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Published April 27 2010

USHL hockey: Force hope to win it all now

Here they go again.

For the second year in a row, the Fargo Force are in the Clark Cup finals. Fresh off an intense five-game series victory over Omaha, the Force are hoping for a different result in this year’s USHL championship series than last year.

Fargo lost to the Indiana Ice in four games in last year’s final series.

“We played really well in Game 5 down in Omaha, and that’s how we’ll have to play each game from here on out,” Force coach Steve Johnson said. “They understand the effort that is needed, and that this is a chance to win a championship.”

Last year’s Indiana squad was loaded, but this season’s Green Bay squad is arguably even better.

The Gamblers boast the league’s rookie of the year in Anders Lee – who is leading the playoffs in scoring – as well as the goaltender of the year in Steve Summerhays and defenseman of the year in David Makowski.

“Every four or five years, it seems like the league has one team that is totally dominant,” Johnson said. “Green Bay is one of those teams.”

The Gamblers easily had the league’s best record at a sparkling 45-10-5. Green Bay beat the Force in three of the four regular-season games by scores of 5-2, 4-3 (SO) and 5-1. Fargo’s lone win was a 3-1 score. Game 1 of the final series is set for 7:05 p.m. Friday at the Resch Center in Green Bay, with Game 2 set to start at the same time and place on Saturday.

The Force won’t be back home until Game 3 on May 7, with the puck slated to drop at 7:35 p.m. at Urban Plains Center.

If necessary, Game 4 will be at 7:05 p.m. on May 8 in Fargo, and Game 5 will be at the same time on May 12 in Green Bay.

A big question remains to be answered for Fargo as to whether or not Corey Leivermann will be available for the series.

Leivermann missed the final three games of the series against Omaha due to a concussion, and Johnson said his status is still uncertain.

“Corey wasn’t only excited for the team winning, but because he might get the chance to play in the finals,” Johnson said. “But that’s still uncertain. He’ll get involved in some activity this week and we’ll see from there.”


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