On Night One of the 2015 Sing for Santa Event, the Gladiators would put on quite a show for the over 1,000 elementary school-aged children in attendance. With children, parents, and teachers representing 17 schools from around Metro Atlanta, the Glads would use the extra home ice advantage to defeat division rival South Carolina 3-2. Atlanta was outshot 16-6 to start the night but wouldnt be denied the opening goal of the evening. Atlanta notched the first tally at the 10:39 mark of the first period on a short-handed goal. Mike Merrifield received a long breakaway pass from Matt Register. The Michigan native went 1-on-1 with the Stingrays goaltender, Mark Dekanich, backhanding the puck into the net. Everson also recorded his fifth assist on Merrifields third goal and tenth point of the season.South Carolina answered back just over a minute later on their first powerplay opportunity to tie the game at one. After bouncing around the top of the crease, Brent Cameron eventually slapped the puck past the right side of Gladiators goaltender, Kent Patterson. The equalizer was Camerons eighth goal of the season and was assisted by Derek DeBlois and David Pecan. Max Everson regained the lead for the Gladiators on a quick transition rush. Daniel Bahntge shuffled the puck ahead to the defenseman who powered it through Dekanich. The shot was initially blocked but eventually trickled in to give Everson his sixth goal in 12 games to start his rookie campaign and increased the Minnesota natives lead in points by an Atlanta defenseman on his second point of the game.With virtually no time left in the Stingrays second powerplay, Cameron skated toward the net eventually playing the puck back to a trailing DeBlois who wired the puck past the right pad of Patterson. Marcus Perrier would pick up his third helper with the secondary assist to the forwards fourth tally on the season. The marker also accounted for the second consecutive goal on powerplay for South Carolina.Atlanta would retake the lead with just under five minutes left in the second period. Great passing from Tyler Murovich and J.T. Barnett opened up space for Derek Nesbitt to take the goalie 1-on-1 and give the Gladiators the 3-2 advantage. The tally gave the captain a team-leading 11 goals on the season while Murovich and Barnett picked up their second and fourth assists, respectively. The Gladiators ultimately picked up the win after staving off a furious final attack from the Stingrays to end the game at 3-2, improving to 12-8-1 and 25 points. South Carolina ends their 10-game road trip falling to 13-9-1 and staying at 28 points.
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