The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs hung three goals in the second period but ultimately dropped a tight game to the Knoxville Ice Bears, 4-3, Saturday night at Berglund Center.
After a scoreless first period, the Dawgs opened the scoring just over a minute into the second. Jeff Jones controlled the puck below the goal line and fed CJ Stubbs in front of the net for a rip that beat Joseph Murdaca top shelf. On Teddy Bear Toss night, stuffed animals rained down from the stands and the Dawgs took a 1-0 lead.
Knoxville answered just over a minute later, however, when Bryce Nielsen was fed in front for a shot that Jake Theut stopped. Nielsen corralled his own rebound and flipped it over Theut to tie the game at one.
Roanoke quickly regained the lead though as Matt O’Dea kept a clearing attempt in at the blue line and kicked it forward to Brad Riccardi. He carried the puck toward the net and fed Lincoln Griffin for a one-timer on the back post that darted past Murdaca to push the score back to 2-1.
The Ice Bears again responded quickly when Gehrett Sargis beat a screened Theut with a wrist shot that successfully navigated traffic. They then took the lead as Jacob Benson forced a turnover and fired a wrist shot past Theut’s glove that made it 3-2.
The Dawgs tied things up in the waning moments of the second period. Travis Armstrong took a wrist shot from the point that deflected off of a Knoxville defenseman and ricocheted over Murdaca’s shoulder, evening the score at three.
Knoxville grabbed the lead for good early in the third thanks to a fortuitous bounce. Brady Fluerent controlled the puck in the corner and sent a pass to the front of the net. It bounced off of Theut’s left pad and trickled into the net, putting the Ice Bears on top, 4-3.
Riccardi had two assists, Mac Jansen and Stubbs both extended their point streaks to five games and Theut made 21 saves in the losing effort. The Rail Yard Dawgs fell to 4-11-2 in the loss while Knoxville improved to 12-4-1. Roanoke will return to action on Friday night on the road in Georgia against the Macon Mayhem at 7:30 PM. The pregame show on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey network begins at 7:15 PM and can be accessed via the new Rail Yard Dawgs app, available now in the App Store and on Google Play.