The Fargo Force knocked off the top-ranked Dubuque Fighting Saints by a score of 4-2 in front of a rowdy New Years Eve crowd of 3,655 at Scheels Arena.
Eastern conference leaders Dubuque took the first lead of the game when Jarrid Privitera knocked one in net off of assists from Joe Manno and Shane Sooth. Alex Iafallo evened it up for the Force just over half way through the first period with an unassisted goal. This was Iafallo's seventh goal of the season. The fast paced first period ended all knotted up at 1-1.
Just inside the second period the Force took a 2-1 lead when Dominic Toninato scored on a power play with an assist on the play from Brendan Harms and Chris Dienes. Dubuque answered back with a goal by Sooth off a pass from Jeff Taylor. The Force had put themselves in a situation of being shorthanded two players at the end of the second period but they didn't roll over to a battling Dubuque team. Force goaltender Brendan Jensen made three incredible saves with the help of some amazing defensive play by the Force during the Fighting Saints 2-man advantage to remain tied at two as they headed into the second intermission.
At 4:21 into the final period, Matt Pohlkamp banked an unassisted goal off a breakaway to give the Force a 3-2 lead. Pohlkamp was back in the lineup this weekend for the first time since November 17 after missing time for an injury. The Force extended their lead to two with another goal from Toninato, his second of the evening and 13th of the season. Kenny Gillespie was in with an assist on the play. With the win, the Force have won four of their last five games.
"We wanted to come out and prove we can play with anybody and I think we did that tonight. It was a big win and a big two points," said Dominic Toninato. Toninato, who put up five points in the last three games and is currently in the top 10 in scoring in the league, says he's just doing his normal thing but gave much credit to his linemates saying he wouldn't have any success without them.
"Tonight we did what we had to do against a good hockey team and that is to play hard and play physical and not give them as much room as they are use to," said Head Coach John Marks.
The Force start the new year on the road with a two game set in Omaha to take on the Lancers this Friday and Saturday, January 4-5.
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.