The Rail Yard Dawgs scored four unanswered goals in route to a 4-2 victory over the Thunderbolts on Friday night in Evansville.
Chris Vella tallied his first professional goal, Travis Armstrong and Matt O’Dea added their first goals of the season, and Brant Sherwood rounded out the scoring for Roanoke in a fantastic display by the visitors.
Evansville opened up the scoring in the first period, as Scott Kirton scored on the Bolts’ first shot on goal of the game. At the 7:09 mark of the opening stanza, Vella tipped down on Armstrong’s shot from the blue line for the rookie’s first goal, assisted by the captain as well as Roanoke winger Jackson Tucker. The Dawgs killed off the only penalty of the period, and we entered the first intermission knotted at 1-1.
The second period was dominated by Roanoke. While Evansville did kill off an early penalty in the period, the Dawgs were fired up by a fight between Vella and Eliott St-Pierre. Less than a minute later, Armstrong finally opened his scoring account for the season with a laser along the near side wing, assisted by CJ Stubbs and Jeff Jones. Later in the action, Roanoke capitalized on its second power play of the period on a deep shot by Matt O’Dea that made its way by Evansville’s Brian Billett to give the Dawgs a 3-1 advantage. Brady Heppner and Bryce Martin were credited with assists on the goal, and Roanoke entered the final intermission with a two-goal lead.
The third period saw another goal by O’Dea disallowed by the officials, only for Sherwood to fire a puck from the right wing that beat Billett on the glove side to put the Dawgs ahead 4-1 with 14:24 remaining. Armstrong and Heppner each picked up their second assists of the night. Zane Jones was able to dive at a loose puck in the crease and cut into Roanoke’s lead with 8:13 remaining, and four players were penalized in an ensuing scrum after the goal. Jones and Tanner Butler received minor penalties for Evansville, while Vella and Mac Jansen each received two minutes each for the Dawgs. Jansen was also given a game misconduct penalty for obscene language towards an official, and was ejected from the game. Roanoke held on in the final minutes after Evansville went to an empty net, and won its first road game of the season, third game overall in a row, and continued a seven-game point streak.
Austyn Roudebush saved 20-of-22 shots for the Dawgs, including multiple breakaways by the Bolts in the first period. Brian Billett was credited with 24 saves on Roanoke’s 28 shots in the game.
Roanoke stays in Evansville for another game tomorrow night at Ford Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EST. Season tickets, Wisler Plumbing and Air Family Four Packs, group tickets, and single game tickets are on sale now for future home games, and you can listen to the game on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network via Mixlr or watch it on HockeyTV.