Playing in the first of their final two games ever in the Ford Center on Friday, things didn’t start off in Atlanta’s favor. The Gladiators would buckle down after falling behind 2-0 to Evansville and tallied three goals - one from Zack Phillips and a pair from Thomas Frazee - to end the 1st period ahead 3-2. The IceMen tied things up in the 2nd, but netminder Kent Patterson would stop everything he faced for the remainder of regulation. Both teams skated to a scoreless overtime session before Glads Captain Derek Nesbitt delivered the game winning goal in the shooutout while Patterson shut all three IceMen out for the 4-3 victory.
Evansville notched the game's opening goal at the 3:39 mark of the first period. Jordan Sims took advantage of an Atlanta turnover and broke into Gladiator territory down the far wing. The Fort Wayne, IN native threw a backhand in between the legs of Atlanta goaltender Kent Patterson from the left circle and gave Evansville a 1-0 lead. Tyson Fawcett received credit for the lone assist of the play.
The IceMen increased their lead to 2-0, 8:22 into the opening frame. Matt Zay sent a rebound in past Patterson's right leg after the Andrew Harrison shot was stopped. Alec Hagaman collected the secondary assist on Zay's 6th of the season.
Atlanta lit up the scoreboard for the first time at the 9:41 mark of the first. Zack Phillips scored his first goal as a Gladiator on a one-time shot on a pass from Garry Nunn on a 2-on-1. Kevin Albers started the rush out of his own end and got the puck to Nunn giving him the secondary helper.
Thomas Frazee walked in the IceMen zone down the right wing and whistled a wrist shot over the shoulder of IceMen netminder Scott Greenham into the top shelf of the net to tie the game at two. Matt Register and Joe Stejskal were credited with the assists on Frazee's 11th goal of the campaign coming at the 11:20 mark of the period.
Frazee added another goal for Atlanta and the fifth marker of the first combined for both teams. After a Register point shot was deflected on goal by Frazee and stopped by Greenham, the North Vancouver, BC native poked home the rebound for his second goal of the night. The powerplay tally saw Nesbitt earn the second assist and give Atlanta the 3-2 lead after a high-scoring opening period.
The IceMen produced the 6th goal of the game and only mark of the middle frame to tie the contest at three. Ryan Penny deflected a point shot from Andrew Himelson past Patterson to put the game back to even. Michael Trebish also collected an assist on Penny's fifth goal of the year.
Both teams would play to a scoreless third period and overtime sending the contest to the three-man shootout. Derek Nesbitt scored five-hole for Atlanta on their second shot while Kent Patterson stopped all three shots he faced which gave the Gladiators the 4-3 shootout win.
Atlanta improved to 9-6 in games going past 60 minutes this season in addition to 64 points and a record of 29-19-4-2. Evansville dropped to 19-25-6-2 with 46 totals points in the standings.