Tonight’s matchup between the Fargo Force (14-7-2-0; 30pts.) and the Des Moines Buccaneers (11-9-2-0; 24pts.) was a close one the whole way through. The Bucs broke a 2-2 tie with a shorthanded goal only 25 seconds into the 2nd period and they added an empty net goal in the last minute of regulation as Des Moines earns a 4-2 win over the Force in night one of the two game series.
The Force saw two power play opportunities early in period one but couldn’t come away with a goal in either. It was the Buccaneers who were first on the board with a goal from Lucas Mercuri. He managed to sneak a shot past Boynton off a rebound from Matt Choupani. It wasn’t long before Fargo responded with a goal of their own. With 5:53 remaining in the period Huglen took the puck from the Force blue line and deked past 2 defenders, before slipping one in 5-hole, tying it up at 1-1. 15 seconds later Des Moines caught the Force off guard giving themselves a wide-open look at the net and taking back the lead. Then, with two minutes remaining the Force lit the lamp once again. A soccer like back-and-forth between Huglen and Broz, two future Gophers, gave Huglen room for a shot, bringing the score to an even 2-2 to end the period.
Period two did not start the way the Force were hoping. Although they were granted a power play just 9 seconds into the second, it was Des Moines who managed to score. Laferriere managed to get behind his man and score a shorthanded goal to put the Buccaneers up 3-2. Which is how the score remained until 19:08 in period three.
The third period saw opportunities for scoring on both sides but neither team could make anything happen until late in the period. With 2:05 remaining the Buccaneers sent one to the penalty box giving Fargo a man advantage and the chance they had been looking for. With under a minute remaining the Force pulled their goalie to add an extra man to the offense. Then an unfortunate redirection of the puck made its way to a Des Moines player who fired it into the empty Fargo net. Tonight’s final score, 4-2 Bucs. The Force are back for a rematch tomorrow night at Scheels Arena, puck drop at 6:05 PM.