Roanoke Has Their Best Game Of The Season , Defeats Evansville 7-0 (2-16-24)

By: Joey Raymond

All Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

Roanoke, VA —We’re back in the beautiful star city nested in the mountains of Virginia as the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs take on the Evansville Thunderbolts. The Dawgs have lost five of its past six games, 3 of which came in overtime. Despite that, Roanoke remains within four points of Fayetteville for second place in the SPHL. Whereas Evansville isn’t the worst team in the league sitting at eighth place, they’re still only a few losses away from being in last place. If Roanoke looks to get back on track, a weekend series against Evansville could be just the formula. Roanoke and Evansville will battle twice this weekend, this being the first game of the series. With only 20 games left in the SPHL season, this series could make or break Evansville’s season.

First Period Recap:

Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

​It does not take much time for Roanoke to find the net in this game. It would only take just under 3 minutes into play when Jacob Kelly would fire a shot past Brendahn Brawley to give the Dawgs a 1-0 lead. Roanoke would keep on firing and shortly after, they’d score again. This time would come off the stick of Savva Smirnov, who would stretch the Dawg’s lead to 2-0. Roanoke would get a power play opportunity shortly after the goal, but wouldn’t be able to make anything of it. The rest of the period would consist of the teams skating back and forth with great defense and no offense. There would not be any other penalties called and the period would end with the Dawgs still up 2-0.

Second Period Recap:

Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

​Roanoke would come out firing on all cylinders in the second period, keeping the puck on the Evansville side of the ice for 5 minutes. With 5 minutes left to play, they’d finally find a crack in the Evansville defense as Tommy Munichiello would bury it underneath the goalkeeper to stretch the lead to 3-0. After the third goal, the Thunderbolts would show some clear frustration. With frustration comes pressing and eventually more mistakes. The Thunderbolts would make a major defensive miscue not but 4 minutes after the 3rd goal, allowing Savva Smirnov to score his 2nd goal of the night. That goal would stretch the Dawgs’ lead to 4-0. The rest of the period would be a clean game with no penalties and no more goals.

Third Period Recap:

Photo Credit: Katie Lovell-LMS Network

​The third period would open quietly and remain that way through the first 7 minutes of play. At the 13-minute mark, Roanoke would commit an interference penalty, putting Evansville on the power play. The Dawgs would go on to kill that penalty with no issue. It would only take a single minute after the penalty kill for the Dawgs would find Savva Smirnov again. He’d fire to the goalkeeper’s high glove side and into the back of the night for a hat trick goal, stretching the lead to 5-0. Shortly after, Evansville’s frustrations would reach a boiling point. The Thunderbolt’s Kenny Britton would start a fight with Tyson Kirkby. As a result of the fight, Britton would receive a couple of penalties, one of which was a game misconduct. That would get him ejected and put Roanoke on a power play. Roanoke would take full advantage of the penalty, scoring off a Mac Jansen slap shot, stretching the lead to 6-0. As the game would go on Roanoke would control the puck on the Evansville side of the ice for a majority of the period. CJ Stubbs would get an open opportunity with about 1:21 left to go and take full advantage. He’d score the seventh Roanoke goal of the night, giving them a 7-0 lead. The clock would run out not too long after, with Roanoke securing a huge win.