PELHAM, Ala. – Mac Jansen and Cody Dion each scored twice and the Rail Yard Dawgs netted four consecutive goals to take a 4-2 lead but they could not hold on as they were defeated by the Birmingham Bulls in Game 3, 6-4, Saturday night at the Pelham Civic Complex. Roanoke’s season ended with the semifinals loss.
Birmingham opened the scoring in the first period while working on the power play. Matt Fuller slid a pass to Justin Larson on the right wing who blasted a one-timer past a lunging Jacob Caffrey and the Bulls took a 1-0 advantage.
Later in the period, the Dawgs turned the puck over in their own zone and the Birmingham picked it up and quickly developed a three-on-two rush. Larson fed Craig Simchuck in the right wing circle and his snap shot was partially blocked by Caffrey but still managed to trickle over the goal line and extend the lead to 2-0.
The Rail Yard Dawgs answered just over 30 seconds later. Jeff Jones fired a shot from the right wing that was stopped by Mavric Parks. He was unable to cover the rebound however and Jansen flipped the loose puck into the net, cutting the deficit in half.
Roanoke carried that momentum into the second period. Early in the frame, with the Dawgs on a power play, Cam Bakker took a shot from the right wing that Parks stopped but Dion picked up the puck and jammed it in, tying the game at two.
Later in the period, a broken play led to a bouncing puck that found Jansen in the slot. He swatted a backhander past Parks and the Dawgs took the lead, 3-2.
Roanoke added to that lead later in the second when Nate O’Brien found Everett Thompson for a slap shot in the high slot. His shot was headed wide but Dion redirected it past Parks, pushing the lead to 4-2.
The Bulls responded quickly though with a power play tally. Geoff Crisfield took a wrister from the left wing that snuck through Caffrey’s blocker side. They then tied the game in the final minutes of the period as Taylor Dicken poked home a rebound to even the score at four.
Birmingham snagged the lead for good early in the third, again on a power play. Josh Harris set up Jacob Barber for a one-timer from the right circle that he cranked past Caffrey. The lead grew to 6-4 with another power play tally from Crisfield later in the period.
Roanoke pulled Caffrey for an extra attacker with just over three minutes to play in the third but could not get anything else past Parks. The Birmingham goaltender made 11 saves in the frame and his team held on to take the game, 6-4, and win the series, 2-1.
The Rail Yard Dawgs season came to an end with the deepest postseason run in franchise history. Birmingham now advances to the President’s Cup Final and will take on the defending champion Huntsville Havoc.