Playing their third home game in four days, and their fourth game overall in five, the Gladiators rounded out a solid Thanksgiving week with a 4-3 victory on Friday night. After a Solar Bears goal in the final minute of regulation sent the game into overtime, the Gladiators emerged victorious in the shootout thanks to J.T. Barnetts goal. The Atlanta Gladiators scored first 3:12 into the opening period on a redirection by Thomas Frazee. Eric Neiley centered the puck to the Derek Nesbitt who threw it on net where it bounced off Frazee past the Orlando goaltender, Rob Madore. The opening goal came on Atlantas first powerplay opportunity of the night. The North Vancouver, BC native notched his third goal of the season while Neiley was credited with the secondary assist on the play.The Solar Bears made it a 1-1 game with 3:20 left in the first period. Matt Rupert took a wrist shot toward a waiting Johnny McInnis at the top of the crease, who redirected the puck past Gladiators goaltender, Matt Ginn. The marker was the assistant captains fifth goal of the season.Nesbitt made himself the first Gladiator to reach double-digits in goals at the 15:01 mark of the second period. After receiving a Neiley pass from across the ice, the captain lasered a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net past the glove of Madore. The goal came on the third Atlanta powerplay opportunity and gave Neiley his second assist of the game while Zach Yuen was credited with the secondary assist.Mike Merrifield increased the lead to 3-1 off a quick reaction shot that slid through Madores legs. The Beverly Hills, Michigan native ripped a shot towards the goal that bounced off the Madores chest. The puck landed directly between the two players, allowing Merrifield to tap it through Madores five-hole for his second goal of the season. Joe Stejskal and J.T. Barnett both notched helpers on the play.Orlando cut the lead to 3-2 with 16:19 left in the third period. Eric Baier received a pass from Lindsay Sparks high at the center point and slapped a long-range shot past Ginn for the North Kingstown, RI natives fifth goal of the season. Rupert was awarded the secondary assist on the marker.The Solar Bears tied the game off the skate of a Gladiator in front from an Eric Faille centering pass attempt with just 34.7 seconds remaining in regulation. Sparks wristed the puck towards goal and had it trickle into the net after the redirected in the slot. The goal ultimately forced the game into overtime giving both clubs one point in the standings.After a scoreless back and forth OT, J.T. Barnett was the only player to score for either team in the best-of-three shootout to give the Gladiators their tenth win of the season and the extra point in the contest. Matt Ginn made all three saves in the shootout on top of his 35 stops during the game for the win in net. Atlanta now jumps into sole position of second place in the south division with the win improving their season record to 10-7-1-0 with 21 points. Orlando collected a big point after trailing late in the third and increased their point total to 20 on the season in their third shootout loss.
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