HUNTSVILLE, AL – Following a close-call road win in Knoxville last night, the Marksmen embarked on a late night trip down to the Rocket City for a 3 P.M. local time game against the defending-champion Huntsville Havoc. After dropping their two contests against the Havoc in overtime at home earlier in the season, the Marksmen would look to turn their fortune around against the Havoc, and keep their winning ways going.
The first period would be a slow moving one, as both teams would have trouble playing consistent stretches of hockey. When play finally started becoming more consistent, it would be the defense that would see the brunt of the work, as quality scoring opportunities would come few and far between. An early fight from one of the newer Marksmen, Stathis Soumelidis, and Baxter Kanter would provide the most excitement of the period, as both would be taken off for their majors. Outside of that infraction, there would be just one power play offered up, and it would go in favor of the Havoc. A few one-timer opportunities would not find their way through for the Havoc, and Tim Kielich would race up the ice for a saved shorthanded attempt. The period would end with neither team finding themselves on the scoresheet, with the Havoc leading in shots 8-4.
Not much would change in the second period, besides an escalation in the physical play and general chippiness of the game. Each team would receive an opportunity on the man-advantage, but neither would score. This would be the period that the scoring would finally start however, as Saverio Posa would get one through from the blue line with 4:49 left in the second. This would be the lone goal of the second, and would give the Havoc a 1-0 lead heading to the final frame.
Heading into the third period, the game would really open up into more of the contest that had been anticipated, as chances started developing both ways near the halfway mark of the period. With 11:52 to go in the game, after a variety of penalties, Tim Kielich would score on the power play to make it a 1-1 game. Just over two minutes later, the Marksmen would take their first lead of the night, as Max Cook and Taylor McCloy would go off to the races, and McCloy would staple the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game with 9:21 to go. Fayetteville seemed in prime position to take the win, as the next 9:15 would see the Marksmen holding onto this lead, but with :6.3 left, on an empty net and a power play, Rob Darrar would knot things up. During the play, Nigel Slade would be given a five-and-a-game for a boarding, and the Marksmen would suffer the entirety of overtime on a 4-on-3 man disadvantage. The advantage would be more than evident, as Huntsville would control the puck the entire 4:55 before they eventually scored the game-winning goal.
Fayetteville’s winning streak would end at eight-straight, but they continue their streak of 17 straight games with at least a point. Huntsville took the season series, as the Marksmen would fall to 0-0-3 against them. The Marksmen return home on Friday, February 7 (Disney Night) and Saturday, February 8 (Military Appreciation Night pres. by Navy FCU) for a weekend home series against the Birmingham Bulls.