The Fargo Force forced extra time for the 4th time in just 5 home games. The Force have come away with 3 of those 4 as a win, tonight included. They won 3-2 in a shootout over the Waterloo Black Hawks in front of 3,179 fans Friday night at Scheels Arena.
“It was a great effort, a great two points, we’ll take it,” Force head coach John Marks said. “Every win at this point in time is just as big as they are in February or March.”
Both teams were scoreless in the first period but it was not short of action. The Force had a 2-on-0 breakaway led by Austin Pooley but Black Hawks goalie Hayden Lavigne shut him down with a quick save with 15:11 to play. 4 minutes later in the period, Waterloo had a close shot on goal when Brock Boeser hit the pipe and the puck was deflected out. Black Hawk defender #29 Alec McCrea was called for interference with 7:11 to play. The Force gave it their all on the power play and had 5 shots on goal all coming within 27 seconds of play. Denis Smirnov, who is leading the Force in points with 7 this season, had 3 of the 5 shots.
The second period seemed to be going in the Black Hawks’ favor after Rem Pitlick scored just 3:43 in with an assist from Brandon Montour. The Force had a 3-on-1 opportunity but came away unsuccessful. Fargo was successful, however, when they killed off 3 Black Hawk power play opportunities. The turnaround came with just 37 seconds remaining in the period. Fargo’s Chuck Bennis had a shot on goal that was deflected by Waterloo goalie, Lavigne, right to Fargo forward Austin Pooley, who then shot the puck and scored to tie the game up 1-1. Assists on the goal came from both Chuck Bennis and Dixon Bowen.
Third period looked as though it was coming and going until a minor penalty was called against Black Hawk forward Brendan Shane putting Fargo on a power play with 8:30 remaining in regulation. One and a half minutes later, another penalty was called against the Black Hawks, this time on Brock Boeser. The Force then called a timeout in hopes of having success in a two-man advantage. This was not the case, but TJ Roo came through with just 2:52 remaining in the game. This put Fargo up 2-1. But, with 45 seconds left, Force player Mike Babcock was charged with a 2 minute minor and 10 minute major penalties for checking from behind. The Force could not hold the Black Hawks off, allowing a goal scored by Tom Novak with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, tying the game up at 2 a piece.
“To give up the goal we did when they tied it was just the people on the ice not aware of what was going on,” Marks said.
Overtime was back and forth action with neither team scoring but four shots came from Fargo and just one from Waterloo. Fargo had one power play opportunity but were not successful, forcing a shootout.
Force goalie Mathias Israelsson stopped both shootout attempts that came at him, while Kyle Sylvester and Denis Smirnov both scored for Fargo.
With the win, the Force (6-2-1) are now tied with Des Moines for second place in the Western Conference and are just two points behind Sioux City.
The Fargo Force are back in action on October 31st when they travel to Dubuque to take on the Fighting Saints. They return to Scheels Arena November 14th and 15th for a home series against Sioux City.
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.