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Week 23 Preview

By Force Staff, 04/08/21, 4:00PM CDT

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The Force hit the road for two key games this weekend, kicking off with a 7:05 p.m. matchup vs. the Omaha Lancers on Friday night and then a 6 p.m. faceoff in Des Moines vs. the Buccaneers on Saturday. The outcomes of these two games have big playoff implications for all three teams, with the win percentage margin between second and third hovering just below .15 the results of Friday and Saturday’s contests will directly affect all three team’s playoff standings. Not to mention the effect two wins or two losses could have on all of the teams involved; it’s truly a must win weekend on the road for Fargo.

With a disappointing 3-6-1 record in their last 10 games the Force look to turn things around this weekend as the final kick before playoffs begins. Both Fargo’s wins against Omaha so far this season have come on the road, with a 3-1 win back in January and a 5-2 win in mid-March. In both W’s the Force have been the first to score as well, they’ll look to continue that and create some early momentum in Friday night’s matchup as well.

 Fargo and Des Moines have been pretty even against each other all season. After their last matchup on March 11th Des Moines took the upper hand with 2 wins 1 OT win 1 loss and 1 OT loss against the Force. So far this season the Buccaneers have scored four powerplay goals and two shorthanded goals against Fargo. The Force will look to shut down the Buccaneers aggressive offense and come out strong on the PK and PP, to take a win on Saturday night.

Matt Crasa has had some of his biggest point scoring games of the season against the Lancers scoring 4 of his 11 goals against Omaha. Crasa has put up some big minutes for Fargo and will be one to watch in this weekend’s matchups. Defense for Fargo will be huge this weekend as the Force face off against to strong offensive teams. Leading the Force’s defenseman in scoring is Ryan Siedem he’s put up 2 goals and 27 assists so far this season. Tucker Hodgson has been a big player in Fargo’s defensive line as well, playing lots of minutes in the last few games and making some big plays on the defensive end. The Force also welcome Jack Peart back into the lineup after the conclusion of his high school season. Fresh off winning Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award and playing in the Bio-Steel All American Game, Peart is a Force to be reckoned with on the ice and will no doubt have an impact as he works his way back into the swing of things.

Ayrton Martino (18G-35A-53P) was a big contributor in Omaha’s two wins over the Force last weekend. He put up one goal, two assists and is currently averaging 1.61 PPG. In just 33 games with the Lancers Martino has taken over the leading scorer position for Omaha and will likely be a big factor in Friday night’s game. Ryan Lautenbach (12G-37A-49P) has been huge in creating scoring opportunities for Omaha. He tacked on three assists last weekend and currently leads the Western Conference with 37 A’s. Omaha’s main goaltender Jakob Dobes had an outstanding performance in the net against Fargo last weekend. Posting a 33 save shutout on Friday and allowing 3 goals on Saturday. He currently has a 2.57 GAA a .903 SV% and was drafter 5th round by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Des Moines is led by Alex Laferriere and Zach Urdahl, two big offensive players for the Buccaneers both with 21 goals each so far this season. Matt Choupani has been a big player for the Buccs this season as well but has not recorded a point since March 19th.

Following this weekend’s matchups the Force return home for their final two regular season home games against the Waterloo Blackhawks. Puck drop on Thursday and Friday night is at 7:05 PM.