Green Bay clings to victory against Force
Green Bay outshot and outworked Fargo for the second night in a row on Saturday. The difference this time was that the Gamblers came away with the win. Ryan Furne scored with 1 minute, 35 seconds to tie the game, and then Ryan McKay blanked Fargo...
Green Bay outshot and outworked Fargo for the second night in a row on Saturday.
The difference this time was that the Gamblers came away with the win.
Ryan Furne scored with 1 minute, 35 seconds to tie the game, and then Ryan McKay blanked Fargo in the shootout as the Gamblers scored a 4-3 shootout win at Urban Plains Center.
"They're a talented team with game breakers and they had a goaltender keep them in it," Green Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "We had a chance to put them away, but couldn't do it."
The Gamblers clinched the Anderson Cup, which goes to the team with the best regular-season record.
The announced sold-out crowd of 4,837 was the largest ever to watch a Force game at the Urban Plains Center.
Fargo trailed 2-1 going into the third despite getting outshot 25-11 through the first 40 minutes.
"We were just an average team this weekend, but still had chances to close this one out," Force coach Steve Johnson said. "We were lucky to still be in that one, and we've got to play better than that."
Back-to-back power-play goals just 1:16 apart from Garrett Allen and Matt Leitner midway through the third put Fargo in charge with a 3-2 lead with 6:46 to play.
Fargo's biggest chance to slam the door came just a few minutes after Leitner's goal when Alex Lippincott missed an open net on a one-timer attempt late in the third.
"I just don't think he realized how much time he had, and we realized that we just got a huge, huge break," Cooper said. "That gave us another life."
Furne took advantage, making a move to get into the Fargo zone and then knocking one past Force netminder Ryan Massa - who stopped a whopping 40 shots in the loss.
Johnson said the Furne goal could've been avoided and was a microcosm of the whole weekend for Fargo.
"I hate to call a guy out, but Corey Leivermann missed an assignment and that led to a shot that turned into a goal," Johnson said. "He's got to work hard to make that play, but he took a shortcut, and a bad thing happened.
"That's what we did this weekend. We have to get back to playing the right way. I thought we were lucky to get one point tonight."
After a scoreless overtime, Ludwig Karlsson scored as the first shooter in the shootout, and that was it.
McKay stopped all five Force shooters, and Massa held the rest of the Gamblers in check.
The Force now trail Omaha by six points in the race for the West Division title, meaning there is no more room for error if Fargo wants to win the division.
Fargo has just three games left, and needs to win them all - and needs two losses by the Lancers - to win the division.
It was the third-largest crowd at the UP Center behind two games from the 2009 U18 World Championships. The gold-medal game between the United States and Russia drew 4,923, while the Canada-U.S. semifinal drew 4,906.
FIRST PERIOD: 1, GB, Karlsson (Francis), 4:51. 2, GB, Makowski, 12:20 (pp).
SECOND PERIOD: 3, F, Leitner, 9:40.
THIRD PERIOD: 4, F, Allen (Leitner, Searfoss), 11:58 (pp). 5, F, Leitner (Searfoss), 13:34 (pp). 6, GB, Furne, 18:25.
OVERTIME: No scoring.
SHOOTOUT: GB 1 (Karlsson), F 0.
SAVES: GB, McKay 8-2-6-1--17. F, Massa 9-14-13-4--40.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548