ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (16-7-3) overcame an incredibly chaotic game against the Knoxville Ice Bears (8-16-2) in a 5-1 blowout win at Knoxville Civic Coliseum on Sunday night. Nick Ford scored twice, while Mac Jansen, Xavier Filion, and Matt O’Dea added goals. The game featured 221 combined penalty minutes on 45 infractions as of this initial press release, but Roanoke won for the ninth time in its last 11 games and its fifth consecutive win dating back to December 30.
The Dawgs took the lead early on, when Jansen flicked on a shot-pass by Nick Ford inside of the right goal post at 7:34 to give Roanoke a 1-0 lead. A missed boarding call that should’ve been assessed to Knoxville’s Dawson McKinney incited Roanoke’s Sean Leonard to fight the Ice Bear, with Leonard receiving 17 minutes worth of penalties from the scrap. Still, the Dawgs killed off that Knoxville power play and led 1-0 at the first intermission.
The second period was an absolute slugfest, with 56 combined penalty minutes between the two sides. Roanoke and Knoxville received a combined eight power plays, including multiple 5-on-3 and 4-on-3 chances. Roanoke’s Stephen Alvo received a game misconduct as a third man in after Knoxville’s Kirill Nishnikov jumped after Roanoke’s Dom Marcinkevics at 5:18. Knoxville tied the game with an even strength goal at 9:57 when a Dawgs turnover was passed from Davis Kirkendall to Derek Osik, and Osik tied the game from the left wing. The first power play goal came via Filion on an assist by Alex DiCarlo at 12:32 to put the Dawgs back ahead 2-1. Josh Karlsson got a game misconduct for verbal abuse of officials at the end of the period, but Roanoke led 2-1 after 40 minutes.
The final 20 minutes were, simply put, a gong show. There were 119 penalty minutes total in the period, with 23 combined penalties called. Roanoke notched a power play goal on a missile by Ford at 0:49 to give the visitors a two-goal cushion. Ford ripped another power play goal at 10:28 off of a beautiful display of passing by the Dawgs, making it 4-1. Brenden Stanko bumped the puck up the left wall just 32 seconds later, and O’Dea sniped the puck into the net for his 100th career SPHL point to make it 5-1 for the Dawgs. On the ensuing faceoff, chaos ensued as Knoxville’s Justin Portillo made a bee-line after Marcinkevics and tried to jump him into a fight. Portillo received two game misconducts, a match penalty, and two other penalties for 37 penalty minutes in one fell swoop. Knoxville’s Troy Murray also dropped his gloves and egged on the entire Roanoke bench to try and bait a fight, and he received a game misconduct. Leonard tried to go and help Marcinkevics, and received two game misconducts during the sequence. It seemed as if all of the aggression had been spent, until one last intentional shot to the head by Knoxville’s Cole McKechney on Marcinkevics while the Roanoke winger was attempting to make a line change led to more absurdity. McKechney received a match penalty for illegal check to the head, and Roanoke’s Owen McDade went after him in a fight, receiving a game misconduct of his own. The divider between the two benches was eventually broken during the shouting match back and forth, and Roanoke head coach Dan Bremner received a game misconduct as well for verbal abuse of an official. At the end of the wild game, the Dawgs had won for the fourth time in four tries over the Ice Bears.
Brody Claeys was exceptional, making 29 saves on 30 shots faced for Roanoke, while Kristian Stead stopped 30-of-35 shots faced for Knoxville. Roanoke unofficially was 3-for-12 on the power play, while Knoxville went 0-for-6.
The Rail Yard Dawgs will stay on the road next Friday night, January 12, to take on the Pensacola Ice Flyers. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 P.M. EST at the Pensacola Bay 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: John Wacher