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Rail Yard Dawgs Look For February Push To Regain Momentum

The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs mid-January rise to the top of the Southern Professional Hockey League’s standings  proved to be a quick visit and exit.

Now, the team looks to regroup with a pair of 3-game home stands in February sandwiched around two straight weekends on the road.

The Dawgs were on an impressive roll earlier in January with the team planted in first place. Roanoke opened a two-game series on the Berglund pond with the Birmingham Bulls on January 20 with a win, but faltered the following night in a 4-1 loss to give the Bulls the 2-game split and ending the Dawgs’ 8-game win streak.

Roanoke found the going tough last weekend, losing twice on the road to the second-tier Pensacola Ice Flyers, although the Dawgs did pick up a point by losing in overtime in game-1. Roanoke is 0-2-1 in its last three games heading to this weekend’s rematch with a pair Friday and Saturday night against those same Ice Flyers. Puck drop at the Berglund Center is 7:05 each night. The Dawgs remain in Roanoke for a rare school day morning matchup against the Fayetteville Marksmen on Thursday, February 9 with puck drop at 10:35 AM.

The Dawgs are on the road for 5 straight beginning Friday, February 10 in Knoxville, the 11th in Alabama to take on the Huntsville Havoc, before heading to the midwest for a pair against Quad City on February 17-18 and a visit to the last-place Vermillion Country Bobcats on the 19th.

Roanoke returns home for a three-game set against Vermillion County Thursday-Saturday February 23-25. With six points up for grab against the lowly Bobcats, it could easily set then tone for the stretch run of the regular season.

While the Dawgs hit the late-January speed bump, both Peoria and Huntsville took advantage. Peoria currently sits in first place with 50 points, seven points clear of Roanoke, after going 9-1-0-0 in their last 10 games. The Rivermen have won their last eight. Huntsville has gone 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 and sit one point  ahead of Roanoke with 44 points. Birmingham has also been on a streak, going 7-3-0-0 in their last 10, knotting them with Roanoke’s 43 points. Not to be ignored are Knoxville and Evansville, sitting 2 and 3 points behind the Dawgs, respectfully.

After the 3-game set at home against Vermillion County, Roanoke will not have a home game at the Berglund Center for a stretch of 27 days. That will set the stage for the opportunity for the Dawgs to make a late push as they finish the regular season with seven of their last eight games on the Berglund ice.

Bill Turner

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