Last year, it was Blake Coleman-Brian Ferlin-Daniil Tarasov. With Coleman and Ferlin both hearing their names in this summer's NHL Entry Draft and heading on to Miami and Cornell, respectively, the Ice haven't missed a beat with Tarasov's new linemates Jacob Fallon and Sean Kuraly.
Tonight, that line produced four Ice goals in a 5-3 victory over the Fargo Force, with Tarasov and Kuraly each scoring twice. Fallon had two assists and Kuraly added another for a personal three-point night. Christian Hilbrich added an unassisted goal -- his third of the season -- at 12:17 of the second period.
The Ice won despite being outshot 44-28 and having their league-best power play held off the scoreboard for the first time in several games.
The Ice took leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but Fargo answered each one. Hilbrich's goal midway through the second proved to be the game-winner, and Kuraly added an unassisted goal with 38 seconds left in the game to set the final margin.
Tarasov started the scoring just 45 seconds in, on assists from his linemates. It was 1-1 after a period, as Fargo's Alex Iafollo took advantage of the Force's third power play of the opening 20 minutes and scored 9 seconds into the man advantage at 16:57.
The second period was a wild one -- Kuraly made it 2-1 on an unassisted goal at 4:29 of the period, but Fargo's Austin Farley answered with his own unassisted goal 1:44 later. Tarasov's second goal of the night gave the Ice the lead again at 10:19, but Fargo's Dave Gust scored 91 seconds later to tie it again at 3-3.
The game was only tied for 27 seconds before Hilbrich scored the game-winner.
The Ice had to kill off a late penalty to Tarasov in the final five minutes to seal the victory.
Tarasov now has 11 goals and 13 assists, and had four points on the weekend. He is second in the league in scoring, three points back of Lincoln's Kevin Roy. Fallon now has eight goals and 13 assists, and has six points in the Ice's last three games. Kuraly has five points on the weekend and has eight goals and nine assists in just 13 games. Fallon ranks fourth in the league in scoring, Kuraly ninth. Tarasov's 11 goals put him in second in the USHL, three back of Roy's 14 goals. Tarasov and Fallon's 13 assists each also put them second in the league behind Dubuque's Shane South, who has 15.
Goaltender Jon Gillies made 41 saves in the victory.
The game marked the return of former Checkers player and IHL Indianapolis Ice coach John Marks to Indianapolis as the Force's head coach. Former CHL Ice player Byron Pool is one of his assistants.
1. Jon Gillies (Ice), 41 saves, 3 GA, win
2. Sean Kuraly (Ice), 2 goals, assist, +3, 5 shots
3. Daniil Tarasov (Ice), 2 goals, +3, 4 shots
Also notable: Ryan Obuchowski (+3), Alex Barron (+4), Jacob Fallon (2 assists, +3)