Force Win Fifth Game In A Row
Force Beat the Stars 4-1
FARGO, N.D. — (Fargo Force PR) Fargo got better as the game went on tonight as it clinched a series sweep of the Lincoln Stars with a 4-1 win at Scheels Arena. Tyler Johnson stopped 29 of 30 shots he faced to earn his first win in a Force uniform against his former team and Hank Crone scored twice in the final two minutes to help secure Fargo’s fifth straight win.
“I thought Lincoln played a great game from start to finish tonight,” head coach Cary Eades said. “They had us on our heels for the first 25 or 30 minutes of the game. We had a couple of key penalty kills there in the second period and we were able to spring Russell out of the penalty box for a breakaway that got us the tying goal and then played a really strong third period.”
It took a period or so for the Force to get into the game, and they found themselves trailing by a goal after Lincoln struck first in the opening period, but Fargo finally got on the board in the second when Daniel Russell hopped out of the sin bin, took a pass from Libor Zabransky, and converted on a breakaway to tie the game at a goal apiece.
It was the 17-year-old’s second goal of the season in his 20th game played for the Force. Zabransky now has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) in 11 games with the Force and Jake Harrison picked up his 10th point of the year with an assist on the play.
Goaltender Tyler Johnson, who made his debut for the Force tonight after being acquired from Lincoln late in January, held the Stars to just one goal to keep the Force in the game before the goal and didn’t let up once the Force took hold later.
“What a great debut by him against his old team,” Eades said. “I thought he was the difference in the game. Their goaltender played well additionally, but at 1-0 they had a lot of chances and when we put it to 2-1 in the third they had four or five great chances. He really had great rebound control. Big win for Tyler.”
After tying the game in the second, the Force came out fast to start the third. Tanner Vescio scored his third goal of the season a minute and 10 seconds into the final frame to give the Force their first lead of the game. Ben Meyers and Josh Nodler added assists on the eventual game-winning goal.
Hank Crone took advantage of an empty net down the stretch to score his second goal of the weekend with 1:13 left in regulation, but he wasn’t done just yet. Crone put an exclamation mark on the game when he opened the five-hole of a replaced Lincoln goalie and slipped the puck into the net with 39 seconds left on the clock for his second goal of the game and third of the weekend. The Texan has five goals in his past four games.
Fargo killed off a penalty and held the Stars at bay down the stretch to secure the sweep and continue their strong play in February. So far this month the Force have secured 11 of a possible 12 points in six games.
“We need to continue to grow,” Eades said. “Last night we were great offensively but we made some mistakes defensively. I though we shortened those up today and played a lot smarter, played a lot better, and we were rewarded for it.”
The Force move to 24-15-4 for the year and now sit just one point behind Des Moines for fourth place in the Western Conference with two games in hand. Fargo will travel to Sioux City on Tuesday for a single game before heading to Omaha and Lincoln next weekend. The Force will return to Scheels Arena Mar. 1-2 when they face off with the Waterloo Black Hawks.