A great 35 save performance which gave the Force their first shutout of the playoffs along with 2nd period goals by Garrett Allen & Colten St. Clair gave the Force a 2-0 win and taking the opener on the road in Green Bay Wisconsin as the Force will look to upset the top seeded Gamblers for the USHL Clark Cup Championship this season. Last Season, the Force won Game 1 against the Indiana Ice before losing the next 3 and losing the Final in 4 Games. Force fans are hoping that doesn't happen to them again.
Despite the loss against the Force, Green Bay Goalie Steve Summerhays were able to keep the Gamblers in the Game for good chunks for good parts of it and the defense limiting the Force's shots at time to just 23. But Green Bay powerful offense which has the likes of Anders Lee, Ryan Furne and William Kessel couldn't find an answer after Force goals in just over a minute made the difference in Game 1.
Game 2 will be taking place on Saturday Night in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
From the United States Hockey League Website: www.ushl.com
From Green Bay, Wisconsin: Goaltender Ryan Massa stopped all 35 shots he faced, including 19 in the 2nd period to post the 2-0 shutout as Fargo struck first in the Clark Cup Finals gaining a key victory in Game 1.
The first period was a goaltending duel as Massa and the Gamblers netminder Steve Summerhays turned away everything that came their way and the teams entered the dressing room after 20 minutes in a scoreless tie.
Both goalies shinned in the 2nd period as well, but Fargo finally solved Steve Summerhays as Garrett Allen jammed home a rebound to give the Force a 1-0 lead. The third goals of the playoffs for Allen also provided to be his 3rd game winner of the post-season. Just over a minute later, the Force kept the momentum going on Fargo's side by scoring his first goal of the playoffs and making it a 2-0 advantage.
Green Bay wasn't able to generate much in the 3rd as the Fargo defense clamped down and allowed just 3 shots on goal and finished off the win in the first game of the best-of-5 series.
The teams meet again in less then 24 hours at the Resech Center in Green Bay.
Southwest Player Watch
Chase Grant: Even though Grant had no points. He was busy he was blocking some shots in the Game and had some great chances as well. He had 4 SOG with a +1, he also stayed out of the penalty box last night.
Johnnie Searfoss: He was also very busy, even though initially he wasn't credited with an assist, he was later on after further review and had just his 3rd point of the playoffs. He also had a +1 with NO SOG and had a minor penalty for interference late in the game.
Fargo Force Captain Chase Grant on Winning Game 1.
"That was huge. We wanted to get the first game of the series and we got out there and got it tonight.
Grant on Force Goaltender Ryan Massa
"He was unbelievable. He single-handily won the game for us."
Grant on hanging on despite getting out-chased early on.
"That has kind of been our playoff run so far. Teams might get more chances then us in a period, but have been able to get a few bounces our way, keep the puck out of our net, and hang around with the other team."
Fargo Force Head Coach Steve Johnson on the win.
"We got a bounce or two tonight, but we'll take it. I Thought we got better as the game went on. In the 3rd period we took care of the puck better and weren't as sloppy in our zone. But they (Green Bay) are a tough team to play against because they have big bodies in the offensive zone, they protect the puck, and they support it. It makes all five guys in the defensive zone really accountable. We know we will get Green Bay's best game tomorrow night."
Johnson on goaltender Ryan Massa
"Ryan has been really consistent and solid all year. He is a guy that makes it look easy at because he is in good position and controls the rebounds."
Fargo Force Goaltender Ryan Massa getting the Win.
"They (Green Bay) are a great team, - a complete team from the crease out and it was really our job to come out in and keep playing the way we have been playing and do all the little details. Win more faceoffs, block shots, stay disciplined and work hard. We were successful tonight because we did those things."
Massa on getting the shutout.
"My defense blocked a lot of shots in front of me tonight and deserve a lot of credit. A shutout isn't just a goaltenders great game. The forwards did their job backchecking, the defensemen did their job blocking shots, getting the puck out and clearing rebounds. My responsibility is to keep the team in it and if there is a zero on the scoreboard at the end of the night, that's great, but we really just wanted to come in here and get a win. We will enjoy it for about 10 minutes or so and then we are all business for tomorrow night."
Fargo Force Lead Series 1-0, Game 2 is on Saturday Night.
Fargo Force 2 Green Bay Gamblers 0 (0-0, 2-0, 0-0)
1-0 FAR: Garrett Allen (Leitner) 14:13 2nd
2-0 FAR: Colten St. Clair (Searfoss) 15:20 2nd
SOG: FAR 23 GBG 35
PP: FAR 0/3 GBG 0/4
PIM: FAR 21 Minutes on 9 Penalties GBG 19 Minutes on 8 Penalties
Goalies: FAR Ryan Massa 35 SVS on 35 Shots GBG 21 SVS on 23 Shots
3rd Star: Colten St. Clair (FAR)
2nd Star: Garrett Allen (FAR)
1st Star: Ryan Massa (FAR)
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