Ralston, Neb. - The Omaha Lancers registered four goals from four different goal scorers Friday evening and Alex Lyon registered 31 saves en route to a 4-2 victory over the Fargo Force in front of 3,671 fans at Ralston Arena. The victory was Omaha's fifth straight as the team moved to 22-16 on the year and maintained sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference with 44 standings points. The Lancers are now 4-2 in their season series with Fargo as the Force suffered just their third setback in the last 16 games.
Omaha opened the scoring with a pair of goals just 42 seconds apart in the first period. First, the Lancers landed the game's opening goal when, while on the power play, Robbie Baillargeon found Tucker Poolman at the top of the goal crease who made no mistake in chipping in his league-leading 10th power play goal of the season. Matias Cleland earned the secondary assist on the man-advantage marker netted 13:17 into the opening period, which marked the 21st time in 38 games this season that Omaha has scored first. The Lancers are now 16-5 when scoring first this season and are also now 16-5 when netting a power play goal this year. Omaha then doubled its lead less than a minute later when a perfectly executed two-on-one between Tyler Moy and Ryan Tait resulted in Tait's second goal of the season. Drew Melanson earned the secondary assist on the even strength strike buried 13:59 into the first frame. The Force trimmed the lead with less than five minutes remaining in the period when, during another Lancers power play, Fargo's Brendan Harms darted out on a shorthanded breakaway before burying his 15th goal of the season and the Force's league-leading 10th shorthanded goal of the year. The unassisted tally came 15:45 into the second period and was the 10th shorthanded goal surrendered by the Lancers this season and fourth given up in the season series with Fargo.
The Force evened the contest just past the midway point of the second period when Harms converted his second goal of the game and 16th of the season thanks to a three-on-two transition rush. Alex Iafallo and Taylor Fleming assisted on the five-on-five goal scored 10:56 into the middle stanza. Omaha regained the lead for good though with just over three minutes left in the period when Dominic Racobaldo launched a perfect stretch pass to Jake Randolph on the left wing who fired in his eighth goal of the season and first game-winning strike of the year.
The Lancers added an insurance marker early in the third period after Tait curled off the right wing before finding a slashing Melanson on the left wing for Melanson's seventh goal of the year. Racobaldo earned the secondary assist on the game's final tally netted 2:20 into the third period.
Lyon earned his fourth straight victory in goal for the Lancers after 31 saves on 33 Force shots. With the win, the veteran goaltender moved to 16-11 on the year and is now 3-1 head-to-head against Fargo. Meanwhile, Force netminder Brendan Jensen suffered the setback after 25 saves on 29 Lancers shots. Jensen is now 2-1-1 against Omaha this season and 16-7-1 overall.
The Lancers are back in action tomorrow evening when they welcome the Waterloo Black Hawks to Ralston Arena for a 7:05 PM showdown.
Omaha - Tucker Poolman (power play) (Robbie Baillargeon, Matias Cleland) 13:17
Omaha - Ryan Tait (Tyler Moy, Drew Melanson) 13:59
Fargo - Brendan Harms (shorthanded) (unassisted) 15:45
Fargo - Brendan Harms (Alex Iafallo, Taylor Fleming) 10:56
Omaha - Jake Randolph (Dominic Racobaldo, Alex Lyon) 16:46
Omaha - Drew Melanson (Ryan Tait, Dominic Racobaldo) 2:20
Fargo - 13, 8, 12 - Total 33
Omaha - 10, 12, 7 - Total 29
Fargo - Brendan Jensen (loss) 25 (29 shots)
Omaha - Alex Lyon (win) 31 (33 shots)