FARGO — The Fargo Force erupted for three goals in the second period to fuel a 6-1 victory over Des Moines in United State Hockey League action on Saturday at Scheels Arena before a crowd of 3,980.
After scoring three goals in the third period of a 4-0 victory over the Buccaneers on Friday, the Force followed up with three in the second as an encore on Saturday.
“Every time Des Moines sustained a little bit of momentum, we were able to counter punch and respond with some really good offensive zones and sustained shifts,” Force head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux said. “Over the course of 60 minutes, we broke them down and were able to get some more goals.”
Ondrej Pavel, Tristan Broz and Carter Randklev all scored in the whirlwind second period that also featured 17 penalties — nine on Des Moines and eight on Fargo.
“It was a tight game and we got a great shift by Ondrej Pavel, he had the puck in the offensive zone and he puck-protected and snuck it in, took it into the net across the crease. That goal gave us a lot of life and a lot of momentum, and then we capitalized on the power play and were able to give ourselves a cushion.”
Pavel got the big second period started with a goal 9 minutes, 44 seconds into the period to expand the Force lead to 2-0. He skated in on the right, cut across the goalie’s face to the left and lofted a shot to the top shelf over the goalie's right shoulder.
Travis Broz made it 3-0 Force with 8:29 to go in the first period with a power-play goal on an assist from Brian Kramer and Lynden Breen. Broz was wide open for a wrister just beyond the right faceoff circle after a pass from Kramer at the left point.
Carter Randklev made it 4-0 with 5:14 to go in the second. Lynden Breen brought the puck up the left wing, executed a give-and-go with Joe Dunlap, and passed across to Randklev who had a wide open net on the right side.
After the fourth Force goal, a fight broke out after a big hit by Fargo winger Alex Nordstrom. After the hit, Des Moines captain Nicklas Andrews flew in and started throwing punches and more players from both sides got involved.
“When the penalties and fights are going on, the message to our guys is to stay composed,” Lamoureux said. “We need to stay composed and play whistle-to-whistle. We don’t want to get wrapped up in stuff after the whistle. Winning the game is the most important thing.”
Alex Laferriere put the Buccaneers on the board with a shorthanded goal on a counter attack just 32 seconds into the third period to make it 4-1.
And the Force answered right back with a goal two minutes later as Casey McDonald deposited a rebound into the net after a save on a Kramer shot from the point.
And Tristan Broz scored from the point on a power play two minutes after that to make it 6-1.
Kramer opened the scoring 2:17 into the first period and added three assists. He entered the game with one goal and 10 assists.
“Brian is a very smart, elusive, efficient defenseman,” Lamoureux said. “His skating and vision really allow him to break the puck out on the ice and he sees the ice really well. He’s a huge part of the team and a huge part of the back end.”
The Force finish the first half the 64-game season with a record of 18-10-2-2 and stand in second place in the Western Conference with 40 points. Waterloo leads the conference with 49 points.
“You’re never satisfied, Lamoureux said. “I like a lot of the components of our team. From Day 1, this has been a really hard working, competitive group.”
FIRST: 1, F, Kramer (Gajarsky) 2:17.
SECOND: 2, F, Pavel (unassisted) 9:44. 3, F, Broz (Breen, Kramer) 11:31 pp. 4, F, Randklev (Breen, Dunlap) 14:29.
THIRD: 1, D, Laferriere (Nevers) 0:32. 5, McDonald (Ziskie, Kramer) 2:30. 6, F, Broz (Salquist, Kramer) 4:38 pp.
SAVES: F, Brady 9-6-13—28. D, Durham 11-12-12—35