PELHAM, AL. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (21-10-5) played extremely well, but weren’t able to overcome an opportunistic performance by the Birmingham Bulls (25-6-6) in a 4-2 loss at the Pelham Civic Complex on Saturday night. Alex DiCarlo’s power play goal and Hunter Hall’s first career SPHL goal led the Dawgs.

Both teams took time to find their footing in the first period, with Roanoke registering seven of the game’s first 11 shots on goal. Birmingham received two power play chances on consecutive cross-checking penalties by the Dawgs, and that allowed the Bulls to start generating a ton of scoring chances. Roudebush and the Roanoke defense was able to hold out the Bulls through the penalties, and the game was still tied at 0-0 at the first intermission.

The second period felt like it was controlled by Roanoke, as the visitors outshot Birmingham 19-7 in the frame and rattled off six of the first seven shots on net in the frame. Once the Bulls finally cleared their defensive zone in the early moments of the period, a Matt Wiesner transition score opened the scoring at 4:31. On one of the few occasions in which the Bulls had sustained possession of the puck in the Roanoke zone during the second period, they were able to find their second goal. Carson Vance ripped the puck from the left-wing point to make it 2-0 at 12:45. Roanoke’s only power play of the night came a few minutes later, and Mac Jansen would find DiCarlo at the bottom of the right wing circle from behind the Birmingham net for an easy power play score by DiCarlo at 16:44. It was a 2-1 game heading to the final frame.

The Dawgs continued to dictate the tempo in the third period, registering eight of the first nine shots on goal in the frame and outshooting the Bulls 15-5 down the stretch. Hall’s first SPHL goal came on a rebound from DiCarlo’s shot at 3:30 to tie the score at 2-2, and it felt like Roanoke might be on the verge of flipping the scoreline in its favor. However, an incredible move on a one-on-one situation set up Birmingham’s Drake Glover for his 24th goal of the year at 8:40 to push Birmingham back in front. A mistake by Roudebush on a clearance attempt in his own zone allowed Nick Fea to fire the puck into a mostly open net at 14:20 to make it a 4-2 game. The Dawgs emptied the net for most of the last three minutes or so, but couldn’t mount a comeback in the two-goal defeat.

Roudebush saved 23-of-27 shots faced for Roanoke, while Hayden Stewart saved 39-of-41 shots faced for Birmingham. Roanoke went 1-for-1 on the power play, while Birmingham went 0-for-2 on its chances.

The Rail Yard Dawgs will return home next Friday night, February 9, to take on the Macon Mayhem. 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: Michele Hancock