A shorthanded roster plus a two-goal deficit just 9:32 into the opening period couldn’t hold the Force Force (4-7-1-2) down as they rallied back with two goals in the second and third periods for a big 4-2 win over the Lincoln Stars (10-4-1-0).
Force forward Cole Knuble led the charge for Fargo, tying up the game in the second and firing in the go-ahead goal in the third. Louden Hogg backstopped the Force tonight against a powerful Stars offence shutting the door in the second and third periods and saving 25/27.
Lincoln started the scoring early in the first with a goal from Yu Sato just 2:20 into the opening frame. He followed that up with a second goal just over seven minutes later giving the Stars a 2-0 lead at 9:32 in the first period.
The teams exchanged a handful of chances throughout the remaining 10 minutes of the period but neither netminder let anything by. The Stars outshot the Force in the opening frame 15-7.
2:47 into the second period the Force headed to their first powerplay of the game. As the penalty expired Jakob Stender sent a crossing pass to Bryan Huggins who sniped it in top left corner for his first USHL goal and the first Force goal of the night 4:50 into the second period.
A tripping call against Lincoln sent the Force on their second powerplay opportunity of the game at 9:40 in the second. With under a minute remaining on the man advantage University of Arizona commit Kyle Smolen entered the puck in the zone. He maneuvered through three Lincoln defensemen and sent a backhanded pass to Knuble who flipped it in near side tying up the game at 2-2. The Force outshot the Stars in the second frame 11-4.
The Force carried their momentum into the third with a goal just under 6 minutes into the period. Heavy traffic in front of the net distracted Stars netminder Kaidan Mbereko giving Cole Knuble a wide-open net to burry a pass from Felix Gavars.
With a 3-2 lead the Force exchanged blows with the Stars for the majority of the final frame. With 1:11 remaining Lincoln pulled their goaltender and sent a 6th attacker onto the ice but Force forward Bret Link took advantage of a loose puck in the neutral zone with 17 seconds left, giving the Force a 4-2 win and snapping Lincoln’s 5 game winning streak.
The Force look to add two more points in Sioux Falls tomorrow night in their first faceoff against the Stampede of the 2021-22 season at 6:05pm CT.