KNOXVILLE, TN. – The Rail Yard Dawgs fell just short in the eighth round of the shootout, losing 3-2 to Knoxville on Sunday afternoon.
Dean Balsamo netted his second goal of the shootout to win the game for the Ice Bears. Jeff Jones scored his 49th career goal as a Dawg to become the franchise’s all-time leader in goals scored, and Brady Heppner scored his third goal in the past two games for Roanoke.
The first period started with a power play goal for Knoxville by Andrew Bellant at the 3:12 mark. Jones tied the score at 12:21 to gain the goalscoring record, assisted by Mac Jansen and Nick Ford. The score was tied at 1-1 entering the first intermission.
Heppner gave Roanoke the lead during 4-on-4 action at 9:39 in the second period, as CJ Stubbs and Matt O’Dea earned the apples. At the 16:35 mark, Stepan Timofeyev tipped a shot from the point that crossed the Roanoke goal line and tied the score at 2-2. The game was tied entering the third period.
The third period was kicked off with a fight between Chris Vella and Steven Leonard at 4:53, and a pair of power play chances for both sides didn’t lead to a go-ahead goal. Roanoke had a four minute power play following a double minor for high-sticking against Jeff Eppright with less than six minutes remaining, but couldn’t notch the game-winning score.
Roanoke dominated overtime, and Knoxville’s Kristian Stead stood on his head to help the Ice Bears kill off another Roanoke power play in the final two minutes of the extra period. Stubbs was thrown into the Knoxville net on a great chance to win the game to set up the power play, but Knoxville held off the Dawgs to reach a shootout. Stubbs and Ford scored goals for the Dawgs on their eight chances, while Colton Fletcher and Balsamo scored once each leading into Knoxville’s eighth try. Balsamo backhanded the puck on Austyn Roudebush’s glove side to win the game for the Ice Bears.
Roanoke went 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Ice Bears scored once on their three power play chances. Roudebush saved 20-of-22 shots faced for Roanoke, while Stead saved 26-of-28 for Knoxville.
The Dawgs are back at home next Thursday, December 30 against the Fayetteville Marksmen. 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.