1st Place Marksmen Take Two Of Three From Bulls In A Goal Filled Weekend Series

With their win Friday night, the SPHL's hottest team moved into first place just in time for Star Wars night on Saturday. But with a loss on Sunday, the Marksmen find themselves tied with the Bulls in the SPHL standings.

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Coming off the injured reserved list. Anthony "Jerkins" Yurkins was hot to trot Friday night having missed four games with the Fayetteville Marksmen. Yurkins scored a celly on the fast rush from Kyle Soper, and Simon Boyko the Marksmen scoring and ignited the Fayetteville crowd eight minutes and 39 seconds into the first period. Before the Birmingham Bulls could get their boots back on, the Marksmen added another to take a 2-0 lead. Grant "Mc" Loven and Tyler Kobryn circling the offensive zone just short of waving red capes causing the Bulls to give chase while Soper jumped in from the point to the faceoff circle. Loven put on some hot sauce to Soper who walked in to pot the 2-0 goal at 12:21. The Bulls would come back on a powerplay to make it 2-1 before the intermission buzzer. 

Goalie Ryan Kenny came up with a big time breakaway save early in the second period to maintain the Markmen advantage. With that momentum, the Marksmen would find a little more juice. While shorthanded, Connor "Fries in the Winter, Fries in the Summer" Fries got a clean faceoff to Ryan Lieth who found Cam "Sure Can" Cook stirring in the kitchen and made it 3-1 goal at 3:15. Fayetteville finished the period up by two, despite being outshot 27-18. 

Birmingham would pull to within one goal on an early third-period powerplay before Fayetteville erased that with authority. With an almost unfair 5-on-3 powerplay, Captain Simon Boyko with from Cook and Matt Araujo, extended Fayetteville’s lead 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 win put the Fayetteville Marksmen in first place of the SPHL saddling the Birmingham Bulls with second place.

It was Star Wars Night Saturday night and the Marksmen would need every bit of the force they could muster to get past the Bulls who dominated play for near the whole game. But there is a reason they play 60 minutes and not 59 minutes and 51 seconds.

The Bulls jumped on the Marksmen for an early lead under four minutes into the first period, and that held into the intermission. Ryan Kenny kept the Marksmen in the game while on a powerplay later in the period, but despite holding a slim, 11-10 shot advantage, Fayetteville would start the second period down 1-0. 

Birmingham kept a lid on the Marksmen by continuing to control the pace of play and increased its lead to 2-0. Fayetteville would manage just seven shots in the middle frame and the Marksmen would find themselves down 2 heading to the locker room after two.

Fayetteville finally got on the board with just 67 seconds left in the final frame in what was to be foreshadowing for the outcome of the game. With the extra attacker on the ice, Simon Boyko kept his 19th game point streak alive with a goal make it a one goal game. Grant Loven and Kyle Soper picked up assists. The Marksmen pulled Kenny once more to get an extra attacker, and with nine seconds remaining, Cam Cook got the back of the net to force overtime. The it was Loven again who skated in on a breakaway and fooled the Bulls goaltender with a leg-kick before potting in the game-winning goal in the first free hockey period.

Birmingham would take Sunday's game 4-1 to draw back into a 1st place tie with the Marksmen. The loss snapped all the current Marksmen streaks.

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