ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (23-14-3) couldn’t muster up a comeback on Thursday night, falling 4-1 to the Knoxville Ice Bears (25-14-3) at Berglund Center. Spencer Kennedy’s first professional goal was Roanoke’s lone tally.
The Dawgs started out strong, outshooting Knoxville 16-7 in the first period alone. However, a turnover right in front of their own net allowed Jagger Williamson to open the scoring for the Ice Bears at 4:20. Kennedy’s rebound blast after a Chris Vella shot was saved tied the score at 12:22, and Kennedy fought Knoxville’s Justin Portillo before the puck even dropped to resume play. The game was tied heading to the first intermission.
The second period saw both teams have great chances, but it was another Roanoke turnover in its own zone that led to Knoxville’s eventual winning goal. Williamson finished off a great centering pass by Justin MacDonald at 6:38 to make it 2-1 for the visitors. Roanoke’s Matt O’Dea dropped the gloves with Knoxville’s Rex Moe after Moe boarded Roanoke’s Josh Nenadal, but the Dawgs still trailed 2-1 entering the final period.
The third period was controlled by the Ice Bears, who outshot Roanoke 13-6 in the last frame. A Dean Balsamo shot went off of Stephen Alvo’s skate and into the Roanoke net for Knoxville’s third goal at 8:49. Kennedy had his second fight of the night with Preston Kugler shortly after, but the Dawgs never changed the momentum. Balsamo’s empty net score with 15 seconds left put the cherry on top for Knoxville, as the Ice Bears have now won 10 of their last 13 games.
Brody Claeys stopped 26-of-29 shots faced in net for Roanoke, while Knoxville’s Kristian Stead was fantastic with 33 saves on 34 shots faced. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play.
Roanoke will stay home on Friday, February 24 at 7:05 p.m. EST to face the Knoxville Ice Bears at Berglund Center. Season tickets and single-game tickets are available by calling the Rail Yard Dawgs office, visiting the ‘Tickets’ page on our website, or by visiting the Berglund Center box office.
Photo Credit: Ashlie Brammer