The Fargo Force will have a different look this year, mainly because so many familiar faces from the past two years will be moving on to the college ranks.
I’ll try and provide information about some of the newer guys when I stumble across them. Here are a couple of recent posts that I’ve found.
Here’s a blog about Troy Hesketh, one of Minnetonka’s blue-lining studs from last season’s Minnesota Class 2A runner-up. He’s heading to Wisconsin, but will probably be here next season before suiting up for the Badgers.
Here’s a post from the same blog about Corbin McGuire, another Badgers recruit that is likely to be with the Force next season. With Fargo’s losses up front, McGuire could be a big help. He’s been a standout prep player in New England.
The Fargo Force has a lot of holes to fill up front going into next season, and they started to fill them up at Wednesday’s USHL Entry Draft.
Fargo drafted 11 forwards out of its first 13 picks on Wednesday. The Force will try to replace offensive weapons like Matt Leitner, Corey Leivermann, Chase Grant, Nate Condon, Johnnie Searfoss, Colten St. Clair and even defenseman Nate Schmidt.
Fargo’s first pick, center Tanner Kero out of Marquette in the NAHL could be a candidate to do that. Kero was the NAHL’s top goal-scorer last year with 32.
The Force also made an interesting local pick in Detroit Lakes’ Tanner Lane. The forward for the Lakers tied for the scoring lead in Minnesota preps last year with 90 points. His 49 goals were second only to the 53 scored by St. Francis’ Joey Benik. Lane didn’t play the stiffest competition in any stretch of the imagination, so it will be interesting to see if he can make the jump.
The Force made what looked like a peculiar pick in the 21st round. Fargo selected Chad Demers, a player that has been on the Force roster in both of the team’s seaons, in that round. Demers must not have been protected by the club before the draft.
Of course, the players taken by the Force in the draft may not mean anything. Of the 11 players taken by Fargo last year, just one – Blake Doerring - saw playing time, and that was limited at best. He had just one goal and four assists in 30 games. Guys like Zane Gothberg and Willie Corrin were drafted last year, and will be here next season, so sometimes it takes a little time.
For full results of the draft, check out this link.
The Fargo Force grabbed six players for their affiliate list in Tuesday’s USHL Futures Draft, and their first pick doesn’t look like your typical 16-year-old.
Fargo’s first-rounder was Justin Wade out of Aurora, Ill., a defenseman that checks in at 6-foot-1, 196 pounds.
Fargo’s next two picks were left wingers from Minnesota in Monticello’s Gage Torrel and Lakeville’s Nate Arentz. The Force’s last three picks were all from Michigan in center Benjamin Johnson (Calumet), right winter Drew Best (Plymouth) and defenseman Wayland Williams (Canton).
An interesting first-round selection came just three picks after Force coach Steve Johnson chose Wade. That’s when Lincoln – led by new head coach Chad Johnson, who is Steve’s brother and a former Force assistant – picked Grand Forks Central standout Luke Johnson. Luke, of course, is Steve’s son and Chad’s nephew.
Also, Liam McDermott was taken by Des Moines in the sixth round. Liam is the younger brother of former Force defenseman Eamonn McDermott.
The Futures Draft was to pick players only with 1994 birth dates. The players chosen will likely be put on the team’s affiliate list. Each team can protect 12 players on their affiliate list in addition to the 23-man roster. Players born in 1994 can remain on that list for three years.
The Fargo Force have found a replacement for Chad Johnson.
The team hired Byron Pool to replace the departed assistant coach. Johnson is now the head coach of the Lincoln Stars.
Pool led the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL to back-to-back Robertson Cups, and won the national championship this season. He coached the Bobcats for 2 1/2 years, taking over for Dane Litke in midseason three seasons ago. Coincidentally, Johnson also used to coach the Bismarck Bobcats.
Here’s a link to a good story about Pool, written by my former boss in Bismarck, Lou Babiarz.
Green Bay had a hand in drawing the two largest crowds to ever watch a Fargo Force game at the Urban Plains Center. Now the Gamblers are going for a record in their own rink.
The Gamblers sold out tonight’s Game 5, knocking the price on all of the tickets down to just $5 a seat. The Resch Center holds more than 8,000 people, and the largest crowd to watch a game there is 7,017. Expect that number to do down tonight.
Here’s a link to a post about the topic from the Green Bay Gazette.
Game 4 of the Clark Cup Finals is set to start at 7:05 p.m. at the Urban Plains Center tonight.
Oddly enough, Game 3 just ended three hours ago.
The third game of the Clark Cup Finals is set to go down at the Urban Plains Center tonight, with the puck slated to drop at 7:35 p.m.
Live updates will be provided below, as usual.
Game 4 of the USHL’s West Division Finals is slated to get underway at 7:05 p.m. tonight at Urban Plains Center with the Fargo Force hosting the Omaha Lancers.
Fargo leads the series 2-1 after last night’s nail-biting 4-3 win, and can clinch a spot in the Clark Cup Finals with a win tonight.
Game 3 of the West Division finals between Fargo and Omaha is at the Urban Plains Center tonight, starting at 7:05 p.m., and I’ll provide live updates.
Both teams are light a couple of players, but I’ll try and keep the updates as heavy as usual.
Three players were suspended as a result of the extra-curriculars from Friday’s Game 3 in the best-of-five series between the Omaha Lancers and the Fargo Force.
Omaha’s C.J. Ludwig was suspended three games as a result of a check on Fargo’s Corey Leivermann that drew an attempt to injure match penalty.
Omaha’s Ryan Daugherty was suspended one game. After Fargo scored an empty-net goal with 1:09 to go, Daugherty was given the hook for a spearing penalty.
The most interesting suspension comes to Fargo’s Matt Leitner, who also received one game. Leitner was given an unsportsmanlike conduct misconduct penalty for taunting after scoring the aformentioned empty-net goal.
Leitner allegedly left the locker room a couple of times after leaving the ice to serve his penalty, but this has to be the first time I’ve ever heard of somebody getting more than 10 minutes for a taunting penalty.
Whether you agree with any or all or some of the suspensions, the league seems to be delivering a message to Omaha and Fargo: No more shenanigans in this series will be tolerated by the USHL.