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Chris Murphy, Published November 16 2012

Force fall at home to Omaha in shootout

FARGO – It was fitting that a game honoring former Fargo North goaltender Nick Schmit with an auction to help pay for his medical bills from a boating accident over the summer came down to the ultimate pressure-packed situation for a goalie – a shootout.

Unfortunately for Fargo, the good deed was the only good thing to come out of Friday’s United States Hockey League game versus Omaha.

The Lancers downed the Force 3-2 with a shootout win in front of 3,989 fans at Scheels Arena, ending the chance for the Force to get a season-high three-game winning streak.

Omaha (7-9) made quick work of Fargo in the shootout, as Tyler Moy and Kyle Osterberg scored on the Lancers’ first two shots and Lancers goaltender Alex Lyon stuffed one Force shot and watched another go wide.

It was a rude welcome home for Fargo (7-6-3) after two weeks on the road.

“We played the game like some of the guys didn’t care tonight,” Fargo coach John Marks said. “We could have gotten beat by every team in the league tonight. No energy. Intensity level was poor. Extremely disappointed in our performance.”

Lyon was lights out through the first two periods, stopping all 14 shots that came his way, but Fargo lit the lamp twice from two unsuspecting sources in the third to push the game to overtime. Coming into Friday’s game, Nate Arentz and Matthew Pohlkamp had four goals combined, but both found the back of the net in the third to give the Force hope.

“It’s really frustrating,” said Arentz, who tied the game just more than eight minutes into the third. “We started off slow and, as the game went on, we started picking up the momentum. We’ll be better tomorrow.

“Rebound goals don’t happen every night. It’s kind of lucky, but we need to just come out strong tomorrow.”

The first period was headed toward a scoreless finish until Frank Schumacher fired a shot on net with the man advantage that was stopped by Fargo goalie Cameron Johnson. Connor Chatham, however, was there to clean up, firing the rebound into the back of the net and giving Omaha a 1-0 lead with just 71 seconds remaining in the period.

Omaha struck again on the power play in the second period. Jake Randolph was in the right place at the right time, putting a stick on and finding the back of a bouncing puck from Matias Cleland that hit off the pad of Johnson with just over 12 minutes gone by in the second period to make it

2-0.

According to Marks, the alphabet is just long enough for what a team that was in the penalty box seven times needs to change.

“I could start at ‘A’ and end at ‘Z’,” Marks said. “How about some intensity? We could use that.”

Fargo will get a chance for a quick turnaround, as the Force take on Omaha again tonight at Scheels Arena.

FIRST PERIOD: 1. O, Chatham (Schumacher), pp, 18:49.

SECOND PERIOD: 2. O, Randolph (Cleland), pp, 12:14.

THIRD PERIOD: 3. F, Pohlkamp, 3:16. 4. F, Arentz, 8:08.

OVERTIME: no scoring.

SHOOTOUT: 5. O, Osterberg. SAVES: F, Johnson 9-7-8-2 26 saves. O, Lyon 7-7-9-1 24 saves.

A– 3,989.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548