Tonight the Force took on the Stampede for the third time this season. In their first match up of the season, Fargo earned their first win. The second time the Force took on the Stampede they fell to them while on the road. Tonight’s game would break the split and put the Force up two games to one in the series match up so far this season.
The Force came out of the gate fired up ready take on Head Coach Cary Eades’ former team. The first period of play was evenly matched with low shots on goal as each team vigorously defended their net, neither team allowing a goal, ending the first all locked up 0-0.
The second period started out with less physical and more strategic play as the Force appeared to be more thoughtful about setting up plays. However at 21:06 in the second, the Stampede’s Lawton Courtnall scored a rebounded goal assisted by Joe Rutkowski and Eric MacAdams. The Force answered back with endless shots on goal, outshooting the Stampede 28-16 at the end of the second, until they finally broke through Stefanos Lekkaas’ brick wall. Hank Crone received a pass from Shane McMahan and Brody Stevens, faked and paused on his shot causing the Stampede’s goalie to dive for the puck as Crone lifted it into the top right corner of the net sending the two teams into the second tied up 1-1.
Sioux Falls came back for blood in the third firing a shot right into the cross bar two minutes into the period. Play in the third was back and forth with several turnovers forcing both teams to make plays up and down the ice. Fargo continued to press on Sioux Falls piling on the shots, just as they did in the second. At 16:54 in the third Jack Adams found the sweet spot again, and scored a goal in the same top right corner as Crone’s goal, sending the Stampede’s goalie diving for the puck once again. Following that goal, victory appeared to be near for Fargo but with 25 seconds left in regulation Sioux Falls scored a reviewed goal to bring the Force and the Stampede into overtime. After seven minutes of play neither team was able to capitalize forcing a three player shootout.
After two rounds, Sioux Falls and Fargo were tied at one score each. Zach Yon was the last shooter and needed to score to give his team the win. He notched the game winning goal sending the fans to their feet and the team to the ice. Ending the game and sixty eight minutes of play with a 3-2 win for the Fargo Force.
Head coach Cary Eades was happy with his player’s performance and called tonight a big win on many counts. He said the Force needed a win at home, were playing a conference rival and were coming off of two losses on the road. Eades believed that everyone who played had important contributions and that all players did a stand up job in tonight’s battle, overcoming adversities outside of their control. The Fargo Force kept their heads after losing the lead with twenty five seconds of play. Captain Austin Pooley calmed the bench and told his teammates to dismiss their frustration and keep pushing on and that’s exactly what they did.
The Fargo Force are on the road taking on Madison and Waterloo and will return home December 18th and 19th to take on Sioux Falls once again and Sioux City! Tickets are available at the Scheels Arena Box Office, tickets300.com, or the Tickets300 location on Broadway. Box office hours are Monday-Friday 11:00am-6:00pm.