The Fargo Force added St. Paul Johnson forward Jay Dickman just prior to the United States Hockey League trade deadline. The plan was for Dickman to join the Force after St. Paul Johnson was eliminated from the playoffs. Many thought that would be Saturday when St. Paul Johnson, the seven seed, was matched up against second seed White Bear Lake.
Dickman and his Johnson teammates once trailed 5-1 and it looked like Dickman would be headed to Fargo much like Nick Stoskopf and Jonny Brodzinski did last season. Instead, Johnson rallied to tie and pulled off a stunning 6-5 upset with an overtime goal.
Wouldn’t you know it, Dickman was the hero with two goals and two assists, including the overtime winner. Johnson netted four goals in the last 4:47 of the game, including three in the final 2:44 to force the game into overtime.
Dickman made the unlikely upset a reality with his goal at 4:40 of the first overtime session.
“He’s going to take someone’s place,” Fargo Force head coach John Marks said of Dickman. “He’s got to play 10 games and he is going to play 10 games, so someone is going to be sitting in the stands.”
Any high school free agent that joins a USHL team needs to play in 10 or more games to earn veteran status and be protected by the team for the upcoming season. That is why Brodzinski rushed to Fargo after his Blaine Bengals lost to White Bear Lake in the Minnesota state tournament last season. He needed to get to 10 games so he would be protected.
Dickman has as much notoriety as Brodzinski and Stoskopf did, maybe even more. He was a relative unknown until he showed up and tore up the Elite League last fall. The kid is built like a moose at 6-foot-5, 228 pounds, but he has soft, quick hands and can absolutely hammer the puck.
“I want him for next year,” Marks said. “I know a lot of people in the NHL and other places got him rated as a real dark horse to be playing on TV one day.
“It’s going to take him a couple of games to figure it out. You know, he not going to come in here and be a Crosby or Malkin or one of those guys, but he’s going to get an opportunity to play and learn what it takes.”
As for the resume, that’s just as impressive as the words Marks used to describe the power forward. Dickman has 44 goals and 65 points in 26 games this season. That goal total is second in the state of Minnesota and best in Class AA.
The Governors will try to continue its unlikely postseason run Wednesday night when they take on third seed Roseville in the Section 4AA semi-finals at State Fairground Coliseum in St. Paul. If the storybook playoff run ends for St. Paul Johnson, expect Dickman to make his way to Fargo to finish the season with the Force.
If Johnson scores another upset, they will play either top seed Hill-Murray or Stillwater in the section final on March 2nd.
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