Scheels Arena was a full house with a sellout crowd for tonight’s match up between the Fargo Force and the Waterloo Black Hawks for the fifth time this season. Before tonight’s game the Force were 0-4 against Waterloo but this evening’s game was the Force’s turn to come out on top. At 1:59 in the first Carson Musser snagged the first goal of the night, assisted by Cole Gallant and Charlie Gerard.
The first goal was only the tip of the iceberg as the Force notched two more simultaneous goals before the end of the first. The second goal of the game was scored by Blake Lizotte, assisted by Denis Smirnov and Hank Crone and the third was scored by Hugo Reinhardt, assisted by Nolan Schaeffer. The Force went into the third with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
The Force carried their fast, tactical play into the second. At 1:43, the Force’s leading scorer Denis Smirnov broke away to score a shorthanded, unassisted goal putting the Force up 4-0. The Force’s defense also had a fantastic game only allowing Waterloo 25 shots on goal while the Force had 38. Waterloo battled back but were unable to get on the board in the second.
The Force’s momentum rolled on into the third. At 10:53 Denis Smirnov and Blake Lizotte set Charlie Gerard up to score and Gerard capitalized, giving the Force an impressive 5-0 lead. With 55 seconds left in regulation the Force did it again as Brad Belisle notched his first USHL goal, assisted by Tommy Miller and Hugo Reinhardt. The final score was Fargo 6, Waterloo 0, allowing the Force a big shutout victory.
Head Coach Cary Eades attributes tonight’s win to taking advantage of power-play opportunities, excellent puck management and puck pressure, as well as great team defense. Eades also made it clear that although tonight’s win was impressive it is only one win and the consistency needs to continue.
Tomorrow night the Black Hawks will be back at Scheels Arena in an attempt for retribution. Tomorrow night’s game is also the third annual Hometown Heroes night, courtesy of Cross Insulation. The team will be wearing specialty military jerseys that will be auctioned off live following the game, with all proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. Two military printed game worn helmets will also be available in the auction. Tickets are available at the Scheels Arena Box Office open Saturday at noon, on tickets300.com, or at the Tickets300 location on Broadway.