The Atlanta Gladiators took the ice for the first time in the 2018-19 season on the road in front of a sellout crowd at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL. The visitors spoiled the Orlando home opener as the Glads used three power play goals to propel themselves to a 4-2 win over the Solar Bears on Saturday evening.
After a scoreless first period, the Gladiators notched the first goal of the season to take a 1-0 lead, 1:31 into the middle frame. Ben Danford held the puck in the zone at the blue line and found Tyler Moy in the high slot. The Harvard University product danced around a couple of defenders and found Matt Lane open in the far circle. The brother of former Glad, Phil Lane whistled a wrist shot over the shoulder of Solar Bears goalie, Martin Ouellette for his first as a Gladiator.
The Gladiators advanced the lead to two goals after a power play goal came at the 8:32 mark of second period. Rookie D-man, Olivier Galipeau slid the puck to the right wing for Derek Nesbitt who then hurled the black disc across the crease. Standing on the doorstep, Moy knocked the puck in past the pad of the Orlando netminder for his second point on the evening.
Orlando managed to notch a pair of shorthanded goals on the third Atlanta man advantage to tie the game. First at the 9:20 mark of the middle session, Brady Shaw blew a snap shot past Glads goalie, Miroslav Svoboda for his first of the season. just :23 seconds later, Hunter Fejes chipped the puck into the net on a rebound try after Svoboda made a save on a Solar Bears’ breakaway to make the score 2-2.
The Gladiators were rewarded a full two minute 5-on-3 power play late in the second and took full advantage of it and earned their third goal of the night. Galipeau blasted a one-timer from the right point past the blocker of Ouellette for his first professional goal. Branden Troock and goalie, Miroslav Svoboda gained credit for the assists on the play.
Atlanta still on the power play after the two-man advantage goal, scored another for their third power play mark of the evening. Defender Joel Messner threw a rebound shot into the top shelf of the net to earn his first pro tally at the 16:43 mark of the second, just :59 seconds after the third Atlanta goal. Brett McKenzie and Danford received the helpers on the tally.
Orlando was unable to get anything past Svoboda in the final period and Atlanta held on for the 4-2 win. With the season-opening victory on the road, Atlanta obtained their first two points of the season. Orlando dropped to 0-1-0-0 to start the year with the loss on home ice.
Up next, Atlanta heads back to Georgia for their home opener on Friday, October 19th. The 16th home opener in franchise history starts at 7:35pm as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits are in town for a divisional matchup.