PEORIA, IL. – The Rail Yard Dawgs controlled play for most of the game, but came up inches short to the Peoria Rivermen in a 3-2 Game One Loss at the Peoria Civic Center on Thursday night. Travis Armstrong and Gehrett Sargis scored for Roanoke.
The Dawgs took a few minutes to find their footing in the opening period, but opened the scoring at 13:38 when Mac Jansen dodged a pair of Rivermen skaters and centered the puck for a crashing Armstrong to smash home. Peoria had a 10-8 shots on goal advantage in the opening 20 minutes, but the Dawgs took the one-goal lead into the first intermission.
Roanoke continued to heat up in the second period, as Sargis tipped a shot by Nick Ford into the Peoria net to make it 2-0 Dawgs at 4:11. Then, penalties began to haunt Roanoke. The Rivermen got a rebound goal on their second power play of the period at 12:29 by Mitch McPherson to cut the deficit in half, and another power play goal at 17:24 on a tip by Mike Laidley tied the contest. A scrum at the end of the period would put the Dawgs on the power play to start the third period of the deadlocked 2-2 game.
Roanoke came out firing on the power play, and had another breakout chance after Peoria killed the penalty. Goaltender Jack Berry made about half a dozen incredible saves throughout the period, but four in particular during that sequence proved crucial. Despite being outshot 9-2 in the first six-plus minutes of the frame, Lordanthony Grissom was able to rattle home a puck into the Roanoke net at 6:47 to give Peoria its first lead. The Dawgs had a late power play, and plenty of chances to tie the score, but Berry stood tall. The final 10 seconds featured an all-out scrum for a loose puck in front of the Peoria cage, and somehow the puck stayed out to hand Game One to the hosts.
Roanoke’s Sammy Bernard stopped 21-of-24 shots, while Berry made 34 saves on 36 shots faced. Peoria went 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Dawgs went 0-for-5.
The Rail Yard Dawgs will stay on the road for Game Two against the Peoria Rivermen tomorrow night at 8:15 p.m. EST, and will host Game Three of the President’s Cup Final on Monday, May 2 at Berglund Center at 7:05 p.m. EST. Tickets for Monday’s game are available now online and at the Berglund Center box office, and you can watch the games on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network on HockeyTV or listen via Mixlr. The 2022 President’s Cup Playoff run for the Dawgs is sponsored by Haley Toyota.