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Tom Mix, Published February 02 2013

Lancers top Force, sweep weekend series

FARGO – The Fargo Force scored a goal 49 seconds into regulation on Saturday.

The only problem was Fargo’s inability to score the rest of the 59 minutes, 11 seconds of the game.

Fargo dropped a 2-1 United States Hockey League game to Omaha before 4,051 fans at Scheels Arena.

It was a hard-luck night for the Force, who outshot the Lancers 45-29 in the loss. After giving up the early goal to Force forward Jordan Nelson, Omaha goalie Alex Lyon stopped 44 shots.

“He was the difference, no question,” Omaha head coach Mike Aikens said of Lyon, who is from Baudette, Minn. “Fargo was the better team tonight, but Alex hung in there for us. There wasn’t a lot of spectacular saves, but he was solid.”

The victory gave Omaha (25-17-0) the series sweep. Fargo (24-13-5) is now 2-4-2 against the Lancers this season.

“You got to give Lyon a lot of credit,” Force head coach John Marks said. “We put 84 shots on goal in two games and he only gave up three goals. A lot of times we were not putting enough traffic in front of him, and when we did the puck didn’t go in for us.

“We got to get hungrier in front of the net.”

The Lancers answered Nelson’s goal late in the first period when Gage Hough got a shot past Force goalie Brendan Jensen.

Matias Cleland scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal at the 17:47 mark of the second period.

Fargo outshot the Lancers 16-8 in the third period, but was unable to get the equalizer.

“I think we outplayed them tonight,” Marks said. “They got a couple fortunate ones when you look at them.”

Lyon had visible discomfort in his left leg midway through the third period prompting a visit from the trainer, but he remained between the pipes the rest of the way.

“That is the type of game that your goalie is going to have to win it for you,” Aikens said. “I’m proud of our guys for battling. It was one of those games where a bounce or break was going to be the difference.”

Jensen made 27 saves for the Force.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, F, Nelson, (Fleming), :49. 2, O, Hough, (Gaudreau, Cleland), 18:44.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, F, Cleland, (Randolph, Baillargeon), 17:47.

THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.

SAVES: O, Lyon 11-17-16–44. F, Jensen 10-9-8–27.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562