The Fargo Force shut out the Sioux Falls Stampede 2-0 at Scheels Arena, earning their first victory over the Stampede this season. The win also allowed the Force to clinch sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference.
“I’m really proud of the players,” Head Coach John Marks said. “To travel after last night’s game and come back and play a team that’s rested and had already beaten us a couple of times, it’s really good for us and our confidence.”
The Force battled through two penalties 8 minutes into the first period that put Sioux Falls on a 2-man advantage for about one minute of play. This was the result of penalties being called on Fargo’s Chuck Bennis and Justin Baudry.
Nothing worked for the Stampede and Mathias Israelsson was strong in net for the Force stopping everything that came at him.
Sioux Falls was then called for a penalty, putting Fargo on a power play of their own. 1:45 into the power play and with 6:38 remaining in the first period, Denis Smirnov scored on a one timer from Mason Morelli and Cole Bjugson, giving the Force a 1-0 lead.
“The last few games Smirnov has been on fire,” Marks said.
Smirnov has scored 4 goals in the past 3 games and also has an assist to add to his total of 5 points.
The Force and Stampede exchanged shots throughout the second period but neither team could capitalize on any. Sioux Falls had 9 opportunities compared to the Force’s 4.
Fargo’s power play unit showed up again in the third period after Stampede forward Cooper Marody was called for an elbowing penalty.
With just two seconds remaining in the power play, Force defenseman Sean Mostrom scored his first career USHL goal to give the Force the 2-0 lead.
“It’s really exciting,” Mostrom said. “I’m really happy that I could help out the team tonight.”
TJ Roo and Colton Poolman assisted Mostrom’s power play goal that ended up being the game winner.
Israelsson was dominant in the net earning his first shutout of the season after stopping all 24 shots that came at him.
The Force have a break in home action until they return to Scheels Arena on December 31st for a New Years Eve game. This game will have a 6:05 start time.
Tickets can be purchased at the Scheels Arena Box Office, online at www.tickets300.com, or by calling 701-364-3672.