Mike Lee registered 33 saves and Matt Leitner chipped in a goal and two assists as the Fargo Force doubled up the Omaha Lancers 4-2 Saturday evening in Game 2 of the West Division Semifinals. The Force now lead the best-of-five series two games to none with Game 3 scheduled for tomorrow evening in Fargo.
Omaha opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period when Danny Kristo threw a right wing wrist shot off the leg of Fargo defenseman Jake Areshenko and past goaltender Mike Lee giving the Lancers a 1-0 edge. Matt White and Joe Lavin garnered assists on the power play marker notched 10:10 into the opening period. That goal marked the first time in nine meetings with Fargo this season that Omaha had registered the game’s opening tally. The Force responded roughly six minutes later, however, as Andy Taranto pumped in his third goal of the series with a power play goal 16:07 into the frame. Omaha goaltender Kris Lazaruk got a piece of the Taranto wrister but not enough as the puck rolled across the goal line evening the game at one apiece. Colten St. Clair and Areshenko grabbed assists on the equalizing marker.
The Lancers regained the lead 6:43 into the 2nd period when Louis Leblanc flipped a shorthanded shot to the slot which deflected off a Fargo stick and into the back of the net. Lavin and Pat Mullane assisted on Omaha’s first shorthanded goal of the playoffs following 16 shorthanded markers during the regular year. The lead was short lived, however, as Fargo answered back just three minutes later as Johnnie Searfoss ripped in his first goal of the series following a brilliant set-up by Leitner. Oleg Lee earned the secondary assist as the game remained tied at two through two periods.
Fargo grabbed the eventual game-winning goal just 1:19 into the 3rd period when St. Clair chipped in a 5-on-3 power play goal just up and under the crossbar. Leitner and Taranto assisted on Fargo’s second power play strike of the game and third of the series. The Force landed the knockout punch with 30 seconds left in the contest when Leitner buried an unassisted empty net goal sealing the 4-2 victory.
Lee was brilliant in goal once again for the Force as he turned aside 33 of Omaha’s 35 total shots. Lazaruk suffered the loss in goal for the Lancers despite 26 saves on 29 shots.
The Lancers are back in action tomorrow evening for Game 3 as they look to stave off elimination in Game 3 at the Urban Plains Center in Fargo.
story courtesy of lancers.com