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Ryan S. Clark, Published September 14 2010

USHL: Herter gets a look at Force, wants players to get physical

All the TV cameras were out Monday to record what new Fargo Force coach Jason Herter had to say.

The hit 6-7 Oleg Yevenko used to lay out 5-11 Nate Arentz during practice pretty much said it all. Yevenko’s hit sent one of Arentz’s arms and legs over the bench.

“I just hope that gets contagious,” Herter said of the hit. “I can get excited watching someone hit someone else on TV or in a boxing match. I hope that physicality and the will to compete like Oleg showed rubs off.”

The Force held its first practice with Herter, who was hired Saturday just days after former coach Steve Johnson left to become an assistant at St. Cloud State.

It was the first of 18 practices before the Force open exhibition play Sept. 22. By that time, the Force will cut its training camp roster from 26 players to 23.

Judging by Yevenko’s hit on Arentz, training camp might be tough. The team was working on game situation drills.

Arentz, a first-year forward with the team, was skating down the boards.

“We were on a 2-on-2 and I knew Olie was going to step on me,” said Arentz, who is from Lakeville, Minn. “I was trying to go wide and tried to beat him but I got smoked.”

The hit grabbed a few “oohs” from the small crowd at the arena.

It made Force public relations person Whitney Baumgartner shield her face so Arentz’s stick wouldn’t hit her face.

Yevenko, who is from Belarus, smiled a little when he was asked about the hit.

“It was a game situation and I just played like I would in a game,” said Yevenko, who is entering his second year with the team. “After the hit, I just tried to get back to thinking about practice. There’s nothing to be proud of.”

Yevenko might be modest. His hit, however, was an example of what Herter was looking for from this team.

“You are allowed to hit in hockey, it is a physical sport,” Herter said. “If you letup in practice, you let up in a game. That’s not good for the offensive or defensive players.”

ON THE FLY: Jon Kram was hired Monday as the new general manager of the Urban Plains Center and the Force. Kram had been a district team leader for the Target Corporation. He replaces Lance Johnson, who resigned from the position.

Force’s schedule

October

1-at Chicago. 2-at Green Bay.

9-at Cedar Rapids. 10-at Sioux City. 15-Chicago. 16-Muskegon. 21-Youngstown. 23-Sioux Falls. 29- at Omaha. 30-at Sioux Falls.

November

5-at Tri-City. 6-at Lincoln. 7-at Omaha. 10-Sioux City. 12-Cedar Rapids. 13-Omaha. 19-at Sioux Falls. 20-at Waterloo. 26-Lincoln. 27-Green Bay.

December

3-Sioux City. 4-Sioux City. 10-at Lincoln. 11-at Tri-City. 17-Team USA. 18-Sioux Falls. 29-at Dubuque. 31-at Sioux City.

January

1-at Sioux Falls. 7-Waterloo.

8-Dubuque. 13-at Omaha. 14-at Sioux City. 17-Sioux Falls. 21-Tri-City. 22-Tri-City. 26-at Omaha.

28-at Des Moines. 29-at Lincoln.

Feburary

4-Omaha. 5-Omaha. 12-at Indiana. 13-at Muskegon. 18-at Lincoln. 19-at Tri-City. 25-at Sioux City. 26-Lincolon.

March

4-at Youngstown. 6-Team USA at Ann Arbor. 9-Sioux Falls. 11-Lincoln. 12-Lincoln. 18-Tri-City. 19-Tri-City. 26-at Tri-City. 27-at Sioux Falls. 31-Des Moines.

April

2-Indiana. 8-Omaha. 9-Sioux City.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548