Rail Yard Dawgs Drop Two To Mississippi In Weekend Series

Roanoke’s Dmytro Babenko (#28 in blue) sits on the doorstep of Mississippi goalie Tyler Green Friday night at the Berglund Center. The RiverKings won both games of the weekend series.

Opportunity knocked for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs.

The Dawgs just can’t get the door open.

Roanoke continued its run of seven straight home games in the Berglund Center over the weekend with hopes of using the home ice advantage to its favor as steppingstones to move up the standings in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

The Mississippi RiverKings proved to be the spoiler, knocking off Roanoke 4-3 in overtime on Friday night, then completing the two-game sweep on Saturday with a pair of third period goals that broke a 2-2 tie, sending the visitors back to the land of Huck Finn with the 4-2 win and 4 hard-earned points in the SPHL standings.

Despite getting one point for the loss in overtime on Friday, Roanoke has come up short in its opportunity to gain on the rest of the league, following what proved to be an empty weekend the previous Friday-Saturday after Evansville took two straight from the Dawgs that opened the long November home stand.

Roanoke now has three of the seven games left, beginning this Thursday, November 16 against the Macon Mayhem, followed by a visit on Saturday, November 18 by Knoxville. The Dawgs are still looking for their first win on home ice this season after starting the home campaign 0-4-1. Roanoke’s sole win came on the road at Macon, hopefully a predictor when the Mayhem hit the Star City on Thursday.

Mississippi goalie Tyler Green had the Dawgs’ number over the weekend, getting the win in the pipes for the RiverKings on both nights.

On Saturday night, Mississippi jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period before Roanoke found life to start the second. Mitchell Mueller scored early in the second and when Riley Spraggs sent a laser past Green later in the period, things were tied at two.

In the final moments of the second, Roanoke’s Chris Kravtchouk received a 5-minute major penalty that proved costly. With a man advantage, the RiverKings scored with 18:50 left, to go up 3-2. Late in the third Bryan Arneson closed the door on the Dawgs with a goal at the 17:29 mark that finished the scoring.

It was a similar scene Friday night as the RiverKings scored single goals in the first and second periods to take a 2-0 lead to the final 20 minutes. Roanoke rallied to ties things at 2 when Mike Moroso scored 12 seconds into the third and Mitchell Mueller sent a laser past Green later in the period on a 5-on-3 power play.

A clearing misplay by Roanoke goalie Ryan de Melo handed Mississippi an easy goal to go up 3-2, bur the Dawgs answered again on a power play late in the third when Victor Tiutchenko scored from the doorstep to tie things at 3.

Roanoke’s downfall came with a second left in regulation when Nick Schneider was assessed a tripping penalty, sending Mississippi to the overtime session a man up. 42 seconds into overtime RiverKing Ryan Marcuz deflected home the game winner.

Bill Turner