HUNTSVILLE, AL. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (20-8-3) never led against the Huntsville Havoc (16-11-5, yet still managed to clutch out a 5-4 overtime win in dramatic fashion at the Von Braun Center on Saturday night. Steven Leonard scored twice, including the game-winning goal that beat the buzzer in overtime. Bailey Morrissette and John Macdonald each had one goal and two assists for the Dawgs, while Brenden Stanko sent the game to overtime with his tying goal in the third period.
Both teams started a bit sloppy in the first period, and each earned an early goal within the first half of the frame. Huntsville took an early lead on an Eric Henderson one-timer from the left wing at 2:44, but Roanoke answered back at 10:04 when Morrissette centered the puck to Macdonald on a counter attack and Macdonald rattled the puck into the Huntsville net. The Havoc reinstated their lead at 16:56, as Henderson’s poke check at his own blue line sprung Jack Jaunich for a breakaway goal that he finished off backhanded. Roanoke trailed by a goal at the first break.
The second period saw the Dawgs really take over the game, outshooting Huntsville 16-6 in the frame. Morrissette tied the score off of his own rebound at the 7:00 mark, but the Dawgs gifted Alex Kielczewski the next goal for Huntsville when he finished off his own rebound on a 1-on-4 attempt while his own team was changing. Kielczewski’s go-ahead goal at 9:35 was short lived, as a rebound jam by Leonard tied the score back at 3-all at 12:35. Two late holding penalties against Roanoke’s Jacob Kelly and Dom Marcinkevics put the Dawgs on a 5-on-3 penalty kill that would carry into the third period, but the game was tied at the end of 40 minutes.
The Dawgs got back to even strength early in the third period, but Henderson’s second goal of the game put Huntsville back in front at 4:54. Then, a rebound finish by Stanko off of a Marcinkevics shot tied the score for the fourth time at 13:51 for Roanoke. The Dawgs had outshot Huntsville 42-24, and had answered all four of the Havoc goals to force overtime. In the extra period, each team had one shot on goal with time running out and a shootout imminent. In the final breaths of the period, an incredible pass by Roanoke’s Josh Nenadal found Leonard driving towards the Huntsville net, and Leonard’s tidy backhand finish gave the Dawgs the victory with 00.0 showing on the scoreboard. Leonard was credited with the buzzer-beating goal, giving the Dawgs their 13th win in their last 16 games, and a clean sweep of their three games this weekend.
Roudebush saved 21-of-25 shots faced for Roanoke, while Brian Wilson saved 39-of-44 shots faced for Huntsville. Roanoke went 0-for-1 on the power play, while Huntsville went 0-for-3 on its chances.
The Rail Yard Dawgs will return home on Friday night, January 26, to take on the Pensacola Ice Flyers. Puck drop is slated for 7:05 P.M. EST at Berglund Center, and you can watch the game on Flo or listen for free on Mixlr. Ticket packages, group tickets, and single game tickets are on sale now by contacting the Rail Yard Dawgs office or visiting the Berglund Center box office.
Photo Credit: Paula Greenway