ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs allowed a pair of goals in the final minutes, and a late comeback came up short as they fell 3-2 to the Fayetteville Marksmen on Roanoke Express Tribute Night.
Mac Jansen opened the scoring barely over a minute into the action, and Jeff Jones scored shorthanded on a rebound goal with a minute remaining to pull the Dawgs back within one.
Jansen started things off by deflecting a blue line shot by Sean Leonard into the net to give the Dawgs a quick lead, as Leonard and Jones were credited with assists. After a Chris Vella slashing penalty at the 11:07 mark in the first period, Don Olivieri knotted the score at 1-1 with a blast from the point for a power play goal. Both teams would pick up one power play chance each during the rest of the period, but the score remained tied at one at the first intermission. Roanoke outshot the Marksmen 14-7 in the opening frame.
Roanoke continued to push the pace of play, outshooting the Marksmen 14-5 in the second period and earning two power play chances. Fayetteville’s Jason Pawloski made a handful of outstanding saves to keep the Marksmen in the game, including one pad save on Richie McCartney that was worthy of a SportsCenter highlight. After 20 more scoreless minutes, the teams remained tied entering the final period of regulation.
The Dawgs had more chances to grab the go-ahead goal in the first 15 minutes of the third period, but Pawloski continued to stand on his head. Right after the under-five media timeout, Fayetteville broke the game open via Bryce Ferrell. Ferrell slipped through a handful of Dawgs defenders from the left wing boards into the slot, and fired past Brody Claeys’ blocker to give Fayetteville the lead with 4:17 left to play. Just 26 seconds later, a long rebound out of the Fayetteville zone turned into a two-on-one chance for the visitors, and Taylor Best smashed home a centering pass from Taylor McCloy to make it 3-1. That would cause Brant Sherwood to head after Ferrell following the goal, as the two fought near the benches at the red line, while Bryce Martin and Harrison Harper got involved as well. Everyone except Ferrell received at least one game misconduct for the altercation, with Sherwood picking up two game misconduct penalties. That put Roanoke on the penalty kill for a five-minute major for the remainder of the game. Roanoke did bring the score within one while shorthanded, as Jones tapped a rebound by Pawloski after a slapshot by Tommy Pokorney. Pokorney and Jansen received assists, and the Dawgs had a few more shorthanded chances in the waning moments, but couldn’t tie the score before the horn sounded.
Claeys saved 16-of-19 shots that he faced for the Dawgs, while Pawloski stopped 38-of-40 attempts by Roanoke in an impressive display.
Roanoke will visit Fayetteville next weekend for a weekend doubleheader on Friday and Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST on Friday, and 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Season tickets, Wisler Plumbing and Air Family Four Packs, group tickets, and single game tickets are on sale now for future home games, and you can listen to the game on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network via Mixlr or watch it on HockeyTV.