In front of an excited home crowd, the Gladiators capped off an excellent Home Opener with a 4-2 win of the previously undefeated Florida Everblades. The games first goal was scored by Atlanta with just over two minutes gone by in the game. Garry Nunn worked the puck up to the top of the left circle, faked a shot and then slid to the middle and whistled the puck through traffic past the screened Everblades goaltender, Anthony Peters. Thomas Frazee and Zach Yuen both received assists on Nunns first goal of the season.The Everblades quickly answered back with a powerplay goal 4:40 into the opening period. After some quick passing on the right side, a Branden ODonnell blind pass out front led to an easy tap-in score for Kevin Lynch for the Everblades first goal of the contest. Matt Marquardt tallied a point with the secondary assist which gave him his seventh point of the season to increase his league lead in that category.Todd Fiddler retook the lead for the Gladiators with help from the Nathan Condon who raced down the center of the ice off and received a seam pass from Derek Nesbitt creating a two-on-one for the Gladiators. Condon drew the defender to him and slid the puck to Fiddler who buried it into the back of the net on the one-timer to take the 2-1 lead into the first intermission.After a scoreless second period, the Gladiators increased their lead to 3-1 early in the third stemming from the speed of Condon down the middle of the ice. The product of the University of Minnesota blazed his way past the Everblades defenders finding the captain, Nesbitt, in the slot for a wide-open back door goal at 3:06 of the third period. Nunn, who tallied the secondary assist, and Nesbitt notched their second points of the evening on the play.Mike Aviani narrowed the gap to make it a one-goal game with exactly five minutes left in the third period. The North Vancouver, BC native tapped in the rebound after Gabriel Desjardins fed Mark Nemec, whose initial shot was saved by Atlantas goaltender Andy Iles. The goal was the second notch for Aviani on the year.Kevin Albers sealed the win for the Gladiators with a late, empty-net goal from inside his own blue line. With the win, the Gladiators recorded their first victory of the season and improved their record to 1-1-1 for a total of three points on the young campaign. The Everblades fall to 3-1-0 on the year and stay at six points after four games played.
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