Another last-minute goal killed the Quad City Storm.
Just like in their one-goal loss to the Peoria Rivermen a month ago, a goal in the final minute cost the Storm at least a point in a 4-2 loss to the Fayetteville Marksmen Friday at the TaxSlayer Center.
Alec Marsh scored the game-winner, burying his 12th goal of the season from behind the Storm net to break a 2-2 tie with 28 seconds left in the game.
Former Storm captain Don Olivieri iced the game with an empty-net goal with six seconds left to give the Marksmen the first game of a three-game series this weekend.
The goal came about after a pass kicked off the skate of Storm defenseman Mathias Ahman, and with the Storm out of position, Marsh capitalized, sliding the puck past Storm goaltender Peter Di Salvo on the far post.
"Just pray the hockey gods are on your side the next game," said Di Salvo, who made 28 saves. "It's an unfortunate bounce, I didn't like it personally on myself, but we've just got to regroup and get ready for (Saturday).
"I didn't see it go off (Ahman's) skate and then I felt it hit the inside of my skate and go in the net. Two bounces, it goes in the net."
It was a tough way to end after the Storm went toe-to-toe with the Marksmen, who are in second place in the league.
"Aside from the first few minutes where they took it to us and then a few spurts here and there, we outplayed them the majority of the game," Storm coach Dave Pszenyczny said. "It hurts not getting a point ... we've just got to find a way."
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The Storm out-shot the Marksmen 44-32 but couldn't solve Fayetteville goaltender Blake Wojtala, who made 42 saves, including several key ones with the Storm on a late power play in the third period.
"Their goaltender won them that game," Pszenyczny said. ""We know we can beat that team. Their goalie, I can't say enough, we had some grade 'A' scoring chances that we just couldn't bury."
Fists flew early as former Storm defenseman Josh Victor dropped the gloves with Storm forward Taylor Pryce after Pryce laid a big hit on Alec Marsh along the boards. Victor got the better of his former teammate.
The Marksmen thought they had scored a goal when a shot from behind the blue line rang in off the post, but Fayetteville was waived offsides, keeping the game scoreless heading into the first intermission.
Connor Fries put the Storm on the board with a power-play goal at 8:19 in the second period, jumping on a loose puck, wheeling around and beating Wojtala for his 11th goal of the season.
Dakota Klecha made it 2-0, tipping home a pass from Ricky Kramer for another power-play goal at 9:44.
The Marksmen quickly answered as Brian Bowen fired a wrister past Di Salvo for his 24th goal of the season at 10:01.
"Our bump-up shift was horrible," Pszenyczny said. "Easy, preventable, all we've got to do is get the puck deep at our blue line. We don't and it's in the back of our net."
Fayetteville tied the game at 18:21 as Travis Jeke fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and past Di Salvo to send both teams into the second intermission in a 2-2 tie.
After the game, Pryce was called up to the ECHL's Wichita Thunder, the first call-up of his career. Pryce leads the Storm with 14 goals and 25 points this season.
"He's definitely been one of the more consistent guys on the team, always getting scoring opportunities," Pszenyczny said. "He plays the game the right way as far as playing physical and not afraid to scrap, keeping guys honest out there. I'm glad he's getting this opportunity."