ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (3-0) survived a late charge by the Peoria Rivermen (2-1), and prevailed in a 3-2 win at Berglund Center on Wednesday night. Nick Ford, Jason Lavallée, and Josh Nenadal notched goals, and Austyn Roudebush made 32 saves on 34 shots faced for Roanoke.
The first period saw the Rivermen take the game to the Dawgs, outskating Roanoke in the first period. The Dawgs had three power play chances in the opening frame, but it was a shorthanded goal by Peoria that opened the scoring. Alec Hagaman forced a takeaway and broke out on his own, tucking the puck over the goal line at 7:32 to give Peoria the lead. On that same power play for the Dawgs, Ford quickly tied the score with a water bottle popper of a shot at 8:11. The Rivermen had the next power play chance, and Marcel Godbout gave Peoria a 2-1 lead at 14:05. That score held into the first intermission.
Roanoke turned the tables in the middle frame, tallying 10 of the period’s first 12 shots on net. The fourth power play of the game led to the tying goal for the Dawgs, as Stephen Alvo and Nenadal carefully navigated the puck through the slot to a wide-open Lavallée at the left goal post. Lavallée smashed it into an open net at 9:48 to tie the game at 2-2. After that, it was Lavallée’s turn to put the puck on a platter beautifully for Nenadal, as Lavallée’s seam pass from the left wing circle split the Peoria defense to Nenadal, who smashed the puck into the net for Roanoke’s first lead of the game at 11:29. The Dawgs held that 3-2 lead into the final frame.
The third period was a total onslaught by Peoria – the visitors outshot Roanoke 16-3 in the final 20 minutes of the game. The Dawgs survived with some gritty play in their own zone the rest of the night, blocking shots, clearing pucks, and relying on Roudebush between the pipes. Peoria did have one goal disallowed for contact with Roudebush, who the officials ruled had frozen the puck. In the end, Roanoke prevailed with the one-goal win, giving the Dawgs a chance to sweep the series and return to the President’s Cup Finals with one more win in the best-of-three series.
Peoria’s Jack Berry saved 19-of-22 shots in the game for the visitors. The Dawgs went 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Rivermen were 1-for-2 on their two power play chances.
Roanoke will hit the road for Game Two on Friday, April 21 against the Peoria Rivermen. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EST at Carver Arena. Game Three, if necessary, will take place on Sunday, April 23 against the Peoria Rivermen with puck drop scheduled for 5:15 p.m. EST at Carver Arena, if necessary. The Dawgs will be hosting Bud Light Watch Parties at Club 611 located inside of Berglund Center for the away games (attendance is free to public, food/beverages available for purchase). Single-game playoff tickets are on sale now online or at the Berglund Center box office. Roanoke’s 2023 President’s Cup Playoffs run is sponsored by Haley Toyota of Roanoke.
Photo Credit: Brian Collett // BC Captures