Saturday, December 11, 2010

B³ Postgame Recap 12/10: Fargo 3, Lincoln 0

Photo courtesy of Brandon Anderson

In what was probably the most uninspired effort the Stars have shown at home this season, the Fargo Force completely dominated the Lincoln Stars Friday night at the IceBox, and cruised to the 3-0 shutout win.  The loss marked the first time all season that an opponent held Lincoln to zero goals in a game.  With the loss, the Stars dropped to 11-8-1 (23 points) and fell from second to fifth place in the USHL Western Conference.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.  

In my weekend preview article, I highlighted Fargo forward Jimmy Mullin, who scored Fargo's first goal Friday night.  Mullin's goal at the 8:57 mark of the first period would turn out to be the game-winning goal.  Mullin would be named the first star of the game, also.  Later in the period, Tanner Kero of the Force would add a powerplay goal at the 17:04 mark to give the Force a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.  The Stars only managed to put four shots on goal in the first period, while Fargo put eight shots on net.  There was one fight in the period, as Jared Hanson tangled with Justin Wade of the Force after Wade had a questionable hit on Stars forward Brent Tate along the boards.  Hanson was standing up for his teammate in the fight, and received an extra two minutes for instigating, and a game ejection.  After the hit by Wade, Brent Tate did not return to the game.  According to Stars head coach Chad Johnson, Tate suffered a head injury and will not play Saturday night against Dubuque.

After a scoreless second period in which the Force out-shot the Stars 10-5, Fargo defenseman Brian Cooper snapped a wrister past Lincoln goaltender Kevin Murdock at the 8:30 mark of the third period to cap the scoring at 3-0.  The Stars would pull Murdock with about 4 minutes remaining in hopes of getting back in the game with a goal or two, but that never materialized as Fargo shut the door.  Fargo goaltender Ryan Massa only had to stop a total of 16 Lincoln shots to record his first shutout of the season.  Kevin Murdock stopped 21 of 24 shots on net in the loss.  The Stars were an anemic, and uncharacteristic, 0-for-7 on the powerplay against Fargo.  Give credit to the Force for being very aggressive on the penalty-kill, and not allowing Lincoln to ever look comfortable with the man-advantage.  The Force went 1-for-6 on the powerplay.  

Ugly game for sure.  As bad as the Stars looked, you have to give a lot of credit to the Force.  I thought they did a fantastic job of clogging up the neutral zone, and making the Stars shoot from the perimeter.  Massa was never really tested in this game, and he can thank the defenseman and forwards in front of him for limiting the amount of good scoring chances Lincoln had.  I also thought the Force did a very good job at blocking a number of Lincoln shots.  The Force skated harder and faster than Lincoln, and wanted it more.  Simple as that.

This was one of those games the Stars need to just forget about and start concentrating on the next game.  Luckily, they have that opportunity to bounce back in front of the home crowd tonight against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  The Stars will be without Brent Tate, Josh Berge, and Matt Prapavessis, who are all out with head injuries.  Not good.  Time to dig deep, and fight like mad dogs to get a win tonight.  Hope to see another big crowd at the IceBox.  Don't forget to leave a little early tonight due to the UNL women's basketball game at Devaney.  Parking could be a mess.  It's a cold one out there, so bundle up also in case you have to walk a good distance from your car to the rink.

Go Stars.

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