Starting the game with one less skater, Atlanta battled injuries all evening eventually falling to the Icemen in their final trip to Jacksonville this season. Dan Vladar made 32 saves while Phil Lane scored the only goal in the Gladiators 3-1 road loss Saturday night.
Just after Atlanta’s first power play expired, the Gladiators took the 1-0 with :36 second left in the opening frame. Ben Danford took a one-time shot from the point that was narrowly stopped by the Icemen goalie, Austin Lotz. Lindsay Sparks got to the rebound in the right circle, faked the shot and sent a pass across the zone to Phil Lane. The Gladiators’ leading scorer increased his lead in that category with shot from the left circle that rattled the twine for his 25th mark on the year.
Jacksonville managed the lone goal of the second period to knot the game at one. After Dan Vladar made countless saves against the Icemen attack, Tyson Fawcett slipped the puck under the 20-year-old goaltender in the midst of a net-mouth scramble at the 14:48 mark. Fawcett’s 10th goal on the campaign was assisted by Scott Savage and Tanner Eberale.
The home side came out firing in the third period and put a ton of pressure on the Gladiators. After a bevy of saves from Vladar, Jacksonville broke through to take their first lead of the game 14:12 into the final period. Garrett Hunt knocked in a rebound past the Czech native for his 10th goal of the season. Cameron Critchlow and Elgin Pearce notched the helpers on the go-ahead goal.
The Icemen added an empty net tally with :57 seconds remaining to complete their second win against the Gladiators in nine tries. With the first road loss in their last seven games away from the Infinite Energy Arena, the Gladiators remained at 53 points but still hold third place in the South Division. Jacksonville earned their 17th victory of the season at improved to 40 points on the campaign.
Up next, Atlanta will head up I-85 for another battle with South Division rival, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Tuesday night. Puck drop at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena is set for 7:00pm.