PELHAM, AL. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (27-14-8) came up just short on Friday night against the Birmingham Bulls (33-9-7), falling 4-3 in a road loss at Pelham Civic Complex. Billy Roche, Brendan Pepe, and John Macdonald scored for the Dawgs in the defeat.

The Dawgs started the game with a lot of energy, laying some big hits and holding Birmingham’s offense at bay for much of the first half of the opening period. At one point, Roanoke had four of the game’s first six shots on goal, but the Bulls started garnering chances as the period wore on. A power play chance late in the frame gave Birmingham a couple of good looks, but despite a 13-6 shots on goal advantage, the Bulls were still tied scoreless with the Dawgs at the end of the first period.

The second period was strong from Roanoke, as the Dawgs outshot Birmingham 13-12 in the frame. Yet, an early power play chance for the Bulls led to a rebound goal for Troy MacTavish at 2:28 that put the hosts in front. Roanoke would answer on a center-point missile by Roche at 10:28 that tied the game at 1-1. A miscommunication behind the Roanoke net led to a costly turnover late in the frame, as Nikita Kozyrev capitalized on the mistake at 17:40 to put the Bulls back ahead 2-1. Roanoke trailed by one heading to the third period.

Birmingham would extend its lead to two near the halfway point of the third period when MacTavish tallied his second goal of the night at 9:51, but Roanoke would receive a power play shortly after. A long-range snipe by Pepe to the top left corner of the net was the result of a beautifully drawn-up faceoff play, and the Dawgs made it 3-2 at 11:28 on the defenseman’s goal from just above the right-wing circle. Then, an avalanche of penalties came that hadn’t been called for most of the game at that point. After Roanoke had received three power plays to Birmingham’s two in the first 52 minutes, the Bulls would receive five power plays in the final eight minutes (including three 5-on-3 chances). Kozyrev’s second of the night at 12:46 made it a 4-2 game. The Dawgs would answer shorthanded at 15:36 and give themselves a chance when Macdonald smashed home a rebound on a shot by Pepe that brought the score to 4-3. Yet, the sudden barrage of penalties proved to be too much to overcome, as the Dawgs lost by one.

Austyn Roudebush stopped 41-of-45 shots faced in net for the Dawgs, while Hayden Stewart saved 28-of-31 shots faced in net for Birmingham. Roanoke went 1-for-3 on the power play, while Birmingham went 2-for-7 on its chances.

The Rail Yard Dawgs will stay on the road on Saturday night, March 16, to take on the Birmingham Bulls. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 P.M. EST at the Pelham Civic Complex, and you can watch the game on Flo or listen for free on Mixlr. Playoff packages are on sale now, and can be purchased by contacting the Rail Yard Dawgs office. Other season 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: Bryar Turner