Chris Murphy, Published October 27 2012
Force suffer first home loss of the seasonFARGO – Fargo partied like it was 2008 Friday, celebrating the team’s fifth anniversary with throwback jerseys and festivities in front of 3,661 at Scheels Arena.
Unfortunately for the Fargo, Chicago ruined the party by beating the Force 4-3 in United States Hockey League action and handing the Force their first home loss of the season.
On a night when Fargo (4-4-2) outshot its opponent for just the third time all season and found the back of the net twice on three tries on the power play, Chicago was one goal better. Or so it would seem.
“No disrespect, but we’re a better team than Chicago,” Fargo coach John Marks said. “They’re a good team, but we’re a better team. We didn’t play very well. From the very start of the game we didn’t play with urgency. The goals we gave up were way too easy.”
Chicago scored a pair of goals in the first to set the stage. Less than seven minutes in, Steel forward Christian Dvorak found Christina Heil deep in the slot to make it 1-0.
With 73 seconds remaining in the first period, Heil struck again when Ray Pigozzi found him for his second goal, 29 seconds into the team’s first power play to make it 2-0.
After stopping the first 25 shots that came near him, Chicago goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos finally let one through with 21 seconds left in the second period. Dave Gust fired on net from just inside the blue line dureing a Fargo power play and forward Gabe Guertler stuffed it home and got the Force on the board.
Fargo scored its second power-play goal less than five minutes into the third period when a Justin Wade’s slap shot didn’t make it to the net, but Brendan Harms was able to settle it, spin on his defender and rifle it home to tie things at 2.
“It was a battle, that’s for sure,” Harms said. “We battled back in the third, broke down in the end and that’s how they got ahead. It’s not fun losing at home or at all for that matter. We just have to take the positives. We did some good things out there and we did some bad things. We need to look at the negatives and work on them in practice and get better.”
Stanislav Dzakhov was guilty of one of the bad things, committing an unnecessary roughing penalty right in front of the referee with the game tied at 2 and just over five minutes remaining.
“That’s an ego-satisfying penalty right there,” Marks said. “You can’t go punch a guy right in front of the referee and expect not to get a call. In a 2-2 game with five minutes to go, you can’t do that. Whether you’re (ticked) off or not, you can’t do that. That’s putting yourself ahead of the situation.”
Chicago (6-2-1) made Fargo pay when Jaccob Slavin fired from the point and Thomas Ebbing sent the rebound home to make it 3-2 with just under four minutes remaining. Alex Roos would give the Steel a cushion, scoring with just under two minutes to go to make it 4-2.
Taylor Fleming made it exciting, scoring with 67 seconds left in regulation to make it a one goal game, but Fargo could not get the equalizer, dropping their first home game before heading on the road for the next five games where the team is 0-3-2.
FIRST PERIOD: 1. C, Heil (Dvorak) 6:36. 2. C, Heil (Pigozzi), pp, 18:47.
SECOND PERIOD: 3. F, Guertler (Racobaldo, Gust), pp, 19:39.
THIRD PERIOD: 4, F, Harms (Gust, Wade), pp, 4:35. 5, C, Ebbing (Slavin), pp, 16:02. 6, C, Roos, 18:09. 7. F, Fleming 18:53.
SAVES: F, Jensen 7-3-8 18 saves. C, Sakellaropoulos 9-16-8 33 saves.