Diamonds and Ice

Floods force USHL’s Fargo Force to the road

The United States Hockey League’s Fargo Force have had their weekend home games moved from the Urban Plains Center because of record flooding that is deluging the North Dakota city.

Friday night’s game against the Tri-City Storm was moved to the Centennial Center in Grafton, N.D. The listed attendance for the game was 630.

Saturday night’s game between the teams will be played in Grand Forks, N.D., at the Purpur Arena.

“With all that is going on out there, these are just games and out there is real, it would be very distasteful for us to move forward playing these games in town.  This was not a hard decision to make, it is the right thing to do,”  Force Director of Media Andy Leapaldt told

The Force is donating $1 from every ticket sold to the local Red Cross to aid in the fight against the flood.  In addition, all concession revenues will be donated to local venues. 

“Our hearts go out to those in the Red River Valley affected by this flooding,” said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince.  “Together with the ownership, management, staff and players of the Fargo Force, we at the USHL want to thank the cities of Grafton and Grand Forks for opening their doors and being partners during this turbulent time.  Without the support and flexibility they have shown, this could not be possible.”

Stalock leads Duluth to its first WCHA championship game

How about that Alex Stalock? The former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders goaltender made 31 saves Friday night to help 12th-ranked Minnesota-Duluth to a 3-0 shutout win over No. 5 North Dakota in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament semifinals in St. Paul, Minn. The Bulldogs advance to tonight’s title game against defending champ Denver for the first time in school history.

The win followed up a 2-1 victory over Minnesota in a tournament play-in game Thursday night in which Stalock made 39 saves. The victories likely put UMD into the NCAA tournament regionals.

“Our best player was our best player (tonight),” UMD Coach Scott Sandelin said Thursday night.

Stalock, a junior who was named MVP of the Clark Cup playoffs in 2005 for the Riders, has had a superb season for Duluth. He was named first-team all-WCHA goalie this season. He has a .925 save percentage and 2.15 goals against average. Friday night was his eighth career shutout, tying the school record.

A fourth-round draft pick of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks in 2005, Stalock will likely remain at Minnesota-Duluth for his senior season before turning professional. Much of that has to do with the Sharks already having good young goaltending in their system.

“He has been having a very good season and is developing well,” Sharks scout Pat Funk said in a story on a Sharks blog.

 “He’s a real good athlete and he’s cocky but in the right way. He has that mentality where if you beat me you’re not going to beat me again … Our staff has seen him play quite a bit and we are very happy with his progress, not only as a hockey player but as a leader also.”

Word is Minnesota was recruiting Stalock – a Twin Cities native – and another goaltender five years ago, but ended up offering the other guy a scholarship. Wonder if the Gophers regret that decision now?

Alex Stalock

Alex Stalock