PELHAM, Ala. - Jacob Caffrey made 26 saves, Cam Bakker had three points and the Rail Yard Dawgs staved off elimination and beat the Birmingham Bulls, 4-1, in game two of the semifinals on Friday night at the Pelham Civic Complex. Roanoke’s win forced a winner-take-all game three that is set for Saturday night.
The Rail Yard Dawgs opened the scoring in the first period while working on a power play. Birmingham defenseman Caleb Apperson broke his stick in a collision with Adrian Carbonara and the Dawgs kept the Bulls pinned in their defensive end with no chance to replace it. They eventually worked the puck to Ben Bauer who fired a snap shot that got through traffic, glanced off the inside of the right post and trickled in, giving Roanoke a 1-0 lead.
Later in the period, Birmingham worked the puck to Josh Harris who appeared to have a point-blank shot at the net with Caffrey out of position. Josh Nenadal however sprinted back toward the net and crunched Harris with a check to knock him off the puck and negate the scoring chance.
Roanoke added to its lead early in the second period when Everett Thompson dug a puck out of the corner and fed it to the front of the net. Nenadal got inside position along the right post and tapped it past Mavric Parks to make the score 2-0.
Just over nine minutes into the second, the net behind Parks came dislodged and the officials blew the play dead. It was ruled that Parks had intentionally pushed the net off its pegs and he was given a two minute minor and a game misconduct for doing so. Parks would leave the game having made 11 saves on 13 shots and was replaced by Sebastian Andersson.
The Dawgs wasted no time in getting to Andersson on the ensuing power play. Bakker took a wrist shot that glanced off of Cody Dion in front and hit the back of the net, pushing the Dawgs lead to 3-0.
Birmingham did get on the board late in the third with its goaltender pulled for an extra attacker. Caleb Apperson set up Taylor Dickin for a one-timer that he snuck past a lunging Caffrey to make it 3-1. Roanoke quickly pushed the lead back to three though when Bakker fired a puck into the empty net from his own blue line, pushing the score to its 4-1 final.
Bakker had a goal and two assists, Bauer finished with a goal and an assist and Caffrey made 26 saves on 27 shots. There were a combined 28 penalties called in the game and the Dawgs went 2-for-11 on the power play.
Roanoke staved off elimination with the victory and forced a decisive game three that’s set for Saturday night. Puck drop at the Pelham Civic Complex is scheduled for 7:00 PM CDT and the pregame show on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network will begin at 6:45 PM CDT. The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the President’s Cup Finals.
Copyright 2019 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.