Friday, April 24, 2009

Game 1 Postgame Report - Fargo at Lincoln

Final Score: Fargo 4, Lincoln 1

After trailing the Lincoln Stars 1-0 at the end of the first period, the Fargo Force scored four unanswered goals to beat the Stars on their home ice, 4-1. It was the fourth straight playoff win for Fargo. With the win, the Force now lead the Stars in their best-of-five playoff series, 1-0. Scoring the lone goal for the Stars was Eric Meland. Despite outshooting the Force 38-24, the Stars could not solve Fargo goaltender Mike Lee. Lee performed very well througout the game, especially in the first period, and showed why he will be a NHL draft pick this Spring. The Stars anemic powerplay was 0-3 on the night. In the last five playoff games, the Stars powerplay are 1-for-22. One goal in twenty two PP opportunities. Not good.

This one was hard to watch as a fan. The Stars came out in the first period on point and on a mission. They were skating well, playing the body, making crisp tape-to-tape passes, and peppered Mike Lee with 16 shots on net. As I was watching the first period I was thinking that if the Stars could continue playing like this, they would win the game easily. They looked that good, in my opinion. Credit Mike Lee for making some huge saves to keep his team in the game early on. It could have easily been 4-0 at the end of the first period. About halfway thru the second period, you could sense the momentum turning in favor of Fargo. It just felt like Lee's performance was deflating the Stars, and building confidence in the Fargo players. It took the Force forwards half the game to finally warm up, but they outplayed the Stars for most of the second half of the game. Andy Taranto, who is just as good or even better as advertised, scored the game winning goal in the second period, added one assist, had four shots on goal, and was +3. He was the recipient of one of the hardest open ice checks I've seen at the Ice Box, when Mike Sdao caught Taranto with his head down coming over the Stars blueline in the second period. Taranto stayed on the ice for a long time, but recovered and went on to score the GWG.

1ST STAR: Lee, Mike (FGO)
2ND STAR: Taranto, Andy (FGO)
3RD STAR: Grant, Chase (FGO)

I think it goes without saying that Game 2 is a "must win" game for the Stars. Losing the first two games at home, and having to travel up to Fargo the next day to play the Force would be brutal. Ask the Omaha Lancers about that. I might get slammed for this, but Mike Lee is the main reason why Fargo is up 1-0 in this series. Without Lee between the pipes, the Force don't win Game 1. If the Stars can somehow get in his head, and score some early goals in Game 2, I think the Stars could get back on track. Again, it's imperative the Stars win Game 2 to win back momentum in this series, and use it Saturday night in Fargo.

Hopefully Garrett Peterson is healthy and back in the lineup for Game 2. I thought the Stars really missed his energy and enthusiasm in Game 1, especially in the second half of the game. I didn't think Murdock played that bad, but I would not be surprised to see Anthony Borelli start Game 2. Score early and often on Lee, and shut down Andy Taranto. Win Game 2. Go Stars.

Game 2 faceoff is at 7:05pm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike Lee is main reason they won the first series against Omaha too.