ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (6-2) outlasted the Birmingham Bulls (5-4) for a 5-4 overtime win in Game Three at Berglund Center. Dominiks Marcinkevics netted the game-winning goal in overtime, with other scores by John Stampohar, Nick Ford, CJ Stubbs, and Nick DeVito for Roanoke.
The first period was a tug of war, as both teams held leads in the frame. Birmingham scored first on an unassisted breakaway by Carson Rose at 9:22, but Roanoke quickly answered. Stampohar’s first professional goal at 10:45 brought the Dawgs even, and they looked for more. Roanoke gained its first lead of the night on a right wing blast by Ford at 17:16 that made it 2-1, but just 38 seconds later a Zac Masson tap-in goal tied the game at 2-all again. The game entered the intermission tied.
Roanoke got an early power play in the middle period, and Stubbs ripped a centering feed by Ford at 2:26 into the net to make it 3-2 for the hosts. Birmingham had three power plays in the period, but the Dawgs killed them off each time. After 40 minutes, Roanoke held a 3-2 lead.
The battle continued to exchange hands in the third period, as a Jake Pappalardo goal at 1:27 quickly equalized the score at 3-3 for the Bulls. DeVito got on the end of a Ford assist at 4:55 to reinstate the lead at 4-3 for the Dawgs, and it seemed like Roanoke’s chances to close the game were through the roof when Birmingham’s Joe Colatarci was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct for elbowing at 12:46. Instead, the Bulls not only killed the five minutes off the clock unscathed, but a Rose breakaway at 14:23 tied the score on a shorthanded finish by the Birmingham forward. Roanoke and Birmingham would need overtime to decide Game Three.
The Dawgs were still a bit rattled early in the overtime period, and both teams actually hit a post in the first few minutes of the extra frame. But it was the Dawgs who outshot the Bulls 7-2 in the overtime, and 40-31 in the game, that would close it out. Marcinkevics was fed the puck by Matt O’Dea at the left wing circle, patiently waited to take the shot, and rattled the puck off of Birmingham’s Austin Lotz for the game-winning goal at 11:53. The Dawgs take a 2-to-1 series lead in the best-of-five President’s Cup Final. Roanoke’s crowd of 5,217 is the fourth largest all-time attendance in an SPHL postseason game.
Roanoke will host Game Four on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:05 p.m. EST at Berglund Center. Single-game tickets and parking passes for Game Four of the Final are on sale now both online and at the Berglund Center box office. Game Five, if necessary, will be on Thursday, May 4 at 8:00 P.M. EST at Pelham Civic Complex.
If you purchased a Playoff Package, please use Game E for Game Four. Season long parking passes and Club 611 passes will be accepted at both of these games. Roanoke’s 2023 President’s Cup Playoffs run is sponsored by Haley Toyota of Roanoke.
Photo Credit: Scott P. Yates // The Roanoke Times