Facing Utah at the Maverick Center for the first time since 2013, the Gladiators tallied a pair of goals in both the 1st and 3rd periods. Their comeback in the final period of regulation would fall just short in the overtime stanza, however, as the Grizzlies found the back of the net with nine seconds remaining hit to snag the 5-4 victory.
Atlanta scored first for the 32nd time this season early into period one. At the 2:36 mark of the opening frame, Brock Higgs and Eric Neiley teamed up on a give-and-go play to put the Gladiators up 1-0. Neiley propelled a wrist shot past the blocker of Utah goalie Mark Owuya in his first game back from injury for his fifth goal of the season.
The Gladiators increased their lead to two just over two minutes later on a shorthanded tally from rookie Patrick D'Amico. Tyler Murovich blocked a shot that ricocheted to D'Amico who beat the Utah defender and then Owuya for his 12th of the season. With the helper Murovich now has 14 assists on the year on the ninth shorthanded goal for Atlanta.
Utah got on the board for the first time at the 17:32 mark of the first with a powerplay goal. Ryan Walters found Mike Ratchuk at the point where the eighth-year-pro wristed home his third of the season. Walters collected his 22nd helper of the campaign on Ratchuk's second goal in four games since being traded to Utah.
The Grizzlies came out firing in the second and managed to put three in past Atlanta goalie Kent Patterson. Josh Macdonald earned two of the three goals including one with under two seconds left in the period. Eric Higby on a rebound put home his second goal in as many games for the other Grizzle tally in the second period.
Garry Nunn brought the Gladiators to within one goal with his ninth goal of the season in the third period. Thomas Frazee and Derek Nesbitt came away with the puck on the forecheck and found Nunn at the top of the crease where he made no mistake to make the game 4-3.
Frazee registered his second point of the night to tie the game at four with seven minutes remaining in the contest. Kevin Albers snaked his way through the Utah defense and threw it to the back post to a wide-open Frazee. The second-year pro banged home his 10th goal of the season with the helpers going to Albers and Nunn.
After the game shifted to overtime, Ryan Hayes found the back of the net on a 2-on-1 rush to give Utah the win and the second point. The unassisted goal was the second of the season for the Syracuse, NY native.
Atlanta earned one point in the overtime defeat which improved their season total to 58 on the season and a record of 26-18-4-2. Utah increased their home point streak to 10 games and collected points number 60 and 61 on the campaign.
Photo Courtesy of Josie Vimahi