EVANSVILLE, IN. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (1-0) controlled Game One on the road, taking down the Evansville Thunderbolts (0-1) with a 3-1 win at Ford Center. Gehrett Sargis scored twice, CJ Stubbs scored and Jordan Xavier each tallied one goal, Nick DeVito had three assists, and Austyn Roudebush saved 22-of-24 shots faced. Roanoke will have a chance to sweep the best-of-three series with a win in Game Two on Saturday night.
The first period saw both teams hesitant to be too aggressive, as the sides hadn’t met since December 2021. Neither team committed a penalty, and things looked to be trending towards a scoreless game entering the first intermission. That was until Sargis roared to life down the right wing, carrying a puck into the Evansville zone and unleashing a slick wrister to give the Dawgs a 1-0 lead with just 3.8 seconds to go in the period. Roanoke took that advantage into the break.
Sargis kept it rolling in the second period, picking off an Evansville pass and backhanding the puck into the net for his second goal of the night at 3:55. The Thunderbolts hung around, and a Pierre-Luc Lurette blue-line blast made it 2-1 at 12:56. The Dawgs didn’t take long to answer, as Stubbs tipped an outside shot by DeVito into the Evansville cage to make it 3-1 at 14:57. Roanoke held that two-goal cushion into the final period.
Roanoke did have to absorb some pressure in the third period, as the Thunderbolts got half of their 24 shots for the game during the final frame. Matt Dorsey elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 chance for Evansville and brought the deficit back to one 13:46. The Dawgs had a couple of nervy moments, but DeVito’s perfect saucer pass to Xavier allowed the Roanoke rookie to cap off the scoring at 17:25 to give the Dawgs a huge Game One victory.
Evansville’s Lucas Fitzpatrick saved 23-of-27 shots in the game. The Dawgs went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Bolts were scoreless on their one power play chance.
Roanoke will host the Evansville Thunderbolts in Game Two of its best-of-three first round series on Saturday, April 15, at 7:05 p.m. EST at Berglund Center. Single-game playoff tickets are on sale now online and at the Berglund Center box office. Roanoke’s 2023 President’s Cup Playoffs run is sponsored by Haley Toyota.
Photo Credit: Ashlie Brammer