Storm News

2016-17 Game 48 Preview: Fargo at Tri-City

Posted 2 years 137 days ago ago by David Fine

Ag Appreciation Night, $5 Kids Friday

Kearney, Neb. – The Tri-City Storm (16-24-5-2, 39 pts., 7th Western) celebrates what makes Central Nebraska great on Ag Appreciation Night, presented by AseraCare, Friday at 7:05 p.m. against the Fargo Force (27-15-3-1, 58 pts., 4th Western). The Storm hosts the Force on consecutive nights. Friday’s game is also a $5 Kids Friday, presented by Kearney Taco Bell. All kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free taco and soft drink. 

The last time Tri-City and Fargo matched at the Viaero Center, the Storm clinched the Western Conference regular season title, its second ever, on April 2, 2016. 

This season, the Storm has earned points in both games against the Force (1-0-0-1). Tri-City split a pair of games last weekend.

Slumberland presents the annual Teddy Bear Toss as the Storm plays Fargo Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Bring your own teddy bears from home and throw them on the ice after Tri-City’s first goal.

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Viaero Wireless Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.
Radio: The Breeze 94.5 FM | Listen Live | 
Mobile: Free audio on your mobile device with the Tri-City Storm Mobile App (iPhone App Store // Google Play)
Streaming Video: Pay-to-watch on
Social@TriCityStorm for in-game updates and broadcaster @RealDavidFine 

Upcoming Schedule (Download here).
Fri., March 3 vs. Fargo, 7:05 p.m. (Ag Appreciation Night, $5 Kids Friday)
Sat., March 4 vs. Fargo, 7:05 p.m. (Teddy Bear Toss)
Fri. March 10 at Madison, 7:05 p.m.
Sat., March 11 at Madison, 7:05 p.m.
Fri., March 17 vs. Muskegon, 7:05 p.m. (St. Patrick’s Day, $1 Coors, $5 Kids Friday)
Sat., March 18 vs. Muskegon, 7:05 p.m. (Sammy’s Superheroes Night, Cape giveaway to 1,000 kids, special jerseys)

Family connections
Nicholas Nardella assisted on a goal scored by forward Josiah Slavin last Saturday in a loss to Sioux City, the first time the duo has combined this season.

Both players have family connections to the NCAA and professional hockey. Slavin’s older brother, Jaccob, is in his second NHL season with the Carolina Hurricanes. A 22-year-old defenseman, Jaccob played for the USHL’s Chicago Steel (2011-13) and Colorado College (2013-15). Josiah’s older sister, Jordan, 25, skated for the Colorado Thunderbirds boys youth team, the same squad that Josiah and Jaccob played with. Jordan suited up for the University of North Dakota women’s team from 2009-12.

Nicholas Nardella’s surname is well-known around central Nebraska for his older brother, Bobby. Currently a sophomore at Notre Dame, Bobby set the Storm’s single season defenseman points mark (42) in 2014-15 and helped lead Tri-City to the Western Conference Final. Father Bob, an Assistant Coach for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, played for the Des Moines Buccaneers (1987-88) and Ferris State University. Additionally, Bob played 13 years of professional hockey (reaching the AHL) and in two Winter Olympics for Team Italy.

Those former players
Friday’s game is the first time former Storm players Paul Washe and Philip Alftberg match their former club. Tri-City dealt the pair to the Force in January for a draft pick and forwards Odeen Tufto (now on Sioux City) and Charlie Dovorany.

Washe won the 2016 Clark Cup with the Storm, skating in 89 games and tallying 17 goals and 34 points. The 18-year-old Western Michigan commit has three goals in 13 games with the Force.  

Alftberg had four goals and 11 assists in 29 Storm games. The St. Lawrence commit scored his first Force goal last game and has five points in 13 contests.

Recent series history against Fargo
The Storm has points in six straight games against the Force (3-0-2-1), its longest streak against Fargo. Four of the six games have been decided by one goal and Tri-City is 1-0-2-1 in those games.

The recent success has bucked a previous trend; the Storm is 12-28-5-3 against Fargo since the Force joined the USHL in 2008-09. Tri-City lost its first nine games to Fargo (0-7-2-0), defeating the Force in its third season on November 5, 2010. 

Tri-City clinched the Western Conference Regular Season title against the Force last April.

Season Series Recap

The Storm busted the Force, 5-3, on October 28 in Fargo before falling in a shootout, 3-2, the next night at Scheels Arena. Tri-City jumped out to a 4-0 edge in its season series win and scored three goals in the opening five minutes. Paul Washe, now on Fargo, scored two goals against his future team.

Five active Storm players have points against the Force and Wyatt Bongiovanni leads Tri-City with two points (1g, 1a). Eric Dop, made his USHL debut against Fargo on October 29 and stopped 34 shots in the shootout defeat.

The league’s leading goal scorer Jack Adams (27g) has three tallies, four points and a shootout game-winning goal against the Storm. Goalie Matthew Murray is 1-1-0-0 against the Storm, allowing five goals on 38 shots. Ryan Bischel relieved Murray in Fargo’s season series loss and had 18 saves on 20 shots.

Scouting the Force

On a five-game point streak (3-0-1-1), Fargo is three points ahead of Lincoln for the fourth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Three of the league’s top eight scorers, Jack Adams (48 pts.), Blake Lizotte (43) and Hank Crone (42) are linemates. Adams tops the league with 27 goals and is two points behind Dubuque’s Zach Solow for the league lead. Lizotte is third in the league with 33 assists, trailing Solow by four.

The Force have ten returning USHL players on its roster and are the league’s oldest team with an average age of 19. The Storm has two (Brian Hawkinson, Monte Graham) players with at least a season of USHL experience. Tri-City is the league’s youngest team (17.9 years old).

In cage, Matt Murray has appeared in 39 of 46 games and bosses a 22-12-2-1 mark, 2.33 goals against average and .915 save percentage. Ryan Bischel has appeared in 12, going 5-3-1-0 with a 2.19 goals against average and .903 save percentage.

The Force are coming off the league’s longest road trip, traveling 1,046 miles to Youngstown’s Covelli Center and going 1-0-1-0 in its weekend. It is 1,034 miles from the Viaero Center to Youngstown. 

On Deck
The Storm plays Fargo on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. with the annual Teddy Bear Toss, hosted by Slumberland. Bring your own teddy bears from home and throw them on the ice after Tri-City’s first goal.


Tri-City visits Madison for a pair of games at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11.

Spend your St. Patrick’s Day with the Storm as its hosts the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Friday, March 17 with $1 Coors Lights and a $5 Kids Friday.

The Storm is home on Friday, March 18 for “Sammy’s Superheroes Night”, presented by First National Bank, against the Lumberjacks at 7:05 p.m. The Storm will giveaway capes to the first 1,000 kids and Tri-City will wear one-night only specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game to benefit pediatric cancer research. This is the second year the Storm has partnered with Sammy’ Superheroes and children affected by cancer will “buddy up” with Storm players and receive an all-access tour before the game.

Listen to all games on The Breeze 94.5 FM. Coverage starts with the Viaero Wireless Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.

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