Fargo Force Score Three in First, Down Dubuque
Force improve to 28-15-3 with 63 points.
FARGO, N.D. (Fargo Force) — The Force scored three goals in a dominant first period on their way to a 3-1 win over the visiting Dubuque Fighting Saints in front of 3500 fans at Scheels Arena on Friday night.
“That’s the key to the win,” head coach Cary Eades said. “Come out and assert yourself on home ice and build a lead. I thought they fought back and played very well in the second and third, but we did enough things to win the hockey game.”
Ben Meyers stretched his goal streak to six games with the game’s opening goal and added an assist later on. Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup scored his team leading 23rd goal of the season in the first period, his first goal at Scheels Arena since Nov. 17 of last year.
Meyers opened the scoring with a one-time bullet from the bottom of the left circle off a pass from the corner by William Fallstrom. Meyers has scored goals in six straight and eight of his last ten games. Sammy Steele also assisted on the goal at 8:12 of the opening period as the Force grabbed a 1-0 lead.
“We try to have a start like that every game,” Meyers said, “so we’re super pumped to start that way tonight.”
The Meyers-Fallstrom-Steele line has 19 points in their last five games.
“They’re being very consistent and they move their feet,” Eades said. “The first goal of the game really changed the momentum. I thought Dubuque carried the first four or five minutes of the game. They had a couple scoring chances and that was probably our first good chance. Feet moving in the offensive zone, puck moving, and Ben can bury it. That was a high level goal and it was a difference maker.”
Two minutes later, it was Meyers again setting up a Fargo scoring chance, this time dishing it to Grant Hebert, who deked out Fighting Saints goaltender Cole Weaver before slotting home his 13th goal of the year to put the Force up 2-0. Meyers and Griffin Loughran were credited with assists on the play.
Later in the first, Schmidt-Svejstrup brought the Scheels Arena faithful to their feet for the first time in 2018 with his sixth goal since returning to the lineup Feb. 23 against Lincoln. Ty Farmer sprung the Great Dane with a long stretch pass before Schmidt-Svejstrup faked to his backhand and quickly fired a forehand wrister past the outstretched glove of Weaver and into the Dubuque net.
The goal for Schmidt-Svejstrup was his first at home since a two-goal performance Nov. 10 against the Des Moines Buccaneers. He, Griffin Loughran, and Grant Hebert have fallen back into their previous rhythm since Schmidt-Svejstrup’s return.
“They can score,” Eades said, “but we need a more complete game out of them. It wasn’t their sharpest game. It does put some pieces in place for us while we’ve got some guys working to stay in the lineup and competition going on. That makes it tough for the coaches and makes for an honest approach to the game by our team.”
The Fallstrom-Meyers combo has been deadly on the power play all season, but they have recently stepped up their scoring production as a unit to give the Force a measure of extra scoring depth.
“We’ve been feeding off each other, making plays, and things have just kind of been coming together for us,” Meyers said.
The Fighting Saints answered back with a goal in the second period to bring the score to 3-1, but the visitors couldn’t find another goal in the third period. Strauss Mann made 25 saves for his 16th win of the season.
With the win, Fargo moves to 28-15-7 on the year with 10 games remaining in the regular season. The Force remain in fourth place in the Western Conference, one point shy of third place Sioux Falls and three points shy of first place Waterloo and Omaha.
The Force are back in action tomorrow night for a rematch with the Fighting Saints. There will be a special pre-game ceremonial puck drop before tomorrow night’s game with Dave Knudson. Dave is the heart recipient of fallen Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer. In honor of Officer Moszer, come out early for a blue light stick giveaway at the door! Light sticks courtesy of Gate City Bank, Olaf Anderson and Moszer’s family. The game is sponsored by Moe’s Southwest Grill.