Playoff Preview: Roanoke vs. Birmingham

by Jesse Gilbert/ Contributor

This past weekend Roanoke won its very first play-off series as a franchise. After an impressive 2-0 sweep against the top seeded Peoria Rivermen, the Dawgs find themselves pitted against the second seed Birmingham Bulls. Birmingham advanced to the Presidents Cup semi-finals by defeating the Fayetteville Marksmen in three games. Despite being shutout 4-0 by the Marksmen in game 1, the Bulls rallied at home winning game two 3-2 and game three 5-0.

The Dawgs and the Bulls met 7 times this regular season with Roanoke finishing the matchup with a 3-2-2 record. Mac Jansen has 8 points (4G, 4A) throughout those seven games and has Roanoke’s highest point totals followed by Steve Mele (2G, 5A). The Dawgs have given up 92 PIMs against the Bulls but Birmingham has not had very much success getting the best of the Dawgs penalty killing unit scoring only 3 times out of 30 powerplays (10%). The Dawgs have found a bit more success on the PP during the regular season against the Bulls scoring 4 times on 29 powerplays (13.8%).

The Bulls will likely continue to rely on the efforts of Mavric Parks in net against Roanoke. Parks boasts a 0.934 save% in his three games against Fayetteville. Parks made 85 saves on 91 shots in the three game series against Fayetteville. Mavric has remained consistent throughout the regular season with 0.933 save% and a 2.28 GAA and led the team to 30 wins.

The Dawgs will continue to trust Jacob Caffrey between the pipes going into the semi-finals. Caffrey finished the regular season with a 0.903 save% and a 2.97 GAA. Caffrey finished the regular season with 13 wins. While Caffrey’s regular season stats are not quite as significant as Parks’, Caffrey played a very big role in Roanoke’s victory against Peoria. Caffrey made a huge save in game one where he punched a floating puck over top of the crossbar to keep Roanoke alive.

If Roanoke is able to play as consistently as they have against Birmingham during the regular season, we are in for a very exciting matchup. Game one of the semi-finals will be played at the Berglund Center Thursday night at 7:05. Let’s go Dawgs!