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Published April 07 2012

Force rebound to defeat Sioux Falls

FARGO – Leaning back in his chair, John Marks realized his team’s situation isn’t that bad after all.

Marks’ moment of clarity came after the Fargo Force rebounded from a lackluster game on Friday to win 5-1 over the Sioux Falls Stampede on Saturday at Scheels Arena.

“Here I am complaining, and I shouldn’t be,” Marks said. “We’re 4-1-1 in our last six games. That’s not bad at all.”

Marks’ tune changes a full 24 hours after the Force (31-22-6) lost in a shootout to the Stampede (17-35-6), which have the worst record in the Western Conference.

The game led Marks to speak with team captain Brian Cooper, who parlayed their discussion into a team meeting.

Forwards Dave Gust and Gabe Guertler said the point of the meeting was well-received, and it showed with the Force opening with four unanswered goals.

“He wanted us to know that we aren’t a light switch,” said Guertler, who scored the team’s third goal. “We can’t just turn it on and off when we feel. We have to be better than that.”

The Force were better compared to Friday, when they didn’t score until the third period.

North Dakota commit Bryn Chyzyk opened the Force’s scoring in the first, and was followed by Gust and Guertler later in the second.

Gust, who scored the first goal of the second, set up Guertler’s goal later in the frame.

“I just heard Gabe screaming that he was behind me,” Gust said of his assist. “If I didn’t hear him, we probably don’t score that goal.”

The Force also got goals from Minnesota-Duluth commit Dominic Toninato and forward Pavel Zykov. It was the first USHL goals for both Toninato and Zykov.

Marks said he was pleased with how Toninato has played the last few games and was pleased with how Zykov played this whole weekend.

Toninato isn’t eligible for the playoffs because he’s not on the team’s postseason roster. Zykov, who is from Russia, is eligible and it appears he’s he’s ready to be in the playoffs.

And as Marks put it, Zykov is showing more than some of his teammates.

“Pavel played hard last night, and that’s why he played again tonight,” Marks said. “Some guys didn’t play hard and that’s why they’re in the stands. It’s going to be interesting to see how some guys respond next weekend with the playoffs starting on Monday.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1. F, Chyzyk (Farley), 17:33.

SECOND PERIOD: 2. F, Gust (Iafallo), 1:51 3. F, Guertler (Gust), 8:44. 4. F, Toninato (Brodzinski), 14:25 5. SF, Solyakin (McLaughlin, Rankin), 19:01. THIRD PERIOD: 6. Zykov (Goff), en., 15:19

SAVES: F, Gothberg 6-8-11 25 saves; SF, Lindgren 9-11-10 30 saves.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com