The Fargo Force were victorious over the Des Moines Buccaneers with a score of 6-3 in front of a crowd of 3,202 at Scheels Arena.
The Force entered tonight’s game holding firmly to second place in the Western Division with a five-point lead over Lincoln after Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Stars. Fargo also pulled within six points on the first place Sioux Falls Stampede.
With just 3:47 off the clock in the first period, the Buccaneers struck first with a goal by Michael Marnell to give Des Moines the early lead. The Force’s Dominic Toninato banked a shot just eight minutes later to even the game up with his sixth goal in five games. Shots on goal through the first period were 9-8 in favor of the Force.
Just shy of half way through the second period, the Bucs took a 2-1 lead with a goal by Corey Schueneman with an assist from Marnell. With a power play goal from Brendan Harms, the Force tied the game up at two a piece with five minutes left to play in the second. Fleming and Iafallo both earned assists on the goal. Neither team was able to take the lead in the remaining minutes of the period and headed into the intermission even at two.
“It was a nice gift. I haven’t scored in awhile and Fleming gave me a nice pass in the slot,” said Brendan Harms.
At 13:30 in the third period, Dave Gust gave the Force their first lead of the game with help from Ortega and Fleming. Less than a minute later the Buccaneers pulled the score back to even with a goal by Willem Nong-Lambert. The Force regained the lead with an unassisted goal from Gabe Guertler, his 29th of the season, and Fargo didn’t hold back after that.
“Our line had a bunch of chances and we didn’t really bury, so it was nice to finally get the go-ahead goal,” said Gabe Guertler.
With just 5:44 remaining in the third period, the Force extended their lead with another goal by Harms, his second of the game. To seal the win, Gage Torrel snagged the unassisted goal in the final minutes. After a back and forth battle, the Force came up big in the third to gain the 6-3 victory.
The line combination of Harms, Iafallo and Toninato has seen successful over the last five games scoring over 20 points collectively, each recording two points during tonight’s game. “We have been working really well together, we have a lot of chemistry and we are good friends off the ice too. We move the puck and that has been giving us success,” said Harms.
Earning two points with tonight’s victory, Fargo remained unchanged in the Western Division races as Sioux Falls and Lincoln both tallied wins as well.
“There are no guarantees, every team plays hard. We have to respect our opponents regardless if they are in the playoffs or not,” said Head Coach John Marks after tonight’s win.
The Force continue the weekend series on Saturday night looking for a sweep against the Buccaneers at 7:05pm at Scheels Arena. Get here early for $1 hot dogs prior to the puck drop. The first 250 fans that come through the doors wearing green will receive a free pair of sunglasses courtesy of game sponsor, Quaker Steak & Lube.
Also, don’t forget about the Force Family Fun Giveaway! It’s your chance to win 2 laptop computers from Dell, a pop-up camper from Outlet Recreation.com or a hot tub from Tubs of Fun. Play Chuck-a-Puck during any game for a chance to be entered or just buy a ticket to the game as one random row will be selected at each game and anyone in that row will be entered in the giveaway. Prizes will be given away at the Force games in April and you must be present to win.
Single game tickets are available by stopping by the Scheels Arena box office Monday-Friday from 11am-6pm, calling the box office at 701.364.3672, stopping by any Ticketmaster location or by calling 800.745.3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.
By: Melody Neer