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Monday Morning Marksmen Week 14

January 17, 2022 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Fayetteville Marksmen News Release

Week 14: Bridge Ices Before Road

Driving in the "wintry mix" of ice, rain, and maybe some snow yesterday in the Sandhills, undoubtedly you recognized the familiar phrase, "Bridge ices before road."

(I sincerely hope you all took heed of the warning and remained safe yesterday)

That phrase, four words, carried more weight yesterday than any other time it seemed.

"Bridge ices before road," is a hopeful adage- you won't be stuck in the danger zone forever because there is hope of safer, more melted roadway ahead.

After a bitter weekend vs. Roanoke, that's the same circumstance for the Fayetteville Marksmen- in a tough spot with the hope of better days ahead.

Losing isn't fun, losing to a team four consecutive times, losing the grasp on the season series, and watching a club that doesn't have the Marksmen pedigree inch within a point of Fayetteville in the standings is understandably frustrating.

Friday night's 4-1 loss at home was as complex a loss as they come. As head coach Cory Melkert pointed out over the weekend, "We had a seven minute stretch where we lost the game."

While neither team seemed to have any offense outside the seven minute window in the second period, it was a contest that really saw no advantage given- nearly even shots on goal totals, nearly even chances- just the "wheels fall off the wagon" moment.

However, it is much more telling to have a look at Saturday's game. The Marksmen were sharper, cleaner, played all 60 minutes, and frankly dominated Roanoke.

Remember when Fayetteville defeated Roanoke the day after Thanksgiving and got outshot 40-19? This was that same game with roles reversed.

Tip your cap to Henry Dill who is playing the best hockey he's ever played and saved the Rail Yard Dawgs on multiple occasions. Dill, who has spent most of the season on I.R., would be leading the league in save percentage if he had enough games played.

Fayetteville hit the crossbar in the third period, had narrow misses on seven minutes of powerplay time, although arguably it should have been more, and they outshot the Rail Yard Dawgs 35-25.

Similarly to the "bridge icing before the road," these are slippery losses. On the bus in passing, Taylor Best used the term "puck luck" to describe them.

And then- the hit. With 12:32 to go in the game, Vojtech Zemlicka, the only active player-assistant in the SPHL, boarded Taylor McCloy into the end wall.

Without giving too much attention to an awful decision on the part of Zemlicka and subsequent frustrations on the handling of the play, you would hope malicious aggravations of that nature are dealt with accordingly- and Zemlicka's group should have come away with a major penalty kill. It didn't happen.

Succinctly, when Marksmen assistant coach Jason Binkley and Marksmen forward Bryan Moore who have 522 games of ECHL hockey combined under their belt, acknowledge some mismanagement- I'd listen.

What was encouraging though, was to see the way the team rallied for their injured captain. The Marksmen tied the game with 7:20 to go and had chances late, but just ran out of time.

The bridge ices before the road. The challenges this team is facing now lead to the hope of stability and consistency in the near future. And with Saturday's effort- you should get a very good look at where this team is heading, in the right direction.

This weekend's tests are crucial as well. A litmus test vs. the second-place team in the league and then a tangle with a scrappy Birmingham group.

Let's see if the Marksmen can catch some heat and shake off the last bits of an icy weekend.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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