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Chris Murphy, Published October 11 2012

Force edge Indiana at home

FARGO – Michael Booth picked a good time to score his first and second career goals for the Fargo Force, netting both in the third period of a 6-5 win over Indiana in front of 3,162 at Scheels Arena on Thursday in United States Hockey League action.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” Booth said. “It was just adapting to the USHL speed. It took some time, and I’m just glad to finally score.”

Booth’s pair of goals were part of a three-goal final frame for Fargo (2-2), as the Force held off an Indiana (2-3) squad that outshot them 42-27 and scored three power-play goals.

“When you give up 42 shots, you aren’t playing very well defensively,” Fargo coach John Marks said. “I didn’t think we played very well. Our execution wasn’t that good. We have to have more consistent play by everybody. It just wasn’t there.”

The Force executed a 3-on-2 to perfection eight minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead. Brendan Harms led the charge, dished right to Jordan Nelson and Nelson found Dominic Toninato for the goal. The celebration didn’t last long, as Indiana tied things up when Joe Fiala fired on net with traffic in front to make it 1-1.

Ninety-four seconds later, Indiana took the lead on a power-play goal from Austin Ortega. Fargo tied things up less than two minutes later when Harms found Toninato again to make it 2-2.

“You just have to stay positive,” Toninato said. “We were scoring, but they were scoring as well, but winning is the best thing and we did that. It’s always good to get one at home.”

Fargo hasn’t found ways to score on the power play, coming into the game 1-for-10 with an extra skater.

But the Force scored when their opponent was on the power play. A loose puck turned into a 3-on-1 for the short-handed Force and Dave Gust found Gabe Guertler and Guertler somehow found the back of the net before time expired, giving the Force the 3-2 lead and momentum with 0.7 seconds remaining in the first period.

Indiana knotted things at 3-3 on another power-play goal less than three minutes into the second period when Robbie Baillargeon lit the lamp off an assist from Matthew Krug.

Brian Morgan fired in a loose puck to give Indiana a 4-3 lead less than two minutes into the third period.

But just more than a minute a later, the Force struck again shorthanded when Nate Arentz jumped a pass on the defensive side and scored on an empty net, after blowing by goaltender Dalton Izyk, who came out to play the puck.

Booth’s power-play goal made it 5-4 two minutes later and his redirect five minutes after that made it 6-4. Woody Hudson scored on a redirect with a little less than eight minutes to play to make it 6-5, but Fargo held on, as Cam Johnson made 14 of his 37 saves in the third period.

“It’s a learning experience,” Marks said. “The real positive is we got two points. A win is a win. It doesn’t say a win and then ‘ugly’ beside it on the score sheet. We’ll certainly take that.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1. F, Toninato (Harms, Nelson) 11:52. 2. I, Fiala (Morgan) 15:01. 3. I, Ortega (Pham), pp, 16:34. 4. F, Toninato (Harms, Nelson) 17:50. 5. Guertler (Gust, Fleming) 19:59.

SECOND PERIOD: 6. I, Baillargeon (Krug, Izyk), pp, 2:30.

THIRD PERIOD: 7. I, Morgan 1:24. 8. F, Arentz 2:36. 9. F, Booth (Iafallo, Gust), pp, 4:33. 10. F, Booth (Ghafari, Guertler) 9:11. 11. I, Hudson (Krug), pp, 12:01.

SAVES: F, Johnson 11-12-14 37 saves. I, Izyk 9-8-4 21 saves.

A: 3,162.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548