(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography)
The Fargo Force were scheduled to open their USHL preseason against the Sioux Falls Stampede. That did not happen as two people of the Stampede’s traveling party tested positive for Covid-19, and out of an abundance of caution the game against them was canceled.
That did not mean fans did not get to see some action though. The 2020-2021 Fargo Force played a free intrasquad scrimmage where the black team won 5 to 2, scoring the final five markers unanswered.
Some players stood out in this one, and will need to for this team to get far in a tough Western Conference this season. Grant Slukynsky (Northern Michigan) drove play up front for the blue team with his speed, and played with a bit more physical snarl in his game than we saw at the state tournament. He contrinuted an assist on the first goal of the night, a Jake Braccini (Minnesota) wrister from the slot. A few minutes later, Cade Stibbe (Arizona State) found the back of the net as his shot squeaked off Jack Peart’s (St. Cloud State) leg and into the net. The blue team had the better of play for most of the first half.
However, spurred on by some blue team penalties, the Black team answered back with two late period goals to tie things before the second 23 minute half. Huston Karpman and Tristan Broz (Minnesota) would tie things up. Broz’s goal came off a back door feed on a five-on three power play with about 8 seconds left in the first frame.
In the second half, the black team ran the show as Kyle Smolen would contribute the game winner before Mckay Hayes and and Jackson Borst would provide the final margin. This game allowed a lot of players, from key cogs, to affiliates who may see time later on to get their first gameday experience. Every player added some things to their tape for revew, most good, and some moments to improve upon. Such is an intrasquad exhibition. Look for more from this Force team as they work to narrow their roster down to their main players who will carry the way most of the year.
The flashes of brilliance showed by players like Smolen who was all over the ice in a positive manner, along with Sluykynsky show the potential of this team. They have a few more exhibition skirmishes before the regular season 2020-2021 campaign commences.
Photos (Credit Kelsey Lee of Violet Turtle Photography): https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=VioletTurtlephotography&set=a.1402695903262316