December 17, 2017 - Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) - Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs
Last minute push comes up just short for Rail Yard Dawgs
ROANOKE, VA - Matt Zenzola made 23 saves and Riley Spraggs had two assists, but the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs fell to the Birmingham Bulls, 4-3, Thursday night at the Berglund Center.
Down 3-2 with a little under two minutes left in regulation, the Dawgs pulled Zenzola for an extra attacker. After a handful of chances on the offensive side, Roanoke found itself in the defensive zone defending an empty net. Keegan Bruce eventually gathered the puck on the left wing and flung it into the empty net to make it 4-2.
The Dawgs would fight back with a power play goal in the final moments of regulation as Steve Mele redirected a Mike Moroso pass to cut it back to a one goal deficit. It proved to be too little too late however as Roanoke fell, 4-3.
Birmingham got the first tally of the game when Evan Schultz threw a pass to the slot from the right wing corner. It caromed off Andy Bathgate's skate and found its way to the back of the net, putting the Bulls on top, 1-0.
Roanoke would even the score later while working on the power play. Joe Sova walked out of the corner and fed Colin Murray in the slot who ripped a shot past Mavric Parks. Roanoke increased its lead just under four minutes later when Riley Spraggs passed the puck to a lonely Nick Schneider who blasted a snap shot past Parks. Schneider's goal gave the Dawgs a 2-1 lead.
The lead wouldn't last long though. Stephen Phee received a pass from Nate Mitton on an odd-man rush and snapped it past Zenzola to tie the game at two.
Birmingham opened the scoring early in the second period. Working on the power play, Bathgate fired a slap shot from the point. Craig Simchuk managed to redirect the puck on its way to the net through Zenzola, pushing the lead to 3-2.
Riley Spraggs recorded a pair of assists in the losing effort and Mele scored for the second straight game. Zenzola recorded 23 saves on 26 shots faced in his Roanoke debut.
The Rail Yard Dawgs fell to 5-9-2 with the loss while Birmingham improved to 4-9-1. Roanoke will hit the road for Alabama on Friday to see the Huntsville Havoc. Puck drop at the Von Braun Center is scheduled for 7:00 PM CST.