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Weston Hodkiewicz (Green Bay Gazette), Published May 01 2010

USHL Playoffs: Massa records 35 saves as Force shutout Gamblers

ASHWAUBENON, Wisc. – Fargo Force goalie Ryan Massa’s glove spelled doom for the Green Bay Gamblers.

Even though Green Bay outshot the Force 35-23 in Game 1 of the best-of-5 USHL Clark Cup Finals on Friday, Massa stopped every shot. His performance sparked Fargo to 2-0 victory before 3,466 fans at the Resch Center.

“My job in the playoffs is to give my team a chance to win,” Massa said. “We’re going to enjoy this for about 10 minutes and as we walk back to the hotel, we’re already gearing up for Game 2 (today).”

After the Game 1 loss, Green Bay head coach Jon Cooper wasn’t panicking.

The Gamblers are set to host Game 2 today.

“I can’t sit here and say we didn’t have our chances because we did … but that’s why it’s a five-game series.” said Cooper, whose team was shut out for only the fifth time this season and first time since March 13. “It’s not one and done, we’ll be ready to battle tomorrow.”

While Green Bay outshot Fargo in both the first and second periods, Massa gave the Force breathing room, controlling rebounds and maintaining position.

Massa’s impenetrability – 32 shots turned aside in two periods – allowed the Force offense to bide their time until they scored twice in roughly a 1 minute stretch. Both goals came off a pair of in-front-of-the-net efforts from forwards Garrett Allen and Colten St. Clair near the end of the second period.

Gamblers goalie Steve Summerhays suffered only his second loss at the Resch Center over the past two seasons.

“He’s been the best goaltender in the league all year and you really have to work on him to score goals,” Force coach Steve Johnson said. “Colten’s goal was kind of a bouncing puck that found its way in, and Steve (Summerhays) probably had a little bit of bad luck on that one.”

Johnson was fully aware that Green Bay rallied from a 1-0 series deficit in its last series and was hedging his bets off Friday’s win.

Especially since Fargo won Game 1 against Indiana in the Cup Clark Finals last year, but then dropped the next three as the Ice won the title.

“Our guys understand that this game doesn’t mean anything now,” said Johnson, who is in his first year as the team’s head coach. “A Game 1 win means nothing. Indy found that out during the last series against Green Bay and our guys found that out last year in the finals. We know we’ll get their best shot. They’re a great team and we know they’ll be great (today).”

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, F, Allen (Leitner), 14:13. 2, F, St. Clair (Yevenko), 15:20.

THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.

SAVES: F, Massa 13-19-3–35. GB, Summerhays 8-7-6–21.