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Kerry Collins, Published May 07 2009

Indiana Ice defeats Fargo Force 6-0 to take 2-1 series lead in Clark Cup finals

Fargo’s worst nightmare took less than a minute.

Indiana scored three goals in the span of 44 seconds to knock Mike Lee out of the game and set up a 6-0 win over the Force at Urban Plains Center on Wednesday.

The win gave the Ice a 2-1 series lead in the USHL’s Clark Cup finals.

“It was one of those things where they were just going in,” Ice coach Jeff Blashill said. “That just happens sometimes, but it’s not indicative of the team we’re playing.

“We know this is a quality team we’re playing and that’s not going to happen the rest of the series.”

Fargo was playing without leading scorer Andy Taranto, who was out with the flu.

Force coach Dean Blais said Taranto will be back for Friday’s Game 4, but his star’s absence wasn’t the difference on Wednesday.

“Andy was certainly missed, but one player doesn’t make a team,” Blais said. “We had enough talent out there to do better than 6-0.”

Shane Berschbach scored a power-play at the 3 minute, 30 second mark of the first period to get things started.

Ben Albertson added another one just 31 seconds later, and Blais called a timeout. But Max Cook capped the surge with another one 14 seconds after the timeout.

“We just didn’t recover after the first two,” Blais said. “We had too many turnovers, and a team like Indiana is going to capitalize.

“On two of those first three goals, we had possession of the puck.”

Indiana’s Brett Bennett made 21 stops for the shutout, including a handful of tough stops at the end of the first period that Blashill said may have been a key in the game.

“He’s been great for us al year, and he was especially big in that first period,” Blashill said. “He doesn’t make a couple of those saves, and it’s a different game.”

The loss puts Fargo in a must-win situation in Game 4 of the series.

The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. Friday at UP Center. If there is a Game 5, it will be in Indiana at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Blais said he is hoping his team gets to make that 15-hour bus ride to Indianapolis one more time.

“Now we have to get it to that one-game situation, but we have to play better than we did tonight,” Blais said. “We’re the team that prides itself on playing hungry and with intensity.

“Well, we got a lesson in intensity tonight. We just have to be better. We got exactly what we deserved in this one.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, I, Berschbach (Cichy, Krug), 3:30 (pp). 2, I, Albertson (Golembiewski), 4:01. 3, I, Cook, 4:14.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, I, Cichy (Blakey, Albertson), 6:09. 5, I, Cichy (Berschbach, Galiev), 13:04 (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 6, I, Parker (Cichy), 16:45.

SAVES: I, Bennett 8-5-8—21. F, M. Lee 1-x-x—1, Campbell 6-9-6—21.

A: 3,967.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com