After falling down 2-0 in the first, Atlanta stormed back to tie the game only to see the lead go away again as the Gladiators dropped their second straight game to the South Carolina Stingrays 4-2 at the North Charleston Coliseum on Friday night.
For the second consecutive contest South Carolina notched the game's first goal. Olivier Archambault collected the puck the low slot of the Gladiators' zone after an Atlanta turnover. The former Quad City Mallard moved towards goal and wired a wrist shot past Atlanta's goalie, Matt Ginn to give the home side a 1-0 lead at the 10:07 mark of the first stanza.
The Stingrays advanced their lead to 2-0, just 3:50 later in the opening period. Patrick Gaul saw the puck hit off the glass behind the net and land right on his stick at the net-mouth. The Rays' alternate captain then chipped the puck in past Ginn for his 11th goal of the year. Max Nicastro, who took the original shot from the point, and Joe Devin earned the helpers on the second South Carolina marker.
Atlanta moved back to within one goal as the visitors managed the first tally of period two 1:29 into the frame. Josh Atkinson took a slap shot from the point that was denied by Stingrays' goalie, Parker Milner. The rebound bounced right to Derek Nesbitt standing atop the crease. The Captain made no mistake and slammed home his team-leading 26th goal of the year. Tyler Murovich registered the secondary assist, his 36th point of the season.
The Gladiators evened the score at 2-2, 11:32 into the middle period. Eric Neiley moved back into a tie for the team-lead in goals when he riffled home his 26th tally of the year from the right circle. Trevor Mingoiareceived the only assist on the goal after dropping the puck to the Dartmouth product after entering the zone.
South Carolina took the lead back just over 1:30 later. Kelly Zajac scored a shorthanded goal after collecting a centering pass from Stephan McParland from behind the Gladiators' net. Cody Corbett earned the secondary assist on the goal that made the score 3-2 in favor of the Stingrays.
The Stingrays added an insurance goal in the third to take the 4-2 lead. Nicastro earned his second point of the night with a wrist shot from the point that beat Ginn high over the glove. The former Solar Bear defender's fourth goal of the season was assisted by McParland and Corbett, both their second helpers of the contest, and sealed the victory for the home team.
With the road loss, the Gladiators fell to 24-32-6-2 and remained at 56 points. South Carolina improvedtheir record to 35-26-2-1 and advanced to 73 points but still found themselves on the outside looking in of the South Division playoff race in spot number five.