Thunderbolts Hold Off Late-Momentum, Down Marksmen in Shootout

(Article: Preston Baker/Fayetteville Marksmen; Photo: Brian Collett/Fayetteville Marksmen)

Our Bubba’s 33 Post-Game Recap

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Avenging their early season loss to Evansville on Friday, the Marksmen looked to seal another series victory Saturday at the Crown for OPERATION: 8LACKOUT (pres. by Rustic Burger) in front of 4,017 fans.

The contest started the same as the previous night; uneventful. Both teams peppered the net with shots, putting both goaltenders to work.

Nathan Perry once again got the call for Fayetteville, trying to defend his perfect 5-0 record. Contrary to him was someone very familiar to Fayetteville: former-Marksmen Alex Murray. Murray was waived by Fayetteville on December 17th, he made a stop in Knoxville before being picked up by Evansville ahead of this weekend. Murray got the call Saturday against his former team, his first start with his new squad.

The game remained scoreless after one, with the shot numbers skyrocketing. Fayetteville sent the puck at the net 12 times, and Evansville 13. After a first period of shooting and not scoring, the teams looked to flip the script.

Under a minute into the second period, the game changed. For the second day in a row, Evansville scored first and made the Marksmen play with a deficit, as Evansville’s Ben Owen sent one into the net :58 in. The goal was Owen’s third of the year, giving the Thunderbolts a 1-0 lead. Fayetteville is used to playing from behind, and usually follows it up with a goal of their own – today was different.

The Marksmen failed to score in the second period, even whil3 outshooting the Thunderbolts by three. The team needed a spark going into the third if they wanted to win their 10th of the last 11.

Fayetteville did what they’ve done best recently, score. Six minutes into the third period of the game, the Marksmen finally found the net for the first time all night. Brian Bowen sent his seventh goal of the season between the posts on a breakaway, evening the game at one.

Knowing more was needed to win again, and they found their chance. Following an Evansville penalty, Fayetteville finally took advantage and scored their second goal of the game off the stick of Cory Melkert (3), his first as a Marksmen. Fayetteville was finally playing with a lead, but that didn’t last long.

:36 after Fayetteville’s go-ahead goal, Evansville scored a goal of their own. The equalizer from enforcer Nick Wright tied the game at two with just over 10 minutes to play, and sent Wright into a tizzy heading towards his bench, putting a fire in Fayetteville’s blood.

Another Evansville penalty came, and that brought out the dogs for the Marksmen. They converted on their second straight powerplay off of Brian Bowen’s stick, who mirrored Wright’s Celly in front of the Evansville bench, taking the lead at 3-2. The Marksmen finished the night 2-4 on the powerplay. Evansville didn’t let the lead hold, as they took two minutes to tie it back up on a powerplay goal.

With the game tied at three and the clock quickly ticking down, both teams were looking to end it in regulation. After a flurry of shots at both goaltenders, the siren rang signaling the end of regulation. Evansville was hungry for their first road win of the season and were willing to do whatever it took to win. The extra period was very quiet, only five shots in total at the net. After a short five minutes, the siren rang again to no avail.

Following 65 minutes of hockey, neither team was ahead, on to a shootout. The Marksmen’s second shootout of the season started out with a goal from Travis Jeke. Evansville’s Eric Salzillo also scored, giving both teams a goal going into round two.

Fayetteville’s Brian Bowen missed his shot in round two. Evansville made their shot, giving them a 2-1 lead in the shootout going in to round three. Round three was great for Fayetteville as Darren McCormick made his shot, making the shootout even by way of a Thunderbolts miss. Evansville’s Shayne Morrissey made his shot to give the Thunderbolts a 3-2 lead going into the possible final round of the shootout.

Round five with a chance to extend the game, Fayetteville sends recent hot scorer Max Cook to shoot. He couldn’t cook up a comeback in the shootout for the Marksmen as he misses his shot.

The Marksmen lose 4-3 to the Thunderbolts after losing the shootout 3-2. The loss sends the Marksmen to 16-12-4, still earning a point after losing in the shootout. The win, Evansville’s fifth on the season, improves them to 5-25-2 and gives them their first road win.

Sunday, Jan. 27 is the second Sunday Funday of the season! ALL Children (3-12) get in for free with purchase of an adult ticket, and fans can take advantage of our Old Chicago Sunday Deal, with four Upper Endzone tickets and a Large Old Chicago Pizza for just $49! 

For more information on the night, head to our Facebook page and click on the event page.

If you’re interested in partnering up with the Marksmen organization, or hearing about our season ticket packages, group packages, mini-plans, or advertising benefits in-arena or with the broadcast, email Director of Digital Marketing and Media Shawn Bednard, or call the Marksmen Office at (910) 321-0123.


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The Fayetteville Marksmen are owned and operated by Union Pro Hockey Group and play their home games at Crown Coliseum. The Marksmen are a committed community asset, designed to provide premium entertainment to families and individuals in Cumberland County and surrounding areas.