ROANOKE, VA . – The Rail Yard Dawgs kept the Evansville Thunderbolts at bay in the third period on Friday night, holding on for a 3-2 victory at Berglund Center.
Brady Heppner, Nick Ford, and CJ Stubbs scored for Roanoke, and Henry Dill saved 30 of 32 shots faced.
The first period began with physical play right off of the bat, and Travis Armstrong was assessed a roughing penalty. While on the penalty kill, Heppner caught a clearance out of the air from Brant Sherwood and was all alone in the Evansville zone, firing it by Brian Billett’s blocker to give Roanoke the lead at the 7:27 mark. Just 92 seconds later, Jeff Jones laid the puck off to the left wing where Ford blasted the puck by Billett to double Roanoke’s lead. That score held until the first intermission.
Roanoke made it 3-0 at the 5:09 mark in the second period when a nasty bounce off of the backboards left the puck right in front of Stubbs, who was wide open in front of the Evansville zone. The Dawgs even got two consecutive power play chances after that with a chance to seal the victory, but the Thunderbolts were the ones who got on the scoreboard with a shorthanded goal of their own via MacKay. Mills scored less than two minutes later and with five minutes left in the period, Evansville was within one goal. There was a major skirmish at the 18:50 mark in the period, as Chris Vella pummeled Scott Kirton in a one-sided fight. Josh Nenadal and Charlie Pelnik also got involved for Roanoke, as well as Evansville’s Timothy Faulker. Pelnik was assessed a game misconduct for leaving the bench to fight, Nenadal received a 10-minute major for unsportsmanlike conduct – obscene language, and Vella and Kirton received five minute majors. The Dawgs still led 3-2 entering the final period.
The third period started well for the Dawgs, as they doubled up the Bolts in shots on goal for the first half of the period. But Evansville had their chances down the stretch, which Roanoke’s Dill was prepared for. He made a plethora of big saves, and even though Evansville’s Billett saved a penalty shot by Stubbs with 4:32 left to play, Dill still helped to will the Dawgs to the victory in the closing moments.
Evansville went 0-for-6 on the power play, while Roanoke was 0-for-4. Both teams scored shorthanded.
The Dawgs will be back home tomorrow night against the Evansville Thunderbolts. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m EST at Berglund Center. Season tickets, packages, group tickets, and single game tickets for home games are on sale now, and you can listen to the games on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network via Mixlr or watch it on HockeyTV.