By: Joey Raymond
Headline Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network
Roanoke, VA –The biggest rivalry in the SPHL is back again as the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs and the Knoxville Ice Bears meet again. Last time these two squads met, we had 3 suspensions, some ejections, and a ton of drama. Tonight in front of a sold out Berglund Center, the first sell out of the season for the Dawgs, both teams are set to do battle. I can’t reiterate enough how much these two teams do not like each other. Roanoke has dropped their last four games and Knoxville has found a bit of a winning way, having won three of their last six. However, come puck drop, throw out all records because when these two teams meet face to face, all bets are off.
First Period Recap:
Scoring would start earlier in this game as Justin Levac would find himself in open space and bury it underneath Austin Roudebush to give them a 0-1 lead, only a few minutes in this game. Immediately after the goal, we get our first fight of the game, which results in Josh Nenadal getting a game misconduct and ejected from the game. We’d get our first penalty not too long after thanks to a Knoxville hooking penalty. Roanoke would get some incredible chances to score but Knoxville would ultimately kill the penalty. Shortly after the penalty kill, it’d be the Dawgs turn to sit in the penalty box. The penalty kill would be successful, keeping us with a score of 0-1. A few minutes after the kill, Roanoke’s Owen McDade who would fire the puck into the back of the net to tie it at 1-1. Roanoke would find the net again only 30 seconds later, as again Owen McDade found the net to get a 2-1 lead. Fast forward to 2 minutes left to go, Knoxville would take another seat in the penalty box. The Ice Bears would manage to kill the penalty as the clock expires, keeping us at 2-1 at the end of the period.
Second Period Recap:
Roanoke is forced to start this period a man down thanks to getting called for a roughing penalty on the way back to the locker room at the start of the last intermission. Roanoke would have no issue killing the penalty. 4 minutes into the period Knoxville would find open space in the Roanoke zone which resulted in a Ice Bears goal, tying the game up at 2-2. 12 minutes would pass in the game when Knoxville would get another opportunity at the net. Dawson McKinney would find open space thanks to a beautiful pass from Tyler Rollo, giving the Ice Bears a 2-3 lead. Another 2 minutes and 30 seconds would pass and Roanoke would get a scoring chance off the face off in the Ice Bears zone. They’d find Billy Roche on the top of the key who would bury it underneath the goalkeeper’s legs to tie the game up at 3-3. After the goal, Knoxville would spend some time in the penalty box, putting Roanoke on the powerplay. While on the powerplay, Knoxville would commit another penalty, putting Roanoke on a 5 on 3 man advantage. However, before the Dawgs can make anything happen, the clock would hit all zeros. The period would end with us tied at 3-3.
Third Period Recap:
Even with 2 men down, Knoxville would successfully kill the penalty with no issues. Once they get back to full strength they manage to get a shot past Roudebush, taking a 3-4 lead. The Dawgs and the Ice Bears would spend the next 12 minutes of this game taking turns on the power play. A total of 5 penalties would come, resulting in a total of 10 minutes of power play time for the two squads. Unfortunately for both, neither of them would score on those chances. With 3:30 left to play, a massive brawl would break out. As a result, 1 player on each squad would be ejected and 2 more players would receive 5 minute majors. Roanoke would take a time out to discuss things after, as they would get a 5 on 3 power play as a result. After the time out, Roanoke would pull Roudebush. In doing so, Roanoke would give themselves a 6 on 3 opportunity and a chance to score. Thanks to Brendan Stanko they would, tying the game up 4-4. The time would run out on the third period before anything else would happen, bringing us to OT
Over time as usual, it is 3 on 3 hockey for 5 minutes or until one of the 2 squads score. In this over time period, it would not take long. Dawson McKinney of the Knoxville Ice Bears would find himself and Tyler Rollo in a 2 on 1 situation after a breakdown in Roanoke’s defense. After passing the puck back and forth, McKinney would bury it past Austin Roudebush, giving Knoxville a very hard earned win in the Dawg house.
For Roanoke the losing ways continue as this loss means that the Dawgs have dropped 5 of their last 6 matchups. Thankfully for the Dawgs they at least get a point for the standings out of this one for bringing it to overtime. The Dawgs will at least get a chance to rest, not playing again until Friday, where they’ll play host to the Evansville Thunderbolts. They’ll play Evansville twice that weekend, playing again on Saturday. For Knoxville, they look like they might be turning a new leaf here, getting a gritty win against the Dawgs. They’ve scavenged up 4 wins in their last 7 and are starting to look like a more complete squad. Knoxville will also get to play the host next week, welcoming the Macon Mayhem into Knoxville. The Ice Bears will have a chance to really fine tune some things against the last place squad. Those two games will really prove whether or not they could make a run and maybe make a push for the 8 seed in the playoffs.