OMAHA, NE. - The Lancers kicked off a best-of-three series at home tonight (4/25) against the Fargo Force.
The Lancers finished 6-3 against Fargo during the regular season, but fell in three of the final four meetings, including a 7-1 loss at Scheels Arena back on April 2nd.
It only took the Lancers 3:34 into the first period to find the back of the net as Morgan Winters redirected a shot from Tucker Shedd that beat Fargo goaltender Matej Marinov five-hole to take the early 1-0 lead. Ethan Elias grabbed the secondary assist on that one.
It was not until the closing minutes of the second period when the Lancers struck again.
Michael Cameron fell in the corner, but was able to slip the puck to Cam Mitchell behind the net. Nate Benoit saw a hole in the Fargo defense and creeped into the high slot. Mitchell immediately hit him with a pass that he whipped over the blocker of Marinov to send the Lancers to the locker room up 2-0.
The third period resulted in back and forth play and five goals in total between the two teams.
It started with Jared Wright pulling the Lancers up 3-0 as he beat Marinov under the glove off feeds from Ethan Elias and Matt Romer just 1:45 into the period, giving them a power-play goal.
Three minutes later, Trevor Griebel netted one for Fargo after some tic-tac-toe passing from JP Turner and Thomas Weis, sending the puck by the glove of Kevin Pasche.
Griebel cut the Lancers' lead to 3-1, but the Lancers only took 40 seconds to get it back.
Winters knocked a puck loose during a battle in front of the Fargo net, which found the stick of Cameron. Cameron slid the puck over to Mitchell who slammed home a one-timer in the bottom corner of Marinov's net, pulling the Lancers back up by three, making it a 4-1 game with just under 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
Just over the halfway mark of the period, Fargo cut the Omaha lead back down to two with a beautiful redirect goal from Thomas Weis off a shot from Griebel. Making the final half of the third more intense, as the Force had made it a game.
After six minutes of the Lancers leading 4-2, Fargo pulled Marinov from the net for the extra attacker with just over two minutes remaining.
Vincent Salice found a loose puck near his own blue line and sent it the distance into the open net to seal the 5-2 victory. As the Lancers can punch their ticket to the second round of the playoffs with a victory tomorrow (4/26).
The Lancers will be back at Liberty First Credit Union Arena for game two of round one tomorrow, April 26th for another 7:05PM CST. puck drop with the Force. That game can be caught on HockeyTV and Mixlr.