ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs ended Huntsville’s nine-game winning streak, defeating the Havoc 4-2 at Berglund Center on Friday night. With Roanoke’s win and Birmingham’s loss to Knoxville, the Dawgs have clinched a spot in the 2022 President’s Cup Playoffs. Nick Ford, Travis Broughman, Brady Heppner, and Nick DeVito scored for Roanoke.
The opening period was a feeling out process for both teams, until Huntsville gained the first power play chance at the 15:17 mark of the frame. A Matt O’Dea blast was tipped by Ford, and Roanoke opened the scoring shorthanded at 16:26. The Havoc quickly answered with a Nate Pionk score 62 seconds later, but Broughman blistered a long-range shot by the blocker of Huntsville’s Hunter Vorva to reinstate the lead for Roanoke at the 18:55 mark. The Dawgs led 2-1 entering the first intermission.
The second period featured three more strong penalty kills by the Dawgs, as they kept the Havoc at bay. With just under five minutes left in the middle frame, Josh Nenadal forced a turnover and found Heppner all alone. Heppner froze Vorva, and calmly roofed the puck to make it 3-1 Roanoke at the 15:20 mark. Entering the final period, the Dawgs led by two goals.
Roanoke had a couple of chances early in the period to ice the game, but Vorva kept the Havoc alive. A rebound goal by Huntsville’s Mathieu Newcomb at the 9:38 mark turned the finish into a nail-biter. The Havoc had plenty of chances, but Roanoke kept hustling and stayed alive into the closing minutes. An empty net score from the neutral zone by DeVito with 27 seconds remaining capped off the win for the Dawgs, and helped to send them to the 2022 SPHL postseason.
Sammy Bernard saved 29-of-31 shots for Roanoke, while Vorva stopped 18-of-21 in net for Huntsville. The Havoc went 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Dawgs went 0-for-2 while adding their SPHL-leading 12th shorthanded score of the season.
The Rail Yard Dawgs are back at home tomorrow night against Huntsville on Paramount Network Yellowstone Night, sponsored by Bug Man Exterminating. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. EST at Berglund Center, and a portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Kip Nininger Memorial Scholarship Fund. Wisler Plumbing and Air Family Four Packs, group tickets, 2022-2023 season tickets, and single game tickets for home games are on sale now, and you can listen to the games on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network via Mixlr or watch it on HockeyTV.