FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – If there were a hockey-equivalent to a baseball game being called due to rain, it occurred this afternoon at the Crown Coliseum, as zamboni issues would force the Marksmen and Thunderbolts to play their rubber match in a game with 20 minutes of play and a shootout.
The game would start a bit after the scheduled start time due to initial zamboni issues that seemed like routine maintenance for the most part. Following the six-minute delay, the first period would go on like any other for the two foes who played an outstanding weekend battle, and would seem like a classic Sunday afternoon tilt after an outstanding weekend affair. This time around, it would be the Thunderbolts who would strike first blood, as Austin Plevy would score a shorthanded goal with just over seven minutes to go in the first – his first goal in some time. Despite going scoreless on their two power plays during the frame, the Marksmen would score what would end up being a massively consequential goal with just under two seconds left in the first, as Alec Marsh would find the back of the net yet again on an impressive weekend.
The period would end in a 1-1 knot, and seem to be an outstanding battle for what was left. That was to say, had their been any further game. The zamboni once again came out, and issues would once again amount, this time with it not being able to properly lay water and crush the leftover snow. A few quick stops back to the tunnel would be insufficient, as the zamboni would come back out a handful of times to no effect. Eventually front office, arena, and game day staff would hit the ice furiously attempting to make the ice playable for over 40 minutes, but eventually league officials decided to make the call for how the game would progress: a shootout on one side of the ice, with goaltenders switching out between shooters.
Each team’s goaltender would receive three minutes on that side of the ice to warm up for the skills competition, and after the six minutes was over, it would be time for the shootout. Fayetteville would start things off on home ice, and the first two would get it done for the team, as Don Oliveri and Oscar Arfelt would find the back of the net. Derek Sutliffe would do the same for the Thunderbolts, but he would stand alone in the scoring category, as the Marksmen would claim arguably their oddest win in franchise history, and possibly in the league’s history.
Regardless, the Marksmen claim their third consecutive weekend sweep, and have taken their seventh straight victory in the most memorable of fashions. They will spend the next weekend on the road, giving the technical issues of the ice plenty of time to be fixed, as they head to Knoxville and Huntsville for a weekend road trip.