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SMIRNOV LEADS FORCE TO SHOOTOUT VICTORY

By Kelsey Helland, 03/21/15, 11:15PM CDT

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The Fargo Force defeated the Omaha Lancers 5-4 in a shootout in front of a sold out crowd at Scheels Arena.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the fellas,” Head Coach John Marks said.

The Lancers were the first team on the board when Nick Rivera got the puck past Force goalie Robbie Beydoun 4:33 into the game and put Omaha up 1-0.

With 14:24 to play in the first, Nash Worden from Omaha was called for boarding, putting the Force on the power play. With 26 seconds remaining in the power play, Zach Yon tied the game up for the Force. Sean Mostrom and Colton Poolman assisted the goal.

Fargo got their first lead of the game 57 seconds into the second period. Denis Smirnov grabbed the puck from behind the net and snuck it right past Omaha’s goalie Kris Oldham. Jake McLaughlin and Chuck Bennis assisted the goal.

The lead did not last more than half the period when Steven Spinner scored on the power play at the 13:44 mark to tie the game 2-2.

Omaha was quick to take over the lead when Brian Williams scored on Robbie Beydoun with 8:49 to play.

The Lancers scored again just 31 seconds later to take the lead to 4-2, which resulted in Mathias Israelsson replacing Beydoun in net for the Force. The Lancers’ goal came from Josh French.

The Force led in shots on goal 31-16 after the second period.

Fargo came out the third period ready to take down the Lancers.

Omaha was called for a penalty 1:32 into the period and one minute into the Force power play Denis Smirnov scored for the Force to pull them within one point of the Lancers.

Just one minute after that, Dixon Bowen took a shot on goal and got his own rebound and shot it again, this time getting the puck into the net to tie the game up 4-4 with 15:32 remaining in the third period.

“Down 4-2 and we come back in the third,” Marks said. “We took it too them and it’s kind of a sign of the things to come for the future of this team.”

The Force denied the Lancers a shot on goal until 13:43 was left to play in the third.

The score stayed 4-4 throughout the rest of the regulation and forced overtime.

The Lancers had two shots on goal in overtime and the Force had one but the score remained 4-4 and sent the game to a shootout.

Kyle Sylvester and Denis Smirnov both scored in the shootout for the Force and Mathias Israelsson denied both shots he faced to give the Force the victory.

“I know the fans have been patient and I hope they stay patient because we’re not out of it yet for this year but also next year, look out!” Marks said.

The Force hit the road for four games against Sioux Falls, Tri-City and Sioux City. They return home on April 4th to face Omaha again.

Tickets can be purchased at the Scheels Arena Box Office, open Monday through Friday 11 AM – 6 PM, online at www.tickets300.com, or by calling 701-364-3672.