head Coach Eli Rosendahl, and Assistant Coach Chad Demers all did a great job in improving the team throughout the season. We're very proud of the way they developed our players - on and off the ice.
Force standout forward and assistant captain, Lynden Breen, ended the season 15th in the USHL with the most points overall. His 48 points were divided among 18 goals and 30 assists, which also placed him in first in Force goals, assists, and total points. The Grand Bay-Westfield, NB, native was awarded the Ace Brandt MVP award for the work and dedication that he put into the season.
Defensemen Brian Kramer and Austin Crossley also earned player awards; as they were co-winners of the John Noah Outstanding Defenseman award. Kramer, a USHL rookie, contributed on both ends of the rink. He accumulated 19 points (3g, 16a) in 34 games after returning from an injury early in the season. Crossley, a Fort St. John, BC, native was acquired by the Force earlier this season from the WHL. As one of the most feared defenders in the league, he skated in 39 Force games and tallied eight points (2g, 6a) in additional to a whopping 155 penalty minutes.
Rookie goaltender Cole Brady played the majority of minutes between the pipes, and placed third in the league overall for goaltender wins, with 21 wins in 39 games. The Pickering, ON, native was the only USHL rookie goaltender on the list of top five goalies with the most wins. He ended the season with a 2.79 GAA (9th in the USHL) and a .903 SVS% (9th in the USHL). Last June, Brady was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in the 5th round (127th overall).
Breen, Kramer and Crossley were among several players to receive awards from the organization this season. 2019-2020 Fargo Force player award winners:
Ace Brandt MVP – Lynden Breen
Reggie Morelli Outstanding Forward – Kaden Bohlsen
John Noah Outstanding Defenseman – Brian Kramer and Austin Crossley
Tom Clifford Leadership & Dedication – Ondrej Pavel
Chad Johnson Community Service – Cedric Fiedler
IronMan – Joe Dunlap
Rookie of the Year – Tristan Broz and Noah BecKMost
Improved Player – Mason Salquist
This season, the Force extended their tradition of combining hockey and community with their Honor Flight, Hometown Heroes, Sanford Children’s, and Dash-4-Cash promotional nights. In total, the organization raised over $70,000 for the organizations associated with each promotion. Popular community promotion, Cully’s Kids Night, was postponed due to the season cancellation.
The 2019-20 Fargo Force team extended their community outreach by participating in over 70 total man hours this season. This included events with Fargo Youth Hockey, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, The Fargo Force Reading Program, Minnesota Special Hockey, and more. In addition to these events, the team made hospital visits, worked with non-profits, and made many classroom appearances throughout the year.
Stay tuned to the Fargo Force website and social media for any updates throughout the off-season.