Once again, the Fargo Force found a way to make an off-season interesting.
This time it had nothing to do with another coach leaving. The Force tied a franchise record as it had three players taken in the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday.
Forward Dom Toninato (Minnesota-Duluth) was taken 126th overall in the fifth round and with the very next pick the Anaheim Ducks took defenseman and captain Brian Cooper (Nebraska-Omaha). Forward Colton Hargrove (Western Michigan) was taken 205th overall by the Boston Bruins.
Toninato played with the Force towards the end of the season after playing most of the year with Duluth East (MN-HS), which reached the Minnesota state tournament. Toninato was one of the state’s best players and became the first Minnesota high school hockey player outside of Shattuck-St. Mary’s to be taken in the draft.
He scored 61 points while playing for Duluth East and with the Force had one point in four games with the team. Toninato, who the Force drafted in 2011, will be with the team next season.
As for Cooper, he ends his three-year career by getting drafted by a Ducks franchise which appears to have promising defensemen in its stock.
Cooper, who is 5-10 and 180 pounds, played 50-plus in all three seasons and this year played 55 games scoring 25 points.
He marshaled a defense, which ranked among the best in the USHL and he also captained Team USA to a third-place finish at the World Junior “A” Challenge in British Columbia.
As for Hargrove, the 6-2, 210-pounder was a mix of an offensive threat who could provide punishing hits. He played on the team’s first line, which at times was one of the more dominant first lines in the USHL.
Hargrove going to the Bruins means he’ll be at the team’s camp with former Force teammate and close friend, Zane Gothberg (North Dakota), who was drafted by the team in 2010.
Check back later for more details.