FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – With nearly 3000 youth sports teams, athletes, coaches, and fans in the building for the Marksmen inaugural Youth Sports Jamboree, the Marksmen would show off what it would take to play with the big boys, as they would enter another battle with the Evansville Thunderbolts. Following a 7-5 victory the night prior, it would take an extra serving of hockey to take this one home.
A solid battle to start the first period would see scoring come a bit later than the night before, but when the cork was finally popped from the game’s bottle, we would once again see a multi-scoring period from the home team. Shane Bednard, for the first time this season, would earn goals in consecutive games as he’d be the catalyst on the scoresheet for Fayetteville. The excitement would continue for the fans in the Crown Coliseum as Josh Victor would finally give the fans the fight they’d been waiting for, sparring with the Thunderbolts’ Noah Corson. 31 seconds following the fight, the momentum would swing in the direction of the Thunderbolts, as Jacob Smith would score his first of two goals with just under six minutes to go in the period. It would be the Marksmen and Alec Marsh who would have the frame’s final laugh, as Marsh would score on the power play to give Fayetteville a 2-1 advantage heading to the break.
A pair of pairs would highlight the second period, but it would take some time. Past the halfway point of the frame, Derek Sutliffe would find the back of the net for Evansville on the power play, and knot things up with plenty of time to go. It wouldn’t take long before the Marksmen would once again match the effort, as Captain Max Cook would net the goal to give Fayetteville back the lead not even two minutes later. The Marksmen would pour it on heavy 2:59 later, as John Gustafsson would continue his impressive debut scoring, and make it a two goal lead. The Thunderbolts would tighten up the gap heading into the third period, as Derek Sutliffe would score his second in the frame with under three minutes to go. Fayetteville would lead 4-3 with one frame left to play.
An immediate punch by the Marksmen out of the gates would feel like enough to sink the Thunderbolts chances, as Marsh’s second of the night would make it 5-3 Marksmen :45 into the period. However, a late storm back by the Bolts would see them make it a one goal game with just over six minutes to go, and knot it up in the final minute. For the first time in some time, Fayetteville would return to overtime. Despite trading back-and-forth chances early, the Marksmen would once again have their dagger sharp as they’d strike to kill on a pass from Max Cook to Brett Johnson for the game-winner.
Fayetteville would earn their sixth-straight win, and continue their impressive success on home ice and in the stretch. The win secured them the same token for the series, and they look for the season sweep of Evansville tomorrow at 3 P.M.