Coming off their most successful weekend of the season thus far, the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs still have a clear deficiency to attack in practice this week.
Their power play, once a great strength of the team, has gone dormant. After going 0 for 3 over the weekend in back-to-back wins over Fayetteville, Roanoke has now whiffed on 29 straight chances with an extra skater.
“Right now, I feel like we’re getting out on the power play and we feel like we’re not going to score,” Dawgs coach Dan Bremner said after Friday’s 4-3 overtime victory at the Berglund Center. “We just don’t have that killer mentality that we had early where we knew there’s a good chance we’ll put one in every time.”
Roanoke won just one of its first 11 games this season, but the power play was not the problem. On Dec. 12, the Dawgs had succeeded on 25% of their power plays to rank second in the SPHL.
They’ve picked up at least one point in five of the eight games since, but they haven’t scored a power play goal in any of them. Their overall success rate has fallen to 16.7% — fifth in the league.
“You see guys grip sticks a little bit tighter,” Bremner said. “You see guys trying to do too much on the other side of it. Once things aren’t working for one, two, three games, then you see guys going out of their element, out of what they do well and doing too much with it.”
Personnel changes haven’t worked yet, as Bremner has been sending out a variety of combinations to try to break the streak.
“We’ve just got to get pucks to the net,” Roanoke forward CJ Stubbs said. “They’ll start coming.”
The Dawgs had only one power play opportunity in their 3-2 shootout win Saturday night. But they’ll likely get more chances this week, when they host Birmingham in a home-and-home beginning Friday night.
Meantime, they have nearly a week of practice to try to find the right setup.
“It’s something that we’re going to hit the drawing board on just kind of take a whole, fresh look at it and maybe make some big changes,” Bremner said. “It starts with one. We’ve got to get that energy back to it, that positivity.”