Force Split Series with Rival Sioux Falls

Force lose 5-4 Saturday night

FARGO, N.D. — (Fargo Force) Despite clawing back from a two-goal deficit in the third period with three power play goals in the span of two minutes and 26 seconds, the Force found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard in a tight 5-4 loss to the Sioux Falls Stampede Saturday night at Scheels Arena.

Trailing by two goals midway through the second period, it took the Force more than two minutes to capitalize on the extended man advantage, but the power play warmed up quickly after that. Ryan O’Reilly got the scoring started when a textbook pass across the middle from Ben Meyers caught the Stampede defenders out of position and O’Reilly was there waiting on the backdoor to bury his second power play goal of the year at 13:10 of the second. Hank Crone got the second assist on the O’Reilly goal.

Two minutes later it was Ben Meyers with his second power play goal in as many nights when he jammed a shot through the five-hole of Sioux Falls goalie Chad Veltri to tie the game at three goals apiece. Crone got his second assist of the game on the play and Connor Mayer tacked on the second helper.

Meyers got his second goal of the game 36 seconds later when he away a second-chance opportunity from the bottom of the right circle to give the Force the lead for the second time in the game. Josh Nodler and AJ Drobot assisted on the goal at 15:36 of the second period.

“All those guys on the power play are so skilled,” forward Carter Randklev said. “They can make a play at any time. When you put them out in key situations you expect them to make those big plays and tonight they came up huge for us.”

Randklev got the scoring started for the Force when he collected a loose puck in a scramble out front and fired it past a sprawling Veltri for his first goal of the season 13 minutes into the first period. Randklev scored nine points (2-7-9) in 14 games with the Force last season. Nodler had the lone assist on Randklev’s marker.

“We’re just trying to get pucks around the net early and get everyone in front of the net,” Randklev said. “A little greasy one to get things going, but it felt pretty good to find it.”

Sioux Falls tied the game three minutes later when a shot from the left point by Anthony Follmer beat a screened Ryan Bischel and found its way into the top right corner of the net. Tied at one goal apiece after one period, two Stampede goals in 42 seconds midway through the second frame gave the visitors a 3-1 lead before Fargo’s power play barrage began.

A Stampede power play goal — their only score on the man advantage in six tries against the Force defense — two minutes into the third period tied the game and a late score with four minutes left was the difference as Sioux Falls picked up two points from the affair.

“It’s a tough loss, but we’re going to have a good week of practice and come back stronger next weekend,” Randklev said.

The Force go on the road next weekend for a game against the Omaha Lancers and another matchup with the Stampede in Sioux Falls before returning to Scheels Arena on October 18 for a Thursday-Friday series against the Sioux City Musketeers.

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