ROANOKE, Va.(WFXR) — The Southern Professional Hockey League playoffs get underway Wednesday night with the 8th seeded Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs taking on the top seed Knoxville Ice Bears. The war of words has already begun long before the puck drops in Knoxville.

Knoxville head coach Jeff Carr did not hold back when talking about Roanoke to the Knoxville media. He called the Rail Yard Dawgs a “dirty undisciplined hockey team”. The Dawgs are using that as motivation heading into Wednesday night’s playoff opener at Knoxville.

“Our focus going down the stretch has been discipline the whole way and I think we’ve shown that turn the last month. He can worry about whatever he wants, we’re going to worry about hockey. He talked about being a dirty hockey team. Our guys play hard every year,” said Rail Yard Dawgs head coach Dan Bremner.

While Knoxville leads the season series against Roanoke. The Dawgs split the last two meetings with the Ice Bears. Head coach Dan Bremner feels his team has been peaking over the past month, despite ending the regular season with back to back one-goal losses.

“I look at the last three weekends and I think our group has been making all the steps toward playoff hockey the whole way there…just really like there can’t be those little lapses. When you talk about a best of three series, it’s so quick. It’s not like in the higher levels like the NHL where you’ve got a best of seven and you’ve got time to recover from things like that. You need a full 60 minute, maybe plus if there’s overtime effort to come out on top,” said Bremner.

Though the Dawgs haven’t played playoff hockey since 2019, Roanoke has plenty of veterans with postseason experience like defensman Travis Armstrong who’s in his sixth season in the league. “Usually the bigger tougher team that’s willing to take punches and be disciplined and be the team that’s going to be physical out there — they usually overcome with wins so again I think that’s been our mindset for the entire season and to be able to be in playoffs now — we’ve been waiting for this for awhile so we’re ready,” said Armstrong.

Game one will be played at Knoxville Wednesday at 7:35pm. Game two will take place at the Berglund Center Saturday at 7:05pm. If needed, Game three will be played back in Knoxville Sunday at 5:00pm.