The Fargo Force defeated the Lincoln Stars 4-2 front of a crowd of 3,349 at Scheels Arena.
The Force jumped out to an early lead with a goal by Dominic Toninato 35 seconds into the game. He received assists from his linemates, Alex Iafallo and Brendan Harms.
“You always want to get off to a good start and scoring in the first minute, first shift really helps throughout the game,” said Toninato of his goal in the opening minute of the game.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re home or away, to get that first goal is big, it means the other team needs two.” said Head Coach John Marks.
With Toninato’s goal, it extended his scoring streak to eight games with four goals and six assists. He has points in 19 of his last 22 games scorring 12 goals and adding 18 assists in that duration. “I want to go out there and play my game and get the win every night,” said Toninato. “I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates. They are two great players and I can’t do it by myself.”
Dave Gust netted a goal just 57 seconds into the second period for his 17th of the season to give the Force a two goal lead. Gabe Guertler had the assist on the goal. The Force took a 3-0 lead with a goal by Tyler Rehm, his second of the season, who was helped on the play by defenseman Chris Dienes. After giving up three goals, Lincoln replaced starting goalie Jackson Teichroeb with Moorhead, MN native, Michael Bitzer. The Force held a 3-0 lead heading into the second intermission.
Luke Johnson scored an unassisted goal to put Lincoln on the board halfway through the third period, breaking Cam Johnson’s hopeful shutout. The Stars tried to mount a comeback by pulling Bitzer with three minutes remaining. Lincoln was able to pull within one as Thomas Schutt banked a goal with an assist from Mike McKee. With less then a minute left in regulation, Jared Dedenbach, with an assist from Gavin Bayreuther, sealed the 4-2 win for the Force with an empty net goal.
The Force are 3-1-1 against the Stars this season. With tonight’s win, Fargo sits in second place just five points behind first place Sioux Falls Stampede and four points ahead of third place Waterloo Black Hawks. “It wasn’t all pretty, but at this point in time and with the standings the way they are, we will take the two points,” said Marks.
The Force are looking to pull further ahead in the standings in the race for the Clark Cup Playoffs tomorrow night for another match-up against the Lincoln Stars. Game is sponsored by Auto Owners Insurance with the puck dropping at 7:05pm. Get to the game early, as hot dogs are just $1 prior to the puck drop.
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 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 any game as one random row will be selected at each game and anyone in that row will be entered into 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, open Saturday at noon, calling the box office at 701.364.3672, stopping by any Ticketmaster location, calling 800.745.3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.
Click here for the full box score from tonight’s game.
By: Melody Neer