Unable to hold a late lead, the Gladiators still managed a point with the 4-3 shootout loss to the Kansas City Mavericks in the first ever game between the two clubs Friday night. Matt Ginn made 36 saves while Thomas Frazee continued to produce with a goal and an assist in the loss.
Atlanta started the scoring just past the half-way point of the first period. Alex Gacek took advantage of a loose puck in the neutral zone and entered the Kansas City third with a burst of speed. The second-year pro was in all-alone with the Maverick netminder, Mason McDonald and made backhand deak that went top shelf to give the Gladiators a 1-0 lead. The tally was unassisted and was Gacek’s first goal this season.
The Gladiators doubled their lead 14:21 into the opening period. Ben Danford corralled a pass from Thomas Frazee in the high-slot and wired a shot over the glove of McDonald for his second mark of the season. The helper gave Frazee his ninth point in his last six games while Chase Witala, who started the play, earned credit for the secondary assist.
The Mavericks managed their first score of the contest with just over two minutes remaining in the first frame with a power play goal. Mike McMurtry centered a puck from the left circle that hit a skate at the top of the crease. Rocco Carzo eventually found the puck in a scramble and jammed it into the goal past Atlanta goalie, Matt Ginn. Patch Alber received credit for the second assist on the Mavericks’ first goal of the evening.
Kansas City tied the game with a tally 8:25 into the middle stanza. Darren Nowick walked out from behind the net a peppered Ginn with three shots from in tight. The Lindsay, ON native managed the first three stops but with the Glads unable to get a clear, Nowick chipped the puck into the goal to even the game at two. Mark Cooper and Dan Correale earned the assists on Nowick’s third goal of the season.
Atlanta got their lead back with 3:43 left in the second period. Phil Lane extended his point streak to four games after he sent a pass to the front of the goal for an awaiting Frazee. The North Vancouver. BC native increased his team-lead in points to 11 when he deposited his fourth goal of the season past the left arm of McDonald. Rookie defender Zach Malatesta registered his second career pro point with the other assist on the Glads’ third goal.
The home-side held off the comeback attempt from Kansas City for most of the third until the Mavericks broke through with the equalizer 16:57 into the period. Alber caught the pass from Carzo in the high slot and whistled a snap shot past Ginn up high. Kansas City’s leading scorer, Matt Robertson, collected his first point of the night on the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.
After a scoreless rest of regulation and three-on-three overtime, the game shifted to a shootout. Atlanta got a goal from Derek Nesbitt but it was matched by Mark Cooper of Kansas City and the penalty shot battle moved to sudden-death. McDonald stopped all four Atlanta shooters he saw after that and the Mavericks got a goal from Shawn Pauley which ended the seven-round shootout with a Mavericks victory.
With the two points in the shootout victory, Kansas City improved to eight points on the season and a 4-3-0-0 record. The Gladiators earned one point in the standings and improved their season total to seven with a record of 3-4-0-1.
Up next, Atlanta hosts Kansas City once again tomorrow night at the Infinite Energy Arena with puck drop slated for 7:05pm.