Ralston, Neb. - Gavin Bayreuther and Chris Dienes each registered two points Saturday evening as the Fargo Force outlasted the Omaha Lancers 3-2 in front of 3,364 fans at Ralston Arena. The win capped a weekend sweep for the Force at Ralston Arena and marked the team's ninth win in its last 10 games. Meanwhile, Omaha moved to 17-15 after the setback but remained in sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference thanks to losses by both the Des Moines Buccaneers and Tri-City Storm. The Lancers have dropped each of their last three games at home.
Omaha opened the scoring a little over seven minutes into the game when, while on the power play, Robbie Baillargeon fed a cross-ice pass to Matias Cleland on the right wing who made no mistake in driving in his fifth goal of the season. Tucker Poolman earned the secondary assist on the man-advantage marker notched 7:26 into the first period. The goal marked the 17th time in 32 games this season that the Lancers have scored first. Omaha is now 13-4 when scoring first this season and saw its run of 10 straight victories when scoring a power play goal come to an end. Fargo responded less than four minutes later to tie the game when former Lancer Kenny Gillespie won a battle for a loose puck at the side of the net before swatting in his ninth goal of the year. Gavin Bayreuther and Jordan Nelson assisted on the even strength strike landed 11:06 into the opening period of play. The goal was Gillespie's third in six games since being traded to the Force and marked the end of the evening for Lancers starting goaltender Alex Lyon who left the game with an apparent injury. With Cole Bruns in goal for Omaha, Fargo then grabbed its first lead of the night with just under two and a half minutes remaining in the period when Dienes lobbed a left point shot through traffic and inside the right post for his third goal of the season. Bayreuther grabbed the only assist on the five-on-five tally scored 17:34 into the period. The Lancers evened the game back up less than two minutes later though when Luca Frigo threw a sharp angle shot from the left wing off the right shoulder of Fargo goaltender Brendan Jensen and over the goal line. Tyler Moy and Bruns assisted on Frigo's fifth goal of the season netted 19:20 into a back-and-forth opening frame.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the second period but Fargo landed the final salvo just past the midway point of the third period when Dominic Toninato cleaned up a rebound at the right side of the goal for his 14th conversion of the season and second game-winning goal this year. Dienes garnered the only assist on the even strength tally notched 10:21 into the final period.
Jensen hung on for the victory in goal after 25 saves on 27 shots moving his overall record on the season to 13-5-1. The Force netminder is now 2-0-1 head-to-head against the Lancers. Meanwhile, Bruns suffered the loss despite 16 saves on 18 shots and is now 5-4 on the year.
The Lancers are back in action next Friday evening when the team travels to Dubuque for its first meeting of the year with the USHL-leading Fighting Saints.
Omaha - Matias Cleland (power play) (Robbie Baillargeon, Tucker Poolman) 7:26
Fargo - Kenny Gillespie (Gavin Bayreuther, Jordan Nelson) 11:06
Fargo - Chris Dienes (Gavin Bayreuther) 17:34
Omaha - Luca Frigo (Tyler Moy, Cole Bruns) 19:20
Fargo - Dominic Toninato (Chris Dienes) 10:21
Fargo - 6, 9, 5 - Total 20
Omaha - 12, 8, 7 - Total 27
Fargo - Brendan Jensen (win) 25 (27 shots)
Omaha - Alex Lyon (no decision) 1 (2 shots), Cole Bruns (loss) 16 (18 shots)