ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (3-3) finally ran out of that late game magic they had possessed for so much of the 2023-2024 season on Saturday night, falling 3-1 to the Huntsville Havoc (4-1) in Game Three of the 2024 President’s Cup Semifinals at Berglund Center. Dominiks Marcinkevics scored the lone goal for Roanoke The win sends the Havoc back to the President’s Cup Final for first time since 2019, and Huntsville will face the second-seeded Peoria Rivermen in a best-of-three series.

Both teams had good chances in the first period of action, with the Dawgs registering the best two looks of the opening frame. The Havoc had two power plays in the first period while Roanoke had one, but it was Marcinkevics who stuffed home a rebound on a CJ Stubbs shot that had been saved to open the scoring at 13:49. Huntsville had an 11-7 shots on goal advantage, but Roanoke led at the first intermission.

Huntsville dominated the first 15 minutes of the second period, outshooting the Dawgs 8-2 during that span and keeping Roanoke pinned in to its own defensive zone. A 2-on-1 for the Havoc allowed Benito Posa to smash home a rebound after Doug Elgstam’s shot was saved to tie the game at 1-1 at the 4:25 mark. The Dawgs would respond when they got their second power play of the night at 16:09, and had the final eight shots on goal of the period. But the Havoc kept the Roanoke onslaught out of their net and the score was still tied after 40 minutes.

Roanoke had the best looks in the first few minutes of the third period, only for Huntsville to answer with some high-quality chances of its own. Ironically, it was a centering pass by Phil Elgstam that was deflected in the low slot and knocked in by Roanoke’s own skater at 8:06 to give the Havoc a 2-1 lead. Huntsville’s Dylan Stewart was credited for the goal. The Dawgs would empty their net in the closing minutes and had a few opportunities that came close, but Huntsville would seal the game at 18:54 on the empty net goal by Brett Humberstone. The 3-1 win by the Havoc prevented Roanoke from returning to the President’s Cup Final for the third straight year, as the Dawgs are now eliminated. 

Austyn Roudebush stopped 24-of-26 shots faced for Roanoke, while Mike Robinson stopped 25-of-26 shots in net for Huntsville. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play.

The Rail Yard Dawgs would like to thank all of our fans and sponsors for their continued support during the 2023-2024 season, and we hope to see you in the fall. Season tickets for the 2024-2025 campaign are on sale now by contacting the Rail Yard Dawgs office. You can find more information here. The 2024 President’s Cup Playoffs run for the Dawgs is sponsored by Haley Toyota.

Photo Credit: Michele Hancock