The Force concluded their preseason last night in Sioux Falls with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stampede. Even with last night's loss the Force recorded the best preseason record in the USHL going 3-0-0-1 in league games and 5-0-0-1 in all of preseason.
The Force kicked off the year with two scrimmages vs. the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL in early September. It was a strong start to the preseason as Fargo came away with a 3-2 win and a 5-1 win, setting the tone for the weeks to come.
The following weekend the team headed to Sioux City for the 2021 USHL West Preseason Shootout. In game one of the weekend they faced off against the Des Moines Buccaneers for the first league official game of the preseason. It was a strong showing for the Force taking home a 3-2 win with goals from Charlie Lurie (24) , Tyson Gross (26) and Cole Knuble (22) as well as a 6/6 penalty kill performance.
In game two of the weekend the Force had another strong showing picking up a 5-2 win over the Waterloo Blackhawks. Goal scorers included Charlie Lurie (24) x2 both in the first; followed by Felikks Gavars (25) Tyson Gross (26) and Tyler Rollwagen (12). Fargo outshot Waterloo 29-14 and had another impressive PK showing this time going 4/5.
After going 2-0 at the USHL West Preseason Shootout the Force headed back to Fargo for two games against the Stampede the following weekend. Friday night's game at Farmers Union Insurance Center was a dominant performance by the home team.
The Force took a 1-0 lead midway through the first thanks to a goal from Jakob Stender (6) off a beautiful pass through the crease from Gasseau (4).
Force veteran Kyle Smolen (17) was the first to score in the second after intercepting a puck on the PK and taking on the SF netminder 1v1, he netted the Fargo's first official SH goal of the pre-season. Andre Gasseau (4) followed that up just over a minute later ripping one in far side off a feed from Braccini (21). 1:20 later the Stampede added their only tally of the night bringing the score to 3-1 but it wasn't long before the Force extended their lead even further. Cole Knuble (22) lit the lamp next, off a shot from the top of the left circle, bringing the Force's lead to 4-1. Then with 4:46 left to play in the period Felikks Gavars scored Fargo's 5th and final goal of the game. He battled his way down the ice past three Stampede defensemen to give the Fargo a 5-1 victory. While there was no scoring in the third the Force showed their talent on the PK going 6/6 once again and outshooting their opponents 36-23.
Saturday, September 18th the Force headed to Sioux Falls for the final game of the 2021 preseason. The two teams were locked in at zeros until 3:54 in the second period when Sioux Falls scored the first goal of the game. The Stampede added another early in the third giving themselves a 2-0 lead with 15:48 left to play. Then at 10:54 in the final frame Charlie Lurie (24) got things going for the Force with a powerplay goal assisted by Gasseau (4) and Griebel (5). With 5:39 left in regulation Jake Braccini (21) tied up the score at 2-2 sending the teams into overtime. Both netminders were brick walls in the 5 minute overtime sending Fargo and Sioux Falls to their first shootout of the season. The Stampede came away with a 3-2 win thanks to a goal from Sam Harris in the second round of the shootout. Even with the SO loss the Force recorded the best preseason record in the USHL going 3-0-0-1 in league games and 5-0-0-1 in all of preseason.
The Force kick off the regular season on Saturday, September 25th at 4:30 PM CT vs the Chicago Steel, followed by a game vs. the Team USA 18's on Sunday, September 26th at 1:00 PM CT. All games will be streamed via HockeyTV.