Marksmen take first place, topple Bulls 4-2 

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Fayetteville Marksmen took sole possession of first place in the SPHL standings after downing the Birmingham Bulls 4-2 on Guaranteed Win Night Friday at the Crown Coliseum. 

Anthony Yurkins made his return off the injured reserve and made an immediate impact after missing four games. Yurkins (5) scored off the rush from Kyle Soper (13) and Simon Boyko (19) to start the night’s scoring and ignite the crowd eight minutes and 39 seconds into the first period. The Marksmen added another to jump up 2-0 before Birmingham capitalized on a powerplay. Grant Loven (15) and Tyler Kobryn (12) circled the offensive zone and forced the Bulls to chase while Soper jumped in from the point to the faceoff circle. Loven then dished to Soper (4) who walked in to pot the 2-0 goal at 12:21. The Bulls answered on the powerplay to make it 2-1 heading into intermission. 

Ryan Kenny came up big in the second period with a breakaway save early to maintain his team’s lead, and before long, the offense found more. While shorthanded, Connor Fries (9) won a faceoff to Ryan Lieth (6) and he sprung Cam Cook (13) up the wall for the 3-1 goal at 3:15. Fayetteville finished the period up by two, despite being outshot 27-18. 

Birmingham tightened its deficit to one goal on an early third-period powerplay before Fayetteville answered once again. The Marksmen earned a 5-on-3 powerplay that resulted in further insurance. Boyko (17) found a yawning cage from Cook (22) and Matt Araujo (11), extending Fayetteville’s back to two goals, 4-2. The Marksmen survived a Bulls onslaught of shots and Kenny ended up with 35 saves for his eighth straight win in the crease. 

The Marksmen return to the ice against the Bulls Saturday, January 20 on Star Wars Night, presented by the Salvation Army of the Sandhills Region. 

For tickets to Star Wars Night and all 2023-24 Marksmen home games, visit