Down 3-0 heading into the second period, the Force battled back to take home a 5-4 OT win over the USNTDP U18’s. A 32 save performance by Force goaltender Anton Castro plus 3 goal second period gave Fargo the momentum they needed to take down Team USA.
The U18’s came out hot in the first finding the back of the net on a breakaway just 18 seconds into the period. They followed that up with two goals from Frank Nazar III midway through the period, one of which was the NTDP’S only PP goal of the game. The Force had a few good looks but couldn’t get anything to land, period one came to a close with a 3-0 NDTP lead.
At 7:55 in the second period the Force added a shorthanded goal for their first tally of the game. After snagging the puck on a rebound off the boards Erik Bargholtz (29) went end to end and fired snuck one past the USA netminder bringing the score to 3-1. Then at 8:18, just :23 seconds after Fargo’s goal the NTDP answered with a goal of their own regaining their three-point lead. With 1:51 left in the second Fargo struck again, this time one the powerplay thanks to a goal from Cole Knuble (22) assisted by Charlie Lurie (24) and Trevor Griebel (5). With :34 seconds remaining Jake Braccini cut Team USA’s lead down to one with a rocket from the right circle, his powerplay goal was assisted by Jake Stender (6). Team USA held on to their one goal lead as the period ended, but the momentum was all with Fargo.
Just over two minutes into the third Force forward Felikss Gavars (25) tied it up off a pass to the top of the crease from Tyson Gross (26). Team USA saw three powerplay opportunities in the third, but Fargo’s PK unit shut them down going 3/3 on the PK in the third and 8/9 in total. Force goaltender Anton Castro (31) was a brick wall in the third, making some unreal saves to keep the remainder of the third scoreless. The Force headed into their second OT of the weekend tied with Team USA at 4’s apiece.
1:53 into the five minute 3 on 3 overtime the same duo that tied up the game ended it. Gavars won a puck battle on the boards creating a 2 on 1 breakaway opportunity. He faked a shot pulling the NTDP defenseman to him and creating a wide-open look for Gross. Gavars spun and passed the puck over to Gross who flipped it up and over the netminder’s right shoulder giving the Force their first win of the 2021-22 season.
The Force continue the regular season on Saturday, October 9th at 6:05 PM for the 2021 Home Opener! Tickets are available at the Scheels Arena box office or can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.