Be Alright…

Despite having the chance to stay in his native Russia, forward Pavel Zykov will return to the Fargo Force next season.

Force director of player personnel Jesse Davis said Zykov, who was taken in the second round of the KHL Amateur Draft earlier this month by Metallurg Magnitogorsk, the program which cultivated NHL star Evgeni Malkin.

“All we’ve heard is that he is still coming back,” Davis said of Zykov. “We haven’t heard anything different.”

The 6-1, 175-pound Zykov was a free agent signee by the Force about midway through the season after being spotted by Davis at a tournament in Chicago. He played 20 games with the Force scoring two points while adjusting to living in the United States for the first time.

Davis said it became apparent Zykov,17, was going to return to the Force given that he left all of his personal belongings in Fargo.

“I think he misses the food here too,” Davis joked. “He liked the American-style food like the fast food and he might be back even quicker and you see him at Hardee’s.”

Getting Zykov’s commitment for a return means the Force will have seven forwards from last season’s playoff team which suffered a consecutive second round exit from the Western Conference playoffs.

Davis said fellow Russian forward Stanislav Dzahkov would return while forward Nick Stoskopf would not be returning. Davis said Stoskopf has accepted a scholarship to play at Division III Wisconsin-Superior for next season.

Stoskopf, who was a high school free agent signee under former coach Jason Herter, played 65 games with the Force scoring 14 points and was a minus-19 including a team low minus-17 this season.

Davis added defenseman David Mead appears as if he is on his way out of the door as he’s trying out with other teams in the league along with being a first-round pick of the Wenatchee Wild in the NAHL.

“If I was a betting man, that’s a spot he’d end up,” Davis said about Mead going to the NAHL. “Bliss Littler is the head coach there and he has a good relationship with him because of their time in Omaha together. Looking up and down their roster, they need a guy like him.”

If Mead leaves, it gives the Force four returning defenseman for next season plus a number of options as the team could draw from its affiliates list, draft picks and potential free agents.

Work Hard Play Hard…

It’s becoming clear the Force’s roster plans are getting murky.

The last week has seen the Force’s roster, which was set to return up to 16 players, undergo potential changes which could give the team a bit of a different and younger look for next season.

It appears the Force could lose up to five players from the 2011-12 team heading into next year.

Forward Pavel Zykov was drafted in the second round of the KHL Amateur Draft less than a week ago by Metallurg, the program which produced Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin. Zykov was also one of four Force players drafted in last week’s NAHL Draft.

Defenseman David Mead along with forwards Nick Stoskopf and Stanislav Dzakhov were also taken in the NAHL Draft.

The Force already lost forward Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State) to college after he’d been teetering back and forth between school and staying another year with the team.

“We’re in a situation where we can only have four (1992-born) players on our roster for next season,” said Force director of player personnel Jesse Davis. “We have some guys who are on the fence for next year.”

Davis said its a situation which is up in the air right now and final plans will not be determined until later.

Whether or not those players will return becomes even more of a question considering none of them were at the Force’s tryout camp, which was held in the Minneapolis area over the weekend.

Davis said last week in a text message Zykov was back in Russia making it unlikely he would fly back for the team’s camp regardless.

As for Dzakhov, Mead and Stoskopf, not being at camp isn’t exactly damning. Last season, defenseman Brian Cooper (Nebraska-Omaha), was not at the team’s camp as he was back home in Alaska.

Twelve players expected to return for next season’s team were present at the camp.

The only notable absentee from Sunday’s all-star game was forward Nate Arentz, who was a senior this year at Fargo South which held its graduation ceremonies on Sunday.

If the departures were to occur, it means there are five potential openings the Force have and plenty of options to choose from.

Affiliates list forwards Brendan Harms (Bemidji State), Zach Doerring and Dominic Toninato (Minnesota-Duluth) are just a few of the forwards the team could rely upon to fill the gap next year. Davis also said following the USHL Draft, incoming forwards Matt Pohlkamp (Bowling Green) and Futures picks Mason Morelli and Michael Booth are expected to make the team next season.

That’s not including if the Force find favor in a forward who they didn’t draft similar to the way they did with Bryn Chyzyk (North Dakota), who came out of nowhere to become one of the team’s best players.

Defensively, the Force would return five defensemen and will already have Butrus Ghafari (Western Michigan) coming into the fold. Similar to their forwards, the Force have a number of options off the affiliates list such as Charlie Pelnik (North Dakota), Dante Suffredini or any one of the players they took in the Entry Draft.

Davis said he was pleased with how the camp went as they saw some promising performances from their Futures Draft players.

It also appeared to be a good camp for defenseman Taylor Richart, who spoke with Miami (Ohio), Davis said. Davis acknowledged the rumors of Richart accepting a scholarship with the school, but said that isn’t true.

Richart, who played at Blaine (MN-HS) with Brodzinski, only played one season with the Force after coming over from Aberdeen (NAHL). He put up 16 points for the Force and was one of two players to play in all 60 games during the regular season.

Miami recently lost NTDP defenseman Patrick Sieloff, who opted to play next season with the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.

“He hasn’t accepted anything from them,” Davis said. “I think what it was, was people saw him talking with Miami in the lobby.”

A.I.M. Fire…

Force forward Pavel Zykov only had two points in 20 games this season but there’s a reason why the team’s coaching staff is so high on him.

As it would appear, so is Metallurg in the KHL. Zykov was drafted by Metallurg a few days ago in the KHL Amateur Draft. He was a second round selection by the program famous for producing Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

Though the 6-1, 175-pound Zykov is still listed as being part of the CSKA Moscow at the time he was drafted, it appears he was actually the highest and potentially only USHL-based player to be taken in the draft.

For those not familar with the KHL, it is the premier professional league in Russia. It is a league which has become a fertile and at times, challenging ground for NHL teams to take what is considered to be the top talent in the nation.

There are 26 teams spread across seven nations which compete in the league which has gone through quite a few transformations before making the KHL name and brand concrete back in 2008.

It isn’t a complete surprise for KHL teams to draft USHL-based players as Dubuque’s Zemgus Girgensons (Vermont) was drafted last season.

As for Zykov, getting drafted certainly adds to his profile of being what Force director of player personnel Jesse Davis called, “a high-end talent” when the team first acquired him. Davis watched Zykov at a showcase during the season and spoke with his adviser.

It led to both sides entering discussions and Zykov making his way to Fargo where he was the second Russian-born player on the team. Though Zykov’s grasp of English improved, he was typically one of the more quiet players yet well-received players on the team.

Zykov used most to the season to adjust to the league and living in the United States for the first time. He appeared to have a better understanding as he scored his only two points in the Force’s last three games in the regular season.

Davis said via text message the Force will work towards getting Zykov to return next season to team which could feature 15 incumbents and a legitimate shot to capture the Western Conference.

If Zykov does return to the team, it gives the Force another potential “high-end” player on a team which is expected to have quite a few in fellow returners Alex Iafallo (Minnesota-Duluth), Gabe Guertler (Minnesota) and Dave Gust (Ohio State).

Yet if Zkyov were to opt for the KHL, he’d be the second player to leave who was expected to return for next season. Forward Jonny Brodzinski’s status had been on the fence until it was determined he was going to be at St. Cloud State next season.

Furthermore, if Zykov were to play in the KHL it would mean he’d become a professional player forgoing his college eligiblity. Davis said when the team first acquired Zykov, that college was an option.

Carry That Weight…

Scoring the overtime winner certainly made the Force’s Willie Corrin (Minnesota-Duluth) a popular man, but he wasn’t the only defenseman showing what he could do on the offensive end.

First-year defenseman Neal Goff anchored a line with Nate Arentz and Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State), giving the Force a shutdown line which certainly did its job in the team’s 2-1 win over Sioux City on Monday.

Goff hopes his line can replicate what it did on Monday in the hopes of closing out the series tonight at 7:05 p.m. The Force hold a 1-0 lead in a best-of-three series.

“I thought our line played really well and our line had some (scoring) chances,” Goff said. “I am getting the hang of forward to where I am totally comfortable up there. The first couple of games its hard to get your grips being a defenseman. I felt I contributed both ways and I plan on doing that in the rest of the playoffs.”

Goff won the “Play with Nate Arentz and Jonny Brodzinski” Sweepstakes after Force coach John Marks said he was going to use Sunday to figure out who’d be the best fit on the line.

Goff actually played with Arentz and Brodzinski on Mar. 31 in a 3-0 loss at Sioux City. Even in the loss, the line did not give up a goal going even in plus/minus ratio.

Marks chose Goff from a list which included forwards Jordan Nelson, Stanislav Dzakhov and Pavel Zykov. Nelson dressed and was on the sparingly-used fourth line while Dzakhov and Zykov watched the game in the stands.

“I was really excited,” Goff said about playing on the team’s third line. “I played with them for a few games prior to tonight and we work well together.”

Goff’s role on the line was to serve in what Brodzinski described as a “high-low” role.

Picture an inverted pyramid where Arentz is on the left, Brodzinski is on the right and Goff is in the center, or in this case, the slot, which is about five to 10 feet in front of the net. The scheme allows Arentz and Brodzinski to work in the corners to dig for the puck.

When they do get the puck it sets up what could be a point-blank opportunity for Goff. But in case it doesn’t, it allows Goff to quickly skate back on defense giving the Force a three-man wall to prevent or at least slow down any odd-man rushes.

“He was like a third defenseman out there,” Brodzinski said. “But he was also a forward at the same time. He was the third guy high as me and Nate just battled in the corners. The goal was to just keep him floating out high so we could feed him the puck.”

The 6-4, 180-pound Goff said he was pleased with his performance but there were some things he’d like to refine coming into tonight’s game.

Goff said offense was the aspect of his game he wanted to improve the most.

He didn’t register any shots on net, according to the stats. He attributed that to having his head down instead of keeping his head up and looking for a spot to expose on Musketeers’ goaltender Matt Skoff (Penn State), who made 36 saves in the loss.

“I think sometimes, I am a little quick to shoot it,” Goff said. “And maybe pick my head up too. Overall, I think we played pretty well and we just have to keep rolling.”

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing…

Force coach John Marks was rattling off the list of names who could join forwards Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State) and Nate Arentz on the team’s third line for the playoffs.

When Marks reached the end of the list, he was then asked about would he consider defenseman Neal Goff to play alongside Brodzinski and Arentz.

“Absolutely, absolutely” Marks said in his strong Canadian prairie tone which is eerily similar to that of Hockey Night In Canada’s Don Cherry. “I know he is going to work and be responsible defensively and that’s a key element come playoff time.”

Goff, who has scored five points in 32 games this season, has been splitting time at forward lately trying to work his way onto what could be the ninth and final forward spot.

Marks has said for the last two weeks he’s going to roll three lines in the hopes of getting more consistency and flow from his forwards. He admitted Saturday night he could send out a fourth line but they wouldn’t be used frequently unless the situation called for it.

“You know what, I just have to do everything within my power and keep working as hard as I can,” Goff said. “Whether its on forward or defense, so be it. I think I can be used at forward and it might be at forward. Hopefully, like you said, I can get on that third line. I enjoy both positions and I plan on doing whatever (Marks) wants.”

Finding someone to go with Brodizinski and Arentz has been almost a season-long task.

It appeared Jordan Nelson was the obvious choice until he suffered an injury in early March and didn’t return until March 31. Nelson has scored two points in six games since returning from the injury.

Then it became an open competition which has seen the likes of Stanislav Dzakhov, Taylor Fleming and Pavel Zykov all emerge as viable options. Marks has said he’s seen good and bad things from everyone going for the final spot.

He and his staff will review those things Sunday afternoon leading into Game 1 against Sioux City at 7:05 p.m. on Monday.

“Guys have had plenty of opportunities to show,” Marks said. “I was really disappointed in some performances (in the Force’s 2-1 loss to Lincoln on Saturday.)

Marks said it comes down to who is willing to “get their nose dirty” and work for a spot.

It sounds like Goff would be up for the challenge.

Goff has played, either at forward or defense, in four of the team’s last five games. He was starting to show his development prior to being suspended in March by the USHL for an incident involving a racial epithet against a Des Moines Buccaneers player.

Goff, a former Minnesota state track champion, analyzed his season by saying it has been an “emotional roller coaster.”

He recalled playing in the first 10 games of the season until he was getting scratched in favor of other players. Goff said the adversity he’s faced this season has made him a better player and a better person who wants to contribute to the team.

Goff proved it last weekend when he had a 2-on-1, empty-net chance that he gave up so Zykov could score his first USHL goal. Marks said immediately after the game he was extremely pleased and proud of Goff for how selfless he was.

Maybe this time around, its Marks who throws Goff a line.

“I think coming back, being out for six games, I hopped back in,” Goff said. “Any player that sits out plays hungry. I am hungry for ice time, hungry for more and more opportunities and they’ve given me that. I am showing that I can be a continuous guy to put in every night and hopefully they see that and I can contribute come playoffs.”

Show Me A Good Time…

Count Force coach John Marks among those impressed with how affiliates list player Dominic Toninato (Minnesota-Duluth) did in his short stint with the team.

It appears Toninato won’t play Saturday in the regular-season finale against Lincoln with the playoffs starting Monday. Toninato did play last weekend scoring his first USHL goal in a 5-1 win over Sioux Falls.

“It was a flurry out in front, Brodz (Jonny Brodzinski) got a tap on it and it just came to me,” Toninato said about his first goal. “I don’t think there was any pressure. I did feel like I was a little snake-bit the last couple weekends but it is nice to get that first one out the way.”

Toninato played four games with the Force after high school season ended with Duluth East in March.

Toninato was drafted by the Force in last season’s USHL Entry Draft. His senior season resulted in Toninato scoring 73 points in 31 games helping Duluth East to what ended up being a fifth-place finish at the state tournament.

Marks said he was so impressed with Toninato he wishes the forward was available for the playoffs. Toninato is not eligible because he’s not part of the team’s active roster, which was submitted to the league office back in February.

“He was a really good player for us,” Marks said. “We liked what we saw and we’re looking forward to what we could see from him next year.”

Toninato is expected to compete on a team where its forward corps could provide an interesting mix.

Gabe Guertler (Minnesota), Dave Gust and Alex Iafallo (Minnesota-Duluth) – known as The High School Musical Line – will all return next season. Former Lakeville North star Nate Arentz is set to return for a third season. It also appears forwards Jordan Nelson, Stanislav Dzakhov, Pavel Zykov and Jay Dickman will also return to the team next season.

The Force, in all, could have a total of nine returning forwards along with three returning defensemen and a returning goaltender in Reed Peters.

El Burrito de Belén…

When Force forward Bryn Chyzyk said he was going to accept food, he wasn’t joking.

Chyzyk (North Dakota) drafted teammate Colton Hargrove (Western Michigan) on Tuesday for the team’s upcoming skills competition on Sunday. The draft was held after practice and the teams where chosen by Chyzyk and Austin Farley (Minnesota-Duluth).

Chyzyk chose Hargrove with his second pick and then shipped him to Farley’s team in exchange for Willie Corrin (Minnesota-Duluth) and a Qdoba burrito. Yep. You read that right. Hargrove was traded for a burrito.

“You know, me and Farley have some creative minds,” Chyzyk said about the trade. “We tossed it around in our heads and I decided to pull the trigger.”

Don’t worry. Chyzyk will not have to worry about trading a side order of nachos at a later date or anything like that.

He and Farley, who are close friends, actually know what one another order from Qdoba so Chyzyk knows what to expect.

Chyzyk, who was tongue-in-cheek during most of the interview, did joke about explaining to Hargrove why he did trade him.

“We shook his hand and told him we hope for the best,” Chyzyk said. “We told him there were no hard feelings. Now let’s see if he gives me the puck on Friday.”

Trading Hargrove, who is from Texas, for a burrito was only part of the story of the draft. Force spokeswoman Whitney Baumgartner said Corrin showed up to the draft wearing sweat paints but had a suit jacket on treating it as if this was an actual draft.

Baumgartner and Chyzyk both said Corrin showed up stating how he was going to be the No. 1 pick, or at least a first-rounder. Corrin was taken second by Farley before being traded for Hargrove and the burrito.

“Oh, he thought he was going first and that’s because he’s the oldest guy on the team,” Chyzyk said. “He’s starting to lose his hair and he needs a wheelchair. The old guy did look good today.”

He then joked about how he didn’t know if Corrin was worth a burrito but he’ll find out on Sunday.

The first overall pick of the draft belonged to Farley and he selected first-year forward Alex Iafallo (Minnesota-Duluth), who has scored 22 points this season and is fourth on the team in points while defenseman Taylor Richart was the draft’s second overall pick.

Chyzyk said he was pleased with how the draft went and said Nate Arentz, who he drafted, could be the skills challenge sleeper to watch.

“He’s an underrated guy on the team,” said Chyzyk, who actually took Arentz with his third pick. “I feel like he’s going to wipe up in the fastest skater competition just from looking at the things he’s done in practice.”

Though there is one thing to note about the draft.

Defensemen Brian Cooper (Nebraska-Omaha) and Justin Wade (Notre Dame) were the last two players taken in the draft.

Isn’t it kind of weird that the two guys who could get taken in this summer’s NHL Draft were chosen last?

“It is a little bit of a coincidence I would say,” Chyzyk said. “They are a couple of defensive-minded guys in an offensive game but I am glad we got Cooper in the last round. I think he could win the hardest shot competition.”

Below are a list of the teams:

Team Chyzyk: Chyzyk, Richart, Arentz, Reed Peters, Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State), Taylor Fleming, Nick Stoskopf, David Mead, Pavel Zykov, Cooper.

Team Farley: Farley, Hargrove, Gabe Guertler (Minnesota), Zane Gothberg (North Dakota), Dave Gust, Neal Goff, Jordan Nelson, Dominic Racobaldo, Stanislav Dzakhov, Wade.

Back To Front…

Fargo Force chief scout Jesse Davis said this week the team has no plans to make any moves tomorrow at the USHL Trade Deadline.

So far the Western Conference has been extremely active. Waterloo, which is in a tie for third with the Force, made one of the bigger moves so far trading goaltender Jay Williams (Miami (Ohio) to Sioux Falls for goaltender Stephon Williams (Minnesota State-Mankato).

Stephon Williams, despite being 6-9-2 when he was traded, was one of the best goaltenders in the league last year winning 20 games en route to having one of the sparkling playoff performances leading the Stampede to the Western Conference playoffs before losing to eventual Clark Cup champion, the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

“We just talked about it and we are not really looking for one certain particular thing,” Davis said. “Some teams around this time are fighting to make the playoffs and they are looking for a goalie or defenseman. We don’t see a need and we are happy with what we got.”

Davis said a reason why the team is happy with its pieces is the recent nine-game winning streak the Force went on to not only salvage their season but transform them into a legitimate playoff contender.

He also talked about how the Force, in a way, made the necessary moves earlier in the season

Citing toughness, the Force traded forward Tanner Lane (Nebraska-Omaha) to the Omaha Lancers for defensemen Dominic Racobaldo and David Mead. Racobaldo has practically played in every game for the Force since the trade. He’s played in 27 games and has four points – all assists.

Mead has played in 20 games with the Force providing a physical face to the team as he’s among the league leaders in fights in addition to adding an enforcer something John Marks said earlier in the season the team needed.

The Force have also brought in other players since the season has started.

Forward Dave Gust came up through the affiliates list and has gone on to forge what is the team’s second-best line with Alex Iafallo and Gabe Guertler (Minnesota). Gust has put up 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 23 games.

Another player the Force added was Russian Pavel Zykov, who came over from the renowned CSKA Moschow system. The 6-1, 175-pound Russian, who Davis described as a high-end player, has zero points in six games with the team.

“Some of the trades we made earlier in the year made us think about what moves we would need to make later,” Davis said. “With the guys we brought in and how things are panning out, they are panning out great. There is no pressure to make a move. We have not talked to other teams. There is talk about other players but nothing to make a move on.”

Davis said there could be a slight possibility the Force could add a high school free agent tomorrow.

The Force added three high school free agents on Deadline Day last season when they acquired Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State), Nick Stoskopf and Keaton Thompson (North Dakota). Brodzinski and Stoskopf, who are both still with the Force, came to the team after their high school seasons in Minnesota were completed.

Thompson came to the Force after his high school team, Devils Lake, was knocked out of the North Dakota High School Playoffs. Thompson played 15 games with the Force but opted in the spring to accept an invitation to play for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

“We don’t have the room on our (affiliates) list,” Davis said. “If it came up, maybe. Right now, nothing is solid.”

Major Minus…

With Bryn Chyzyk committing to North Dakota yesterday, it raised a question for quite a few Force fans.

What does this mean for next year?

Yep. February is next door. There’s still 23 games left in the tank and a potential playoff run and people are already asking about next year. Interesting. Either way, it is a fair question to ask because turnover is the No. 1 thing coaches and scout have to plan for when it comes to the game.

But for your amusement here’s some thoughts on how next year’s roster could look.

 

Forwards:

-Potential returners: Nate Arentz, Gabe Guertler (Minnesota), Dave Gust, Alex Iafallo, Nick Stoskopf, Jordan Nelson, Stanislav Dzhakov, Pavel Zykov, Taylor Fleming: Hardest part about determining something such as this is you don’t know what could happen in the future. Someone like Nelson or Fleming could commit to a school and be gone for next year. Also, there’s a chance someone like Colton Hargrove could be back for another year which probably isn’t going to happen given the college interest there is in him.

-Potential newcomers: Dominic Toninato, Duluth East (Minnesota-Duluth), Zach Doerring, Blake, Brendan Harms, Portage (Bemidji State), Brett Heikkila, Marquette Electricians (Northern Michigan), Corey Ward, Aberdeen (Bemidji State), Gage Torrel, Alexandria: These are most the forwards on the Force’s affiliate list, which is the list of players in the team’s system so to say. This is assuming all of these players make next year’s team and don’t get traded. Trades are the other thing to keep in mind. The USHL trade deadline isn’t far away (it’s in February) so that could have a big role.

 

Defensemen:

-Potential returners: Justin Wade (Notre Dame), David Mead, Dominic Racobaldo, Neal Goff: The idea of four defenseman sounds good. So did the idea of having Garrett Haar return for another season and we all know how that one turned out. The team has already said Wade is returning and you’d expect Goff to be back too.  Racobaldo remains a wild cards because he could commit to a school. Mead, however, cannot because he played Major Junior. So there could potentially be four defenseman returning from last year’s team. There’s a chance Taylor Richart could come back but something says he’ll be gone because he’ll be in college next year.

-Potential newcomers: Charlie Pelnik, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (North Dakota), Zach Urban, Penticton, Dante Suffredini, Detroit Honeybaked: Those are the only three defensemen eligible to come in next year off the affiliates list. One would have to think grabbing defensemen in the upcoming Entry and Futures Draft would be the top priority for the Force. Or they could get some blueliners for the future via some trades.

 

Goaltenders:

-Potential returner: Reed Peters: Yep. He’s the only guy in net who could come back with Zane Gothberg heading off to North Dakota next season. No pressure on Peters. At all. Ever. Period.

-Potential newcomers: Anders Franke, Elk River, Nick Kulmanovsky, Alaska, T.J. Black, Chicago Mission: Whoever gets the spot is more or less being groomed to be the Force’s goaltender of the future with the assumption Peters will be the No.1, which a likely reality. Developing a No. 2 into a future No. 1 is something the Force are proving they can do after looking at Gothberg this season.

 

Revolution 9…

Admit it. You didn’t see this coming. If you did you’re lying and you know it so slap your face.

Slap. Slap.

Nine straight wins. No team has matched what the Fargo Force have done this year. Hell, there’s some teams (see Chicago) which only have nine wins all year and some (see Muskegon) who barely have 10 wins this season.

There’s plenty of ways to look at the Force’s streak but like I wrote in today’s Forum, last night’s win represented how this stretch has been kept alive thanks to players such as Bryn Chyzyk, Dave Gust and Zane Gothberg (North Dakota/Boston).

But let’s look at doing something different. Let’s look at how each line has been doing during this stretch and who knows, there might even be a nickname or two for some of the lines.

-The BBC Line (Bryn, Bug (Austin Farley’s nickname) and Colton): Chyzyk had no problem admitting last night wasn’t this line’s best performance yet all three guys walked away with one point. This line’s strength through this streak has been what they each bring to the table. Farley (Minnesota-Duluth) and Hargrove get noticed for different reasons. Farley is this speedy skater who scores goals. Hargrove is this physical beast who can score on offense. Chyzyk has found a way to blend in with these two by doing the not-so-glamorous duties like forechecking, giving up his body and staying patient when he has the puck. He did most of those things to set up Hargrove last night in the 5-2 win over Sioux Falls. Chyzyk forced a turnover in the Stampede end, went behind the net with the puck and fed Boomer Sooner for a goal and a 1-0 lead. Chyzyk, even going back to high school, has always been a player who can score around 25 goals but he’s on pace to set a personal best. He’s also been more of a playmaker too. His assist totals haven’t been on par to what he’s used to doing, but if he keeps feeding Boomer and the Bug, it could lead to more helpers. Also, all three are riding respective point streaks with Farley getting a point in nine straight, Chyzyk has points in six straight and Hargrove in eight games.

-The GIG Line (Dave Gust, Alex Iafallo, Gabe Guertler (Minnesota): Gust is a guy people might want to pay attention for plenty of reasons but the one we’ll go with is he’s really been a consistent player. Gust was called midway through the first half of the season and has really come on scoring 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 18 games while playing on a line with Iafallo and Guertler to become the most surprising line on the team. All three worked together last night resulting in Gust just beating up a puck like Pauly D does a beat for a 2-0 lead. What’s really interesting about this line is how close they’ve become in what has been a short time. Gust is definitely the quiet one, Guertler has no problem talking at all and Iafallo is right in the middle.Yet when they’re all together, they act like they’ve known each other for more than two months.

-The Stove Top Line (Nick Stoskopf, Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State) and Jordan Nelson): With the way Stoskopf’s name sounds plus the fact this line has the best hair on the team, it’s a nickname which works. At least in our opinion. Anyways, this is a line which might not get a lot of credit but they do a lot of things to help this team win. Stoskopf is a bruiser who can score. Nelson is a two-way player, who in high school was scorer, but with ease was really worked his way into being a solid player who can eat up minutes and really disrupt and offense. Brodzinski is starting to become more comfortable in this role having always been a scorer. Last night, he had a goal and an assist. If this line can add offense in addition to being the Force’s shutdown line, it could get real interesting to watch this group down the line.

-The Mystery Machine Line (Nate Arentz, Taylor Fleming, Stanislav Dzakhov, Pavel Zykov): This name fits because no one really knows what’s the future of this group and how they came together in the first place. Arentz was known because he spent last season here and he’s come out of his shell to becoming what could be one of the better forwards on this team. Fleming started out as a defenseman and was later moved to forward while the artists formerly known as The Kremlin (Dzakhov and Zykov) surprised anyone following this team with the fact there are two Russians on the squad. This line didn’t look bad at all last night but there are decisions which will be made about it. Can’t have four guys on a three-man line so it’ll be interesting to see where this group goes from here.