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With a new staff and core players returning, Force aim to bring championship back to Fargo

New Fargo Force head coach Nick Oliver says the key message they want to get across to the team is that each day they have to earn it, and that begins when they arrive for the preseason.

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Fargo Force’s Cole Knuble and Omaha Lancers’ Cam Mitchell battle for the puck drop on Friday, April 1, 2022, at the Scheels Arena in Fargo.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

FARGO — Last year the Fargo Force punched their ticket to the Clark Cup Playoffs as a five seed, but ultimately their run was short as they were bounced in the first round by the Omaha Lancers. Since their playoff exit, the organization has brought in a new coaching staff, but also are bringing back a number of key players from last year's team. With all the changes, the Force's eyes are still set on the prize at the end of a long season, the Clark Cup.

"I think our goal is the same as everyone else and that's to win a championship," said head coach Nick Oliver. "I don't think whether it's a new staff or anyone else I don't think that goal changes for us. I think that the biggest thing we're gonna try to get across as a staff to our group is that every single day we have to take steps forward and we have to earn it as a group."

"I'm fortunate to be coming into a situation where we return players at all three position groups," said Oliver. "There's seven or eight forwards and three or four defensemen and a goalie or two. We definitely have a good returning core. For us obviously getting Cole Knuble and Bret Link back is two of the leading scorers off of last year's team."

"I think our goal is the same as everyone else and that's to win a championship," said Oliver. "I don't think whether it's a new staff or anyone else I don't think that goal changes for us. I think that the biggest thing we're gonna try to get across as a staff to our group is that every single day we have to take steps forward and we have to earn it as a group."

2021-22 SEASON

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The Fargo Force finished last season with a .500 record, a 28-28-0-6 mark under former head coach Scott Langer. Bret Link led the team in points with 20 goals and 30 assists, but rookie Cole Knuble wasn't far behind as he finished his first season with 49 points. Andre Gasseau led the team with 22 goals. Louden Hogg played 34 games between the pipes for the Force and put up a 3.00 GAA and had a save percentage of .894.

MORE USHL COVERAGE:
One week into the season, three players made an impact at the annual Fall Classic to earn honors of forward, defenseman and goaltender of the week.
The Rink Live's Kirsten Krull spoke with Robertson about the importance of the Fall Classic, the opportunity for the players the event provides, and what's next on the calendar for the league.
From the Fall Classic, only four teams in the USHL remain undefeated after two games played.
There was no lack of action around the rink on Day 3 as we saw teams rally and two games head into OT.
Day 3 of the USHL Fall Classic saw two games go into OT, but everyone's thoughts were with team USA when NTDP's Brady Cleveland went into the boards and was stretchered off the ice in the first period against Omaha.
The first 10 teams that arrived to the Fall Classic have wrapped up their two game road trip, and some went out with a bang.
Day two of the Fall Classic is in the book, and 10 teams have completed the first two games to officially get the season underway.
"Consistency. Consistency every day," said head coach David Wilkie. "Work to get better every time they touch the ice or even in the gym." That is the goal for the team as they head into the new year.
Hear from USHL commissioner Bill Robertson about how important of an event the Fall Classic is, and get up to speed on the first five games of the USHL season.
10 teams get their first game of their season underway at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

OFFSEASON MOVES

  • On April 28, 2022 the Force announced former head coach Scott Langer and assistant coach Michael Hill would not be returning to the team.
  • On May 2, 2022 former St. Cloud State assistant coach Nick Oliver was announced as the new head coach of the Force.
  • On June 1, 2022 Chad Demers was added to the Force as associate head coach.
  • On June 23, 2022 the Force announced Carter Krier as an assistant coach and goaltending coach.

KEY PLAYERS

  • Cole Knuble was a key part of the 2021-22 team and was named to the USHL All-Rookie First Team. The Notre Dame commit put up 20 goals and 29 assists, making him second on the team in points with 49 in 62 games played.
  • Leo Gruba was taken by the Force with their first pick in the 2022 USHL Phase II Draft. Last year he was the captain for Hill-Murray High School in Minnesota, and helped the St. Cloud Norsemen to the Robertson Cup.
  • Bret Link led the Force last season with 50 points, which were made up by 20 goals and 30 assists.

ARENA NOTES

The Fargo Force play at Scheels Arena in Fargo. The arena was opened in October of 2008 and is part of the Sanford Health Athletic Park, and holds nearly 6,000 fans for games.

The Force will open their season in Pittsburgh at the Dicks Sporting Goods Fall Classic on Sept. 22 as they take on the Chicago Steel.

Related Topics: USHLFARGO FORCE
Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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