ROANOKE, VA. – The Rail Yard Dawgs (30-17-5) took down the first-place Peoria Rivermen (35-14-4) with a 4-2 victory at Berglund Center on Friday. Rookie forward Jordan Xavier stole the show with two goals in his pro debut, Jason Lavallée scored his first goal as a Dawg, Billy Vizzo netted an unassisted goal, and goaltender Austyn Roudebush saved 29 shots for his league-best 23rd win of the year.
Both teams tried to feel each other out in a fairly conservative first period, but it was Xavier that opened the game up at 8:58 with a laser from the left wing that put the Dawgs on the board first. A Peoria power play late in the period gave Alec Hagaman a chance, and the captain made no mistake on his own left wing missile to tie the score 1-1 at 19:16. The game was tied entering the first intermission.
Roanoke was stronger in the first half of the second period, and a hounding forecheck led to the next go-ahead goal. Vizzo intercepted a Rivermen pass at Peoria’s blue line, dangled into the slot, and blasted a shot into the net to make it 2-1 for Roanoke at 5:21. The second half of the frame saw the Rivermen tie the score during four-on-four action as Dale Deon stabbed home a rebound at 13:41 to make it 2-2. Peoria dominated the next few minutes, but the Dawgs stole a goal late in the period as Nick Ford centered the puck from behind the Peoria net to Lavallée who steered it into the net with 15 seconds left in the frame. Roanoke led 3-2 heading to the final period.
The defense and goaltending for both teams stiffened up in the third period, as the Rivermen tried to knot the score and Roanoke looked for the dagger. The Rivermen outshot the Dawgs 31-25 in the game, but it was Roanoke that put the game on ice late when Peoria emptied the net. Xavier rocked home an empty-net goal at 18:51 to top off an incredible professional debut, as Roanoke won its first meeting against Peoria this season.
Peoria’s Eric Levine saved 21-of-24 shots in the game The Dawgs went 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Rivermen went 1-for-2.
Roanoke will stay home tomorrow, April 1 at 7:05 p.m. EST against the Peoria Rivermen at Berglund Center. Playoff packages and single-game tickets are available now by calling the Rail Yard Dawgs office, visiting the ‘Tickets’ page on our website, or by visiting the Berglund Center box office.
Photo Credit: Ashlie Brammer