ROANOKE, Va. – Cody Dion and Jeff Jones each scored in the third period to bring the Rail Yard Dawgs within one but they could not erase a three-goal deficit as the Dawgs fell to the Birmingham Bulls, 3-2, Saturday night at Berglund Center.


Trailing 3-0 early in the third with the Dawgs working on a power play, the puck found Dion in the slot. He muscled himself free from two Bulls and ripped a backhander high over the shoulder of Mavric Parks to put the Dawgs on the board.


Roanoke kept coming and brought itself within one just under four minutes later. Mac Jansen gained the zone on the right wing and slid a cross-ice pass to Jones. Jones stepped into the pass and buried a one-timer from the left wing circle to cut the deficit to 3-2.


The Dawgs kept up the pressure in the third and had plenty of chances but couldn’t sneak anything else past Parks. They swarmed the net with an extra attacker on in the final two minutes but Birmingham’s goalie stood strong and the Bulls held on for the win.


Roanoke’s season-long seven-game point streak was snapped with the regulation loss.


Birmingham struck first early in the opening period when Sam Williams forced a turnover and quickly roofed a shot past Brad Barone. It added to the lead early in the second as Austin Daae took a pass in tight and went five-hole on Barone to make it 2-0.


The Rail Yard Dawgs pulled Barone for Jacob Caffrey after the Daae goal but Birmingham was able to tack another on quickly. Off a won faceoff, the Bulls set up Caleb Apperson for a one-timer from the left wing that rocketed past Caffrey and extended the lead to 3-0.


Jones and Dion each scored, Caffrey made 11 saves on 12 shots in relief and Parks stopped 26 of 28 in the Birmingham net.


The Rail Yard Dawgs fell to 18-16-3 in the loss while Birmingham improved to 25-10-2. Roanoke will hit the ice again at home on Friday night against the Birmingham Bulls. Puck drop at Berglund Center is scheduled for 7:05 PM and the pregame show begins at 6:50 PM on the Haley Toyota Rail Yard Dawgs Hockey Network.


Photo and Column credit: Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs