Preview: Storm Return Home for First Matchup with Fargo
Kearney, NE - The Tri-City Storm faceoff against the Fargo Force for the first time this season tonight at the Viaero Center in Kearney. The Storm return home after dropping back to back games on the road last weekend against Waterloo. Tri-City and Fargo play the first game in a four game season series tonight.
Opponent: Fargo Force
Tickets: Online or by calling (308) 338-8144
Promotion: Mascot Olympics
Game Time: 7:35 PM CT
Broadcast: Watch: HockeyTV Listen: The Breeze 94.5 FM or Online
Tri-City (23-11-1-1) enters tonight's game as the 4th place team in the Western Conference standings. The Storm are only two points out of 1st place in the USHL standings. The top 5 teams in the Western Conference are separated by only five points in the standings. With just two months remaining until the 2018 Clark Cup Playoffs, teams across the league are battling for playoff positioning. Tonight's matchup against Fargo is a big game for the Storm, as Fargo trails Tri-City by only two points in the standings. Tri-City has won five of its last 10 games, while Fargo has won only three. The Fargo Force were the 1st place team in the USHL standings for much of December & January but have recently fallen a few spots in the league standings. Tri-City will look to climb back to the top of the Western Conference standings starting with tonight's matchup against Fargo. Storm Captain Brian Hawkinson will miss tonight's game, as he serves a one game league suspension stemming from a major penalty for kneeing last Saturday night in the Storm's 4-2 loss to the Waterloo Black Hawks. Tyler Madden continues to lead the Storm this season in scoring, with 11 goals and 22 points on the year. Tri-City's assists leader is Bryan Yoon, who has recorded 18 assists during the 2017-2018 campaign. Despite losing both games last weekend, Filip Larsson continues to lead the USHL in several statistical categories. Larsson has the best GAA (1.57), Save Percentage (.943%) in the league and also leads the USHL in most shutouts recorded by a goaltender this season with six. Larsson is tied for the league lead in wins with 16.
Fargo (20-13-2-4) travels to Kearney for the first time this season, and trails the Storm by only one game in the league standings. The Force have found success on the road this season, winning 12 of 17 games away from Scheels Arena this season. Despite only winning one of its last seven games, Fargo still remains within striking distance of the top spot in the USHL league standings. The Force enter tonight's matchup with the Storm trailing 1st place Waterloo by only four points. Both specialty units for Fargo are in the top half of the league, with the Force penalty kill ranked 8th in the USHL, and the Force power play ranked 3rd. Goalies Strauss Mann and Ryan Bischel have shared the net this season, with Mann playing in two additional games. Mann leads the team with 11 wins and a 2.11 GAA. Bischel has compiled 9 wins on the season and has a 2.36 GAA. Each Fargo goalie enters tonight's game with two shutouts on the season. Fargo's goals leader is Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, who has provided 17 goals to the Force offense this season. Schmidt-Svejstrup represented Denmark in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, NY last month and was named to the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game roster. However, Schmidt-Svejstrup did not compete in the event due to an undisclosed injury and has not appeared in a game with Fargo since January 6th. Grant Hebert is currently leading the team with 34 points, and also is the team's assists leader with 23 on the year.
Tonight's broadcast will begin at 7:15pm CT on HockeyTV and the Breeze 94.5FM. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35pm CT.
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