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Published September 26, 2012, 06:20 PM

Fargo Force opens fifth season of existence Friday

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The fifth year of Fargo Force hockey drops the puck at Scheels Arena this Friday and for the first time in franchise history the offseason was fairly quiet, but that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of change.

By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The fifth year of Fargo Force hockey drops the puck at Scheels Arena this Friday and for the first time in franchise history the offseason was fairly quiet, but that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of change.

UND commit Charlie Pelnik has a lot in common with his new Force teammates, over half of the roster will be playing in their first ever USHL game this Friday.

Charlie Pelnik, Force Forward (UND Commit): “It has been awesome. It has been a huge adjustment. The level of the USHL is awesome. We have a great group of guys.”

Fargo does return 11 players from last year's team that reached the conference semifinals, and that core will be counted on early.

Dave Gust, 2nd Year Force Forward: “We have a lot of skill. We just have to put it to use. Hopefully, we'll go far in playoffs this year.”

That's where it gets tricky, in year's past, the backbone of the Force has been goaltending, featuring NHL draft picks Mike Lee and Zane Gothberg. So far this year, that piece of the puzzle is still missing.

John Marks, 2nd Year Force Head Coach: “Trying to replace co-MVP goaltender in the league is awfully difficult for anybody. Right now, it is still a question mark. We have three here right now with another guy coming.”

Gust: “I think we just have to play better in the defensive zone and just help them out as much as possible.”

While goaltender may be the biggest question mark on this team, the guy running the bench will not. That's because for the first time in five years the Force has a returning head coach.

Justin Wade, 3rd Year Force Defenseman: “It's pretty nice to just have that relationship already, the base of a relationship.”

Marks: “I haven't changed my systems for years. So, the guys returning know what I'm all about and what I expect and the new guys will grab onto it quick because it's not that difficult. Effort is important to me and being accountable is very important to me.”

And if it all meshes together, the Force will likely return to the playoffs for a 5th straight year.

Force open up Friday against Sioux City.

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