ROANOKE, Va. – As the SPHL regular season winds down, the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs have a chance to clinch the 8th and final spot for the playoffs this weekend.
“This group thrives at the Berglund Center,” said head coach Dan Bremner. “The opportunity to clinch a playoff spot is huge and we’ll do our part to make sure that happens on Friday.
Roanoke needs any combination of 4 points to clinch what would be the third playoff berth in franchise history.
The dawgs have felt confident in their last 5 games in what’s been a roller coaster of a season. They recently experienced a 9-game losing streak, before sweeping a home series last weekend. Player transactions have been higher than usual across the league.
“There was one weekend we were hit with some COVID restriction. We were down in Macon playing super short, local guys that were in the area that were able to play with us that weekend. We lost 4 players to the NHL taxi squads. It was also a weird year with some droughts with the NCAA offering that fifth year of eligibility for players who lost a year due to COVID,” Bremner said.
“It’s been a ton of movement and it’s been good to see the new bodies at the end of the year. It’s injected some life in our guys and the practice today was really high paced and good high-compete and I think getting those new fresh bodies in there is what’s driving it up.”
Through it all, the Dawgs are finding a way to have fun on the ice.
“That’s what it comes back to. We’ve all played hockey our whole lives so just having fun doing it, not gripping the stick too tight and dancing and having fun on the ice helps a lot for sure,” said Dawgs forward Brady Heppner.
Roanoke will play the top three teams in the SPHL standings to close out the regular season, beginning with Huntsville on Friday and Saturday night at the Berglund Center. It’s likely that the Rail Yard Dawgs will face the Havoc in the opening round of the postseason.
“We’ve played them really well and that’s our attitude going into all these series, it should be considered playoff hockey.”