Friday, January 20, 2012

B³ Postgame Recap 1/20: Fargo 5, Lincoln 1

The Fargo Force invaded the IceBox in Lincoln tonight and won their 8th game in a row with an impressive 5-1 victory over the Stars.  Click here to view the Pointstreak boxscore.

With the loss the Stars dropped to 20-12-2 (42 points), and are still tied for first place in the USHL Western Conference with the Omaha Lancers.  Those same Lancers lost 3-2 at home tonight to the Sioux City Musketeers.  That means the winner of the Stars-Lancers game tomorrow evening will be in sole possession of first place in the west.

It didn't take long for the Force to take the wind out of the Lincoln sails with a goal scored just a little over four minutes into the first period.  Force forward Bryn Chyzk, who has scored a scored a goal in five straight games, netted his 19th goal of the season at the 4:15 mark of the period.  It didn't get any better for the Stars as the Force scored five minutes later at the 9:28 mark of the first to increase their lead to 2-0.  Austin Farley scored the second Fargo goal, which came on the powerplay.  Stars outshot the Force 7-6 through the first twenty minutes.

In the second period, the Force capitalized with three breakaway goals to put the game out of reach for the Stars.  Just 31 seconds into the game, Force defenseman Brian Cooper took advantage of a Stars turnover and skated in alone to score on Lincoln goaltender Charles Williams.  The goal by Cooper came while the Stars were on the powerplay, so it counted as a shortie.

At the 6:11 mark of the second, Lincoln defenseman fired a shot past Fargo goaltender Zane Gothberg to bring the Stars to within two goals at 3-1.  Unfortunately for the home team, that would be the only shot to get by Gothberg on the night.  Fargo would close out the second period with two more breakaway goals to take a 5-1 lead into the second intermission.  Stars outshot the Force 16-8 in the second period.

Give credit to Lincoln for not giving up and battling until the very end, but they just could not solve Gothberg in the third despite outshooting the Force 15-4 in the period.  Stars goaltender Charles Williams was pulled at the second intermission and Jackson Teichroeb played the entire third period, stopping all four shots he saw.  In the third, the Force seemed to go into a prevent defense, and consequently, Jackson Teichroeb really wasn't tested much at all in the third period.

Stars outshoot the Force 38-18 overall, but fall by a score of 5-1.  Charles Williams stopped 9 of 14 shots int he loss.  Jackson Teichroeb stopped four shots in twenty minutes of action in the third period.  Fargo netminder Zane Gothberg stopped 37 of 38 shots on net to record his 8th straight win.  Lincoln finished 0-for-3 on the powerplay, while the Force went 1-for-2 with the man advantage.

I felt sorry for Charles Williams tonight because his team really hung him out to dry with those three breakaway chances in the second period.  I'm sure he'd like the first two Fargo goals back, but the Stars simply fell apart in the second period and allowed the Force way too many breakaway opportunities.

In the battle of Austin Farley vs. Kevin Roy, the top two point scorers in the USHL, it was all Farley this time.  Roy finished with zero points and was -2.  Farley finished with 3 points (2g, 1a), and was +2.  Farley's first goal of the game proved to be the game winner.

Those who were not in attendance tonight might take a look at the boxscore, see the disparity in shots on goal, and be surprised that the Force won this game.  I wasn't, and from the listening to Chad Johnson after the game on the radio, he wasn't either.  Although the Stars put 38 shots on Gothberg, he really didn't have to work hard to save the majority of those shots.  It seemed like Gothberg had a target painted on his chest/belly, and just about every Stars shot hit him in that location.  Every shot was simply gobbled up by the Fargo goaltender.  Very few rebounds were surrendered by Gothberg.  Lincoln did not do a good job crashing the net and making it difficult for Gothberg to make those saves.  The majority of the 38 Lincoln shots came from bad angles, allowing Gothberg to make the easy stop.

I guess the good news tonight is that the Omaha Lancers lost, so the game tomorrow night should be very intense.  Omaha is going to be fired up after losing at home to the Muskies, and I hope the Stars will be angry as well after a disappointing loss at home in front of a sellout crowd.  It should be a great atmosphere at the Civic Arena in downtown Omaha tomorrow night.  I won't be in attendance, so I hope to get some first-hand game reports from some blog readers who attend the game.  For those going to the game, travel safe.

Go Stars.

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