Maybe Gabe Guertler (Minnesota) might be onto something after all.
The Force first-year forward proclaimed before the USHL Playoffs began his line might be the best in the league. Linemate Alex Iafallo (Minnesota-Duluth) just keeps proving there could be a hint of truth in ti.
Iafallo scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the Force’s 2-1 win over the Lincoln Stars on Friday at the Lincoln Ice Box in the Western Conference semi-final round. The Force now take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Game 2 is tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.
Iafallo’s goal broke a 1-1 tie which hadn’t seen a goal since the first period. Lincoln’s Jared Hanson scored the opening salvo 53 seconds into the game before Force captain Brian Cooper (Nebraska-Omaha) tied the game at 1 later in the period.
The tie created a battle in net eventually won by Zane Gothberg (North Dakota), who made 25 saves to get his third straight victory in these playoffs. Gothberg has now allowed only three goals in as many games this postseason.
Iafallo’s goal came 5:27 into overtime as he was set up by Guertler.
The connection is another example of how the line known as “The High School Musical” has come of age in this postseason. Guertler scored in Game 1 in the Force’s first-round series against the Sioux City Musketeers. He then followed it up with a two-assist effort in the Force’s 5-1 win in Game 2, which was later changed to one assist according to league records. His lone assist created a goal for linemate Dave Gust, who scored two goals in the game,
It now means Guertler (3 points), Iafallo (3 points) and Gust (2 points) have scored eight points making them the Force’s most productive line in the playoffs.
Their production also added to another statistic with the Force now improving to 6-0 all-time against Lincoln in the playoffs.