The Fargo Force celebrated their fifth anniversary in the USHL tonight, but fell short 4-3 in a close match-up against the Chicago Steel in front of a crowd of 3,661 at Scheels Arena.
At 6:36 into the first period, Chicago struck first when Christian Heil snuck one past goalie Brendan Jensen. Heil was assisted on the goal by Christian Dvorak. With a minute left in the first, Heil struck again, scoring a power play goal with an assist by Ray Pigozzi and Tim Davison to put the Steel up 2-0.
As tensions mounted throughout the second period both teams put on a defensive display. Neither team allowed a goal until Gabe Guertler netted a power play goal with just 21 seconds left in the period that finally put the Force on the board. Forward Dave Gust and defenseman Dominic Racobaldo assisted on the play. This was Guertler's ninth goal of the season which still leads the league.
Just 4:35 into the third period, the Force tie it up 2-2 as Brendan Harms grabbed a goal on the power play with an assist by Gust, his second of the night, and Justin Wade. Harms still sits at the top of the scoring leaderboard in the league with 15 points. Half way through the third, Jensen made a quick save as both teams battled for a piece of the puck, both trying to gain the advantage. With four minutes left in the period, Chicago's Thomas Ebbing scored the go-ahead goal on a power play with a pass from Sam Piazza. Adding to their lead, Chicago forward Alex Roos nabbed an unassisted goal with less than two minutes to play. The Force, determined not to give up, bounced right back to keep the game within one with a goal by Taylor Fleming. Fargo's efforts weren't enough to get ahead of Chicago as they fell 4-3.
"We passed up opportunities to shoot and we're loosing puck battles at prime opportunities," said Head Coach John Marks after the loss. "Mental improvement; we're a better hockey team than this."
The team will head on the road for the next two weekends and finally return home on Friday, Nov. 16 and 17 for a two-game series versus the Omaha Lancers. Stay tuned to the Fargo Force website for up-to-date information on promotions for upcoming games.
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, calling 800.745.3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.