ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs held onto their two-goal lead throughout the third period, defeating the Huntsville Havoc 5-3 in Game One of the President’s Cup semifinals on Thursday night. Jeff Jones scored twice, while Brant Sherwood, Nick Ford, and Sean Leonard added goals for Roanoke.
The Dawgs opened the scoring at 4:44, when Sherwood and Nick DeVito combined to force a Havoc turnover and DeVito found a streaking Sherwood who scored. Rob Darrar pounded home a power play goal at 7:59 to tie the game at 1-1. Roanoke re-gained the lead at 14:56 on a power play blast of their own for Jones, assisted by Mac Jansen and Brady Heppner. The Dawgs led 2-1 entering the first intermission.
The second period was a shootout, with the Dawgs striking first via a CJ Stubbs feed to Ford, who buried the breakaway shot at 6:50 to extend the lead to two. Huntsville got one back via a Jacob Barber power play goal at 10:45, but a blue-line blast by Leonard just 25 seconds later gave him his first professional goal and put the Dawgs up 4-2. Roanoke tacked on another as Jones once again scored on the power play, with Jansen and Matt O’Dea grabbing assists as the Dawgs led 5-2 at 14:42. Barber answered at 15:30 to close out the scoring, and Roanoke took a 5-3 lead into the final period.
Roanoke was able to keep the Havoc at bay in the final frame, despite being outshot 11-5 in the period. Sammy Bernard saved eight-of-nine shots for Roanoke before an injury forced him out of the action at the end of the first period. Austyn Roudebush came in and stopped 18-of-20 shots in relief for the Dawgs. Huntsville’s Hunter Vorva managed saves on 26-of-31 shots that he faced. The Havoc and Dawgs each went 2-for-7 on the power play.
The Rail Yard Dawgs will travel for Game Two against the Huntsville Havoc, and will play Game Three in Huntsville as well, if necessary. Puck drops on Saturday night for Game Two at 8:00 p.m. EST. 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.