FARGO — A winter storm wasn't about to stop the Fargo Force and Des Moines Buccaneers from squaring off in a United States Hockey League bout Friday night at Scheels Arena. Nor did it stop the 3,294 fans listed as being in attendance from experiencing a night at the rink.
The Force buried three third-period goals to clinch a 4-0 shutout win over Des Moines.
"We got the one-goal lead going into the third, and something we've been talking about is building a lead and playing with a lead," Force head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux said. "We've been a team all year that's been pretty resilient and been able to come from behind. On the flip side, we're learning to control and close out the right way."
Fargo rose to 17-10-4 this season. The Force currently sit at third place in the Western Conference. The two teams are scheduled to play again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night at Scheels Arena.
Those in attendance had to wait about 30 minutes of game time for any points to appear Friday, but the Force were able take a 1-0 lead midway through the second period when Lynden Breen found the back of the net. It was Breen's 13th goal this season and was assisted by Joseph Dunlap and Brian Kramer.
Dunlap then gave the Force a 2-0 advantage with an unassisted goal, his fourth this season, at the 9 minutes, 24 seconds mark in the third period. Mason Salquist buried his ninth goal of the year off a dish from Alex Nordstrom to give Fargo an insurance goal with just under six minutes left in the game.
Twenty-two seconds later, Nordstrom scored his ninth goal this season to put the game out of reach and set up the 4-0 final.
Goalie Brennan Boynton tallied 29 saves for the Force to earn the shutout. Lamoureux has been impressed by Boynton and said he's added depth to the goalie position.
"He's a worker," Lamoureux said of Boynton. "He shows up every day, and he works and competes. He's diligent and prepared, and shows up every single day and earned the starts he's getting. ... Brennan made some huge saves at key times. He made big saves in the penalty kill and kept our lead."
Though surely not everyone who bought a ticket made it to the arena, the support was appreciated nonetheless.
"Our fans have been awesome this year," Lamoureux said. "It really helps with our home ice advantage. Scheels Arena is a great spot to bring your kids and see some high-end hockey. We have passionate fans that care about our players."