Posted: Saturday, January 4th 2014 at 8:18pm
Glads' offense explodes in win over Everblades
By staff reports
DULUTH -– The Gwinnett Gladiators scored early and often Saturday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, crushing the Florida Everblades 8-1. It was a season-high in goals for a Gwinnett team that has now won five of its last seven games.
Josh Currie scored two goals and added an assist, while Dirk Southern had a goal and three assists. Paul Karpowich was stout between the pipes for Gwinnett (12-19-0-2) stopping 36 of 37 shots, while Lightning first round pick Riku Helenius gave up all eight goals on 37 shots.
The Gladiators knocked the Everblades (20-10-1-1) off their game with a flurry of goals in the first nine minutes of the match. Brendan Walker opened the scoring at 5:54 after picking up a juicy rebound in the slot off a shot from Brett Lyon. Then, at 9:22, Currie picked up a loose puck at the top of the zone, left behind by Lyon as he was drawing two defenders his way, and banked the puck in off the far post.
Just eight seconds later, Dirk Southern slapped in a loose puck at the far post to give the Gladiators a three-goal lead. It missed the record forfastest two goals by Gladiators teammates by two seconds – Maxime Legault and Philippe Halley achieved that record on October 30th this season.
The Everblades broke the string of Gladiators goals with one of their own from Alpharetta-native Will MacDonald at 6:57, but four and a half minutes later Joey Haddad got Gwinnett back in gear with his fourth of the year, from Evan Bloodoff and Southern. 43 seconds later, Kurtis Bartliff tacked on his 11th of the season, placing him one goal behind Bloodoff for the team lead. Legault closed out the scoring in the period with the team’s sixth of the night at 15:42, from Hughes and Corbin.
The Gladiators cashed in on two power plays to run salt in the wound in the third period. Bloodoff buried a backdoor pass from Southern and Corbin at 15:32, and Currie capped the scoring on a set-up from Southern and Haddad at 19:29.
Gwinnett is next in action Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in South Carolina, before returning home Friday January 10th at 7:05 p.m. against the Orlando Solar Bears.
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