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Hard work pays off

Cedar Rapids at Force - When: 7:05 p.m. today - Where: Urban Plains Center Like just about anybody, Johnnie Searfoss needed some time to get used to Dean Blais' conditioning-heavy practices. Things are paying off in a big way now for the Fargo Fo...

Johnnie Searfoss

Cedar Rapids at Force

- When: 7:05 p.m. today

- Where: Urban Plains Center

Like just about anybody, Johnnie Searfoss needed some time to get used to Dean Blais' conditioning-heavy practices.

Things are paying off in a big way now for the Fargo Force forward.

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After totaling just three assists through Fargo's first 11 games, Searfoss has racked up six points in the last three contests.

The secret to his recent success is pretty simple.

"I've just kept working hard and tried to do what they tell me to do," Searfoss said. "I knew if I did that, the goals and assists would come to me."

Searfoss and the Force will see how well all that conditioning has paid off this weekend, as the squad has three home games today through Sunday.

Fargo hosts Cedar Rapids today, Lincoln on Saturday and Sioux City on Sunday. Today's and Saturday's games start at 7:05 p.m., and the Sunday tilt begins at 4 p.m.

"We're going to find out now if we can play three games in a row," Fargo coach Dean Blais said. "Win or lose on Friday and Saturday, can we come out and be competitive that third game? We'll find out."

Searfoss' recent offensive burst has pushed him into a tie for the team scoring lead with Keegan Flaherty.

And the points haven't come in bunches. He has tallied a goal and an assist in each of the last three contests - two of which were Force victories.

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In the last two games, Searfoss has been lined up with Josh Birkholz and Matt Leitner, accounting for eight points in that stretch.

"It's definitely done a lot for my confidence," Searfoss said. "Anytime you get a couple goals, it's going to do something for your confidence, and we've been doing well together on that line."

Searfoss has been a pretty good barometer for Fargo's success this season. He's scored a point in four of the Force's five wins this season.

Blais said he has been pleased with how Searfoss has been adjusting to the pace of the USHL, and that the forward is showing he can score.

Searfoss, who hails from Colleyville, Texas, has already committed to the University of Maine.

"He's already committed to a school, so he's just playing to get better," Blais said. "His speed is his biggest asset, but he's also the type of player that you tell him or show him something once, he gets it.

"He plays responsibly, and he's a very serious student of the game. That shows."

Readers can reach Forum sports writer Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

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Collins' blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com

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