The Fargo Force (6-11-2-1; 15pts) split the weekend with the Des Moines Buccaneers (7-9-2-1; 17pts) with a 4-2 loss on Friday night and a 4-3 win on Saturday.
Des Moines kicked off the scoring on Friday with just under 5 minutes left to play in the first with a goal from Sully Scholle assisted by Joshua Barnes and Paul Davey. With 2:34 left in the opening frame the Force tied it back up at 1’s off a powerplay goal from Brett Link assisted by Cole Knuble and Trevor Griebel.
The Buccs dominated the second period outshooting Fargo 12-3 and scoring a powerplay goal at 18:57 to secure a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame.
Des Moines scored early in the third with a goal from Tanner Latsch at 1:41 giving them a 2-goal lead with just over 18 minutes left to play. Force forward Kyle Smolen answered back with an unassisted goal at 9:11 cutting the Buccs lead to one with just under 11 minutes left to play. An empty netter with seven seconds left sealed the W for Des Moines as they took game one of the series 4-2.
Game two of the series kicked off with a Force goal at 4:38 into the first period. Cooper Gay fired home his second goal of the season on a breakout, snapping one in top left side as he passed the right faceoff dot. He was assisted by Kyle Smolen and Max Smolinski. Bret Link followed that up with his third shorthanded goal of the season at 10:43 in the first. Andre Gasseau picked off a pass on the Buccaneers blue line creating a 2 on 0 shorthanded scoring opportunity. He passed it over to Link in front of the crease who chipped it in nearside for his 5th goal in as many games. Des Moines scored a pair of goals in the last two minutes of the first to tie the game at 2-2 as the opening frame ended.
Force newcomer German Yavash started the scoring early in the second with his first USHL goal just a minute and 34 seconds into the period. He fired one in glove side on the powerplay off a pass from Erik Bargholtz. A minute later the Buccs tied it up once again thanks to a top shelf snipe from Tanner Lastch. In his 100th game with the Fargo Force it was Kyle Smolen who netted the game winner with 4:25 left to play in the second. He redirected in a blue line shot from Mason Langenbrunner to give the Force a 4-3 lead they’d keep for the remainder of the game.
The Force are back on the road next weekend for two games at the Ice Box vs. the Lincoln Stars. Then they return to Fargo on the 16th and 17th for Cully’s Kids Night and Corgi Races! Visit www.ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets.