Fargo, ND—Three first period goals for the Fargo Force were too much for the Sioux Falls Stampede to overcome Friday night as the Herd fell to the Force 3-1 at Scheels Arena. It marked the first regulation loss for the Herd (1-1-1) who will go for the weekend split on Saturday when the two teams meet again in Fargo. Blake Bride tallied the only goal of the game for the Herd in the second period while Chad Veltri stopped 27 of 30 shots in between the pipes for Sioux Falls.
A night in which the Force unveiled their 2017-18 Clark Cup championship banner the host squad came out with lots of energy and posted three goals on the Herd. The Force grabbed the first goal of the game at 9:02 when Aaron Huglen took a pass and drove into the high slot where he wristed a shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Fargo added to their lead at 14:22 when a Stampede turnover behind the net led to Michael Mancinelli sending a pass in front of the net to Josh Nodler who one-timed it home for a two goal advantage . It looked like the Herd would hold the Force to just two goals, but Fargo had other plans and tallied a power play goal with just four seconds remaining in the period. Hank Crone sent a pass between the circles to Ben Meyers who quickly slapped it under the right pad of Veltri for a 3-0 lead after one period. Fargo outshot the Herd 10-5.
The Herd got things going in the second period and put up 13 shots. It remained a 3-0 game though until 13:17 of the second when Sioux Falls was finally able to break through on a goal from Blake Bride. Jared Westcott won a battle inside the right circle and sent a perfect pass into the slot for a streaking Bride who came in and wristed the puck right through the five-hole of Fargo netminder Ryan Bischel to make it 3-1. Fargo outshot the Herd 15-13 in the period.
Sioux Falls was hoping to take some of that momentum into the third period and get back into the game, but Bischel was on top of his game for the Force. Sioux Falls had two powerplays in the period and pulled Veltri in the final 90 seconds of the game for an extra attacker, but couldn’t get the puck to bounce the right way for them and they came up short, 3-1.
The Stampede outshot the Force 10-5 in the third period, but were outshot in the game, 30-28. Fargo finished the night 1-for-2 on the power play while the Stampede were 0-for-4.
Sioux Falls will try and earn a split in the weekend series when they face the Force again on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. Fans can catch all the action live on KELO News Talk 1320-AM, 105.1-FM, 107.9-FM and KELO.com starting at 6:40 PM.
Photo credit: Mitch Highman