Colten St. Clair & Garrett Allen both came up big again with a goal each as the Force sweep the first 2 games in Green Bay with a 4-1 win over the Gamblers to go up 2-0 and be one win away from the teams first ever League Championship.
Despite getting out-shot 15-6 in the first, the Force stormed back with a late 1st period goal by Colten St. Clair with 5 minutes left in the first period to make it 1-0. then it was where the 2nd period started getting crazy as the game started to get a bit chippy.
No fights or anything like that, but the resulted in a ton of power-play time for both teams, however, neither side was able to take advantage that much until midway through the game to make it 3-1.
After going down 3-1, the Gamblers were looking to comeback and tie the series. But it was to no avail as Force goalie Ryan Massa continued to hold firm in the 3rd period. Gamblers goalie Steve Summerhays had a strong showing as well. But no one was able to crack the opposing goalie. This is where Massa took it in his own hands in the final minute as he fired to clear the puck that ended up going in to give the Force the 4-1 win to go up 2-0 in the Best-of-5 series.
This puts the Force in great shape to clinch the League Championship on Friday as the team can win the team's first ever Clark Cup Title with a single win on either Friday or Saturday Night.
Game Story from the United States Hockey League Website: http://www.ushl.com/
It was a new game but the same story as goaltender Ryan Massa stole the show by making 31 saves and even added to the scoring column by firing a shot the length of the ice into an empty net as the Fargo Force won Game two of the USHL Clark Cup Finals.
Colten St. Clair started the scoring in the first period for Fargo as he netted a goal for the 2nd straight night. Despite being out-shot 16-6 in the first period, Fargo went into the break up 1-0. Green Bay Goalie Kevin Albers gained some early momentum in the 2nd period as a shot from the point and give the Gamblers their first goal of the game.
Fargo didn't falter as they regrouped and again took the lead on the first goal of the playoffs by John Stampohar. A little more then three minutes later, Garrett Allen tallied his 4th of the playoffs, which extended his scoring streak to five games and give the Force a 2 goal lead at 3-1.
The Gamblers had their chances, but rang a couple of shots off the post and had a third period goal waived off that was directed in by a high stick over the crossbar. Fargo was solid defensively again on the road, including killing off all six power play opportunities by the Gamblers. Massa sealed the win with just a minute remaining in the contest when he accomplished the rare feat by a goaltender by scoring a goal himself.
Southwest Players Watch
Chase Grant: No Points in the Game but had 4 SOG with a +1 in the game. No Penalties in the game for him but was big blocking shots in the game, especially on the Special Teams.
Johnnie Searfoss: Searfoss had 3 SOG in the game. No PIM or points scored in the game but had a close call in the 3rd period of this one that could have put the game away for good for the Force.
Here's a link to the Game 2 Highlights from the Clark Cup Championship. www.ushl.com/news/story.cfm?id=3236
Fargo Force Head Coach Steve Johnson on winning twice on the Road.
"We can probably say we didn't expect that, but we are happy and excited about it. We had a rough first period, but the guys responded better. We had a little luck on our side with Green Bay hitting a couple of pipes, but just like last night, we got better as the game went on.
Johnson on the play of Force Goalie Ryan Massa
"We talked about it before, but he has been really solid for us all year and he is going to have to continue because we know Friday night will be extremely tough. We expect Green bay to play as good as they can on Friday Night. We have been doing a real good job with the penalty kill and it starts with our goaltender. He has to be your best penalty killer and he has been."
Johnson on his team responding after Green Bay scored the first goal.
"That was probably the turning point of the game because we responded really well to them scoring and did a little better job in our end and got to more loose puck. It woke us up and we got our feet moving."
Fargo forward Colten St. Clair on being up 2-0 in the Series.
"It feels really good. We came in hoping to get a split because Green Bay are a great team, so two wins is just awesome."
St. Clair on his scoring touch in the Finals.
"I was kind of struggling earlier in the playoffs so it feels really good to put the puck in the net a couple of times here. Hopefully it can give some momentum and carry that into the next game."
Force Goaltender Ryan Massa on the Game 2 Victory.
"I got my fair share of bounces, but it was all the right things again tonight. We won the loose pucks, blocked shots, won faceoffs, and really paid attention to detail tonight and that is making us successful."
Massa scoring a goal
"I have always dreamed about that to be honest. I have never had that opportunity before. I wasn't aiming, I just threw it down the ice and wanted to get it out of the zone, and fortunately it went right down the middle. I didn't really conduct myself very sportsmanlike and represent what the USHL is all about after I scored. It's not what I'm about, not what the Fargo Force is all about, and made a bad choice. I apologize for that, but it does feel great to score a goal."
Fargo Defensemen Eammonn Mcdermott on winning two games in Green Bay.
"We believe in ourselves but we never expected to have that kind of success, but we will take it."
Mcdermott on the play of goaltender Ryan Massa.
"He has always been awesome and is the reason we are playing so well. He keeps us in the game to give us a chance. He has half the amount of goals that I do this year (Then Laughs).
Mcdermott on the Force going 6/6 on the Penalty Kill
"Everyone was sacrificing, blocking shots, and getting pucks out of the zone. Everyone was doing what it takes. Green Bay didn't get many seconds chances, which is nice."
Green Bay Gamblers Head Coach on what he expects for Game 3.
"I expect us to come out on Friday Night ready to play. I am glad their is a week break. We can brush off the bad hockey karma we had going for us in this series."
Cooper on goals that were disallowed
"I think the officials made the right calls. You get those type of calls maybe once a month, and to get 3 in one night is just the way things have gone for us in this series."
Cooper on his team's chances to overcome a two game deficit in this series.
"We won 45 games during the regular season and we have won 6 games in the playoffs, which is more wins then a lot of teams have in one season in this league in the 30 years it has been around. If there is any team that can do it, it's the one in our locker room. Whatever you do, don't count them out."
Fargo Force Lead Series 2-0. Game 3 is on Friday Night in Fargo, North Dakota.
Fargo Force 4 Green Bay Gamblers 1 (1-0, 2-1, 1-0)
1-0 FAR: Colten St. Clair (Schmidt) 14:45 1st
1-1 GBG: Kevin Albers (Jensen, Mccadden) 0:47 2nd
2-1 FAR: John Stampohar (Rehkamp) 6:00 2nd
3-1 FAR: Garrett Allen (PP) (Leitner) 9:16 2nd
4-1 FAR: Ryan Massa (EN) (Unassisted) 19:00 3rd
SOG: FAR 31 GBG 32
PP: FAR 1/3 GBG 0/6
PIM: FAR 29 Minutes on 13 Penalties GBG 23 Minutes on 10 Penalties
Goalies: FAR Ryan Massa 31 SVS on 32 Shots GBG Steve Summerhays 27 SVS on 30 Shots
3rd Star: Nick Jensen (GBG)
2nd Star: Kevin Albers (GBG)
1st Star: Ryan Massa (FAR)
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