The Fargo Force and Lincoln Stars played a spirited game for the second straight night, but this time the roles were reversed inside Scheels Arena. Lincoln, losers in overtime on Thursday night, won the rematch on a Dominick Sacco overtime goal 3 minutes, 6 seconds into the bonus session. The loss was the first of the season at home for the Force and dropped the team’s overall record to 5-1-1.
“Disappointing to not get two points, but Lincoln played hard and give them a lot of credit,” Force head coach John Marks said after the game. “I thought that we were just very average as far as our jump went, as far as our energy level went.”
The first period was a tight checking one that didn’t have much in the way of scoring chances. Each team threw five shots on goal, but the netminders had no issues steering them away from the blue paint.
“The whole first period we played slow and this team can’t play slow because we aren’t good enough to play slow,” Marks said after the game.
Fargo had the first outstanding sequence of the game about seven minutes into the second period. The team had offensive zone pressure for nearly the full two minutes of a power play, creating at least three top notch scoring chances. Lincoln goalie Cam Hackett and his iron friends to back him kept the Force out of the net during the extended pressure.
Blake Christensen continued his hot weekend with his third goal to give Lincoln the game’s first punch at the 14:49 mark of the third period. Grant Jozefek continued his generous weekend by distributing his third assist against the Force. The goal gave the Stars the lead, but seemed to jump start the Force.
It only took 49 seconds for the Force to deliver a return blow. Cole Bjugson sent a shot on goal from the point and CJ Hayes gobbled up the rebound and slammed it into a yawning net to even the score. For Hayes, it was his second goal of the season in just six games after scoring five times in 51 games last season.
“Goals are scored through traffic or they’re scored off rebounds, deflections, etc,” Marks said. “So, anytime you get pucks to the net it’s what you want.”
The Force had the last great scoring chances of regulation play two minutes after they scored the equalizer. Hackett, a former Green Bay Gambler, was a stone wall once again and the game ultimately went to overtime for a second straight night.
Lincoln solved the puzzle that was Mathias Israelsson one more time to score a 2-1 road victory in overtime. Israelsson finished with 22 saves on the game for Fargo. He has played every minute of every game so far for the Force, with six of those seven games being one-goal decisions.
“[Israelsson] has been good, obviously, we’re 5-1-1,” Marks said. “He’s been good, but also there’s a couple that I think he’d like to have back.”
The Force get a chance to get back in the win column in short order, as they travel to Sioux Falls for a Saturday night contest against the Stampede in their brand new arena on October 18th. It will be the first time this season that Fargo is asked to play three games in three days.
“It’s going to be hard because it’s early and conditioning levels aren’t quite where you want them,” Marks said. “The team we’re playing is going to be home rested and we’ve got to do a little travel.”
The Force return to Scheels Arena on Friday, October 24th when they host the Waterloo Black Hawks at 7:05 PM.
Tickets can be purchased at the Scheels Arena Box Office, open Monday-Friday 11 AM-6 PM, online at www.fargoforce.com, or by calling 701-364-3672.