Photo by Hickling Images
The Fargo Force are 2018 Clark Cup Champions, defeating the Youngstown Phantoms 4-2 Saturday night in Game 4 of the 2018 Clark Cup Final at Covelli Centre. Ty Farmer tallied the game-winning goal on a partial breakaway with just under four minutes remaining. The Force won the best-of-five series 3-1 to claim the first Clark Cup championship in team history.
Northern Michigan commit Griffin Loughran was named 2018 Clark Cup Playoffs MVP after recording seven goals and three assists in 13 postseason games. Goaltender Strauss Mann stopped 26 of 28 shots faced.
Neither team lit the lamp in a first period that saw Fargo outshoot Youngstown by an 11-8 margin.
Evan Bell opened the scoring at the 5:15 mark of the second period, firing in a one-time shot from the top of the right circle off a feed from Robbie Stucker. The Force then doubled the lead at 14:45 when Garrett Van Wyhe deflected a Spencer Meier shot at the side of the crease.
The Phantoms got on the board prior to the second intermission thanks to Matthew Barry. The Holy Cross commit jammed in a stick-side rebound of a Steve Holtz blast from the right point. The Force held a 2-1 lead at the second intermission, outshooting the Phantoms 13-8 in the middle frame.
Youngstown’s Curtis Hall tied the game early in the third period. After receiving a drop pass along the left wing from Chase Gresock, Hall fired a shot up high and in at 3:43.
At the 16:06 mark, Farmer recording the Clark Cup-winning goal, skating into the Youngstown zone, splitting through a pair of defenders and firing a shot past Phantoms netminder Ivan Prosvetov’s glove.
Prosvetov went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker late in the game but Mann held his ground. Force captain Mark Senden fired a shot from the defensive blue line into the empty net with 0.7 seconds remaining to seal the 4-2 victory.
Fargo outshot Youngstown 35-28 in the contest. The Force are the third-consecutive team (Chicago Steel, 2017; Tri-City Storm, 2016) to win a Clark Cup for the first time in team history.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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