ROANOKE, Va. – Last year, the Roanoke Railyard Dawgs saw their season end as Peoria celebrated a President’s Cup Championship on the ice of the Berglund Center.
An overtime goal by Dominiks Marcinkevics moved the Railyard Dawgs within a win of a title celebration of their own, as the game-winner 11:53 into the extra period gave Roanoke a 5-4 win over Birmingham.
The fourth game of the best-of-five series is set for Tuesday in Roanoke, where the Railyard Dawgs can clinch the championship on home ice. A win by the Bulls, however, would force a winner-take-all game five Thursday in the Bulls’ home arena in Pelham, Ala.
To say that Monday’s game was even would be an accurate statement, as the teams were tied with one another four times. The most dramatic came in the closing minutes, when Birmingham fought through a major penalty against Joe Colatarci to tie things up on an unassisted shorthanded goal by Carson Rose, whose pair of goals on Monday were both unassisted.
The first goal by Rose cranked up a wild first period. After Rose’s opening salvo, John Stampohar at 10:45 and Nick Ford at 17:16 put Roanoke up 2-1, but the Bulls pulled even less than 40 seconds later thanks to Zac Masson.
It’d be a goalie showcase in the second period, other than a CJ Stubbs goal that put the Railyard Dawgs ahead 3-2, both netminders, Birmingham’s Austin Lotz and Roanoke’s Austyn Roudebush kept things mostly quiet. On the night, Lotz stopped 35 out of 40 shots, with Roudebush turning away 27-of-31 shots on goal.
Birmingham got one of its patented early goals to start the third, tying it 3-3 on a marker by Jake Pappalardo 1:27 in. Then, Roanoke hit back, thanks to Nick Devito’s goal to make the lead 4-3 just 4:55 into the third, putting the Dawgs up before Rose forced overtime.
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