FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The hole was too deep to dig out of.
The combination of facing the league's best power play team, a struggling penalty kill, playing on the road and Peter Di Salvo's shortest outing of the year proved too many obstacles for the Quad-City Storm to overcome Friday night.
Allowing four goals in the opening 10 1/2 minutes gave the Fayetteville Marksmen all the breathing room they needed as they dealt the Storm a 5-3 loss at the Crown Coliseum.
Coming into the game, the Marksmen had scored 19 goals with the man advantage in front of their home crowd. Quad-City allowed 18 goals down a player away from the TaxSlayer Center.
Brandon McMartin gave Fayetteville the early lead at the 3 minute, 12 second mark with a power play goal, one of eight Marksmen players who registered a point.
The next three goals were scored in a span of 1:19 as Travis Jeke, Darren McCormick and Tim Kielich on the power play gave the Marksmen a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
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McCormick's goal at 9:52 ended Di Salvo's night after only seeing eight shots.
The Storm rallied in the second.
Brian Rowland put Q-C on the board at 2:37 on a short-handed goal from Dean Yakura. Fifteen minutes later, former Marksman Michael Casale scored his sixth goal with the Storm at 17:52 to make it 4-2 after the second period.
A former Peoria connection between Stephen Gaul and Dean Yakura created the lone power play goal out of five attempts at 13:21 in the third to trim it to a one-goal game.
Taylor McCloy, who played for Quad-City earlier this season, converted an empty net goal in the final minute. McCloy also had an assist on McMartin's opening goal.