KEARNEY, Neb. – The Tri-City Storm (18-29-3) lost their third straight Sunday afternoon at the Viaero Event Center 4-3 to the Fargo Force (9-35-5). With the win, Fargo swept the weekend series between the two teams in Kearney.
Chris Wilkie notched three points, scoring a goal and two assists to add to his team leading scoring total of 31, while Cody Milan scored his second goal in as many nights.
Tri-City scored first midway through the first period when Dan Labosky found Wilkie, the North Dakota commit, sitting in front of the net for his 15th goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Fargo took advantage of a power play as Tyler Hynes netted his 15th goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
Less than a minute after the goal by Hynes, following a Storm turnover in the Fargo zone, Force forward Andrew Zerban snuck one past Storm goaltender Hayden Lavigne to give his team a 2-1 lead.
Heading into the locker room for the first intermission, Fargo had themselves a 2-1 lead.
In the second period Tri-City had a great opportunity to put the puck in the net after Zerban took a major penalty for boarding. The Storm offense had a 5-on-4 opportunity for five minutes, but couldn’t convert.
At the conclusion of the middle period, the teams left the ice without any change in score and Fargo leading 2-1 going into the third.
Tri-City only needed 52 seconds to find an equalizer in the final period. Taking advantage of a power play, Wilkie and Austin Poganski found Chase Berger diving in front of the net to tie the game.
Fargo answered back moments later as Alex Jackstadt found a rebound in front of the net and backhanded the puck through Lavigne’s legs to retake the lead at 3-2.
The Force padded their lead later in the period on a deflection in front by defensemen Tanner Jago.
With an extra attacker on the ice for Tri-City late in the third period, White Lake, Mich. native Cody Milan forced the puck into the net to cut the Force lead to 4-3.
But the Storm were unable to pull even, as their few last second opportunities in the waning moments of the game were unsuccessful.
Fargo goaltender Mathias Israelsson outdueled Lavigne for the win and finished the afternoon with 33 saves. Lavigne turned aside 34 shots of his own.
The Storm will host five more games in Kearney over the next three weeks.
Tri-City is back in action Friday night at 7:30 p.m. as they host a weekend series with the Muskegon Lumberjacks at the Viaero Event Center. Saturday’s game will start at 7:05.
Notes: The Storm scratched forwards Nolan Aibel, and Joey DiBenedetto, along with defensemen Cutler Martin Sean Lang, Fredric Larsson and Tory Dello…
Tri-City – Chris Wilkie (Dan Labosky) 11:06
Fargo – Tyler Hynes (power play) (Meirs Moore) 14:17
Fargo – Andrew Zerban (Mike Babcock) 15:05
Tri-City – Chase Berger (power play) (Austin Poganski, Chris Wilkie) 0:52
Fargo – Alex Jackstadt (unassisted) 2:43
Fargo – Tanner Jago (Teemu Kivihalme) 12:01
Tri-City – Cody Milan (Chase Berger, Chris Wilkie) 18:52
Tri-City – Donovan Gardiner – (Tripping), 2 min, 6:53
Tri-City – Chase Berger – (Holding), 2 min, 12:24
Tri-City – Ryan McMurphy – (Holding), 2 min, 15:42
Fargo – Andrew Zerban – (Boarding) (Major), 5 min, 5:04
Fargo – Andrew Zerban – (Boarding) (Game Misconduct), 10 min, 5:04
Fargo – Hunter Warner – (Cross Checking), 2 min, 13:04
Tri-City – Bench Minor – (Too many men), 2 min, 14:19
Fargo – Mikey Eyssimont – (Charging), 2 min, 19:56
Fargo – Garrick Gray – (Cross Checking), 2 min, 6:37
Tri-City – Cody Milan – (High Sticking), 2 min, 7:19
Tri-City – Dan Labosky – (Cross Checking), 2 min, 15:45
Tri-City – 1/6
Fargo: 14, 11, 13, = Total: 38
Tri-City: 7, 11, 18, = Total: 36
Fargo – Mathias Israelsson – 33/36
Tri-City – Hayden Lavigne – 34/38