Posted: Saturday, December 21st 2013 at 12:33am
Simpsonís tallies lead Rays over Gladiators
DULUTH -Ė Evan Bloodoff scored twice, but the Gwinnett Gladiators dropped a 4-2 decision to the South Carolina Stingrays Friday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Wayne Simpson scored two goals for the Rays (18-4-1-2), while Jeff Jakaitis made 20 saves to win his sixth straight start. Paul Karpowich took the loss between the pipes , making his debut with the Gladiators (7-16-0-2) after being signed on Wednesday.
South Carolina jumped on the board 7:35 into the game, as Simpson tallied his sixth goal of the season and first of two. Gwinnett found an answer on the power play though at 11:06. Bloodoff deflected a Rob Kwiet point shot past Jakaitis to tie the game, with Bobby Hughes picking up the second assist.
The Stingrays regained the lead with just 47 seconds left in the first, as Patrick Gaul followed up on a scrum in front of the Gwinnett crease and lifted a loose puck past Karpowich.
South Carolina added to its lead at 4:39 of the second on a goal by Lindsay Sparks that would prove to be the eventual game-winner. Simpson built the lead up to 4-1 at 15:20 of the third period with his second tally of the night on a nice set-up by Peter Boyd.
Bloodoff tried to make a game of it with just 1:43 remaining, taking a terrific backhand pass from Brett Lyon and sliding the puck through the legs of Jakaitis. Kwiet had his second helper of the night on the play, but Gwinnett could muster no further offense and fell by the 4-2 final.
The Gladiators get a chance for revenge Saturday, as they face the Stingrays at 7 p.m. at North Charleston Coliseum.
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