Posted: Friday, March 14th 2014 at 9:58pm
Gladiators handle Stingrays 4-1
By staff reports
DULUTH -– Phoenix Coyotes prospect Brenden Walker scored twice, as the Gwinnett Gladiators used a three-goal second period to cruise past the first place South Carolina Stingrays 4-1 Friday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
Mark Guggenberger made 25 saves in his seventh straight start for the Gladiators (24-32-2-2) to get the win, while former Gladiator Jeff Jakaitis suffered the loss for South Carolina (35-19-2-3) surrendering four goals on 25 shots. Gwinnett has now won six of its past eight games.
The Gladiators challenged Jakaitis throughout the first, getting 11 shots in on net, while only allowing six to come back the other way. 4:34 into the game Walker gave Gwinnett a 1-0 lead. Casey Pierro-Zabotel took the initial shot from the right faceoff circle, which Jakaitis dove forward to knock down. With the goaltender still on his stomach, Walker settled the puck down with his backhand, shifted back to his forehand, and banked in the shot before skating past the goal front.
At 13:12, the visitors evened the score with a Nick Larson power play tip-in after swift passes from Dale Mitchell and Peter Boyd. It was the first power play goal the Gladiators had given up in the month of March, after having held opponents scoreless on the man advantage for the previous 15 chances.
Gwinnett stormed ahead in the second period with three goals on 12 shots by pressing the puck in the low slot. Joey Haddad scored the go-ahead goal at 2:56 on a dangling turnaround shot over the shoulders of Jakaitis. Six minutes later, Marshall Everson saucered a perfect pass from the far side half boards to Walker on the doorstep, scoring his second of the game. At 12:13 Everson scored one for himself, whipping in a turnaround shot in between the two faceoff circles, giving Gwinnett the 4-1 lead.
In the third, the Gladiators shifted to a shutdown defense-first style of play, taking only two shots, and possessing the puck in the offensive zone for only a fraction of the period. Guggenberger was up to the task, however, playing perfect hockey in the second and third period, making saves on all 20 shots that came his way. Guggenberger improves to 5-2 with the Gladiators, while Jakaitis has dropped his sixth straight decision after starting the season with a 23-3-1-2 record.
The Gladiators will take on the Stingrays again Saturday night in North Charleston to kick off a seven game road trip. Gwinnett will return home for Star Wars Night, $5 Fan Gear Frenzy (Beach Towels), and
To purchase tickets, please visit www.gwinnettgladiators.com, or call the main office line at 770-497-5100.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier "AA" hockey league and are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
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