Playing their third game against Norfolk in a row, the Gladiators were in Virginia Saturday night for their first game of 2016. Despite two goals from Captain Derek Nesbitt, the Glads fell to the Admirals by a final score of 3-2. After a back and forth opening twenty that saw neither team capitalize on their scoring chances, Derek Nesbitt put Atlanta up 1-0 just 30 seconds into the middle frame with his league-leading sixteenth goal of the year. The Gladiators captain sent an one-timer blazing past the glove of Norfolk goalie Ty Rimmer on the powerplay. Matt Register continued his five-game point streak with an assist on the play, while Brock Higgs was credited with his ninth helper of the year.Norfolk would tie the game at the 14:48 mark of the second period on a goal by Alexis Loiseau. The Quebec native notched his sixth goal of the year to the left of Atlanta goalie Kent Patterson when a shot from Scott Allen took a bounce in front of the net and landed on the rookie's stick. Allen was credited with his ninth helper of the season, while Samuel Noreau notched his fifth with the secondary assist.The Gladiators would regain their lead 10:17 into the second. Nesbitt buried his second goal of the game on a quick shot off a rebound from the right hash marks. Register was credited with his second assist of the night, making it four straight multi-point games for the Calgary native. Joe Stejskal also notched his fourth helper of the season on the play.Just four minutes after Atlanta's goal, Johnathan Lessard tied the game at two with his seventh goal of the year. The product of the QMJHL's Baie-Comeau put home a rebound in front of the net after the original shot from Ben Betker. Betker tallied his 11th helper on the play, and Mike Pelech accounted for his fifteenth with the secondary assist.Norfolk would take its first lead of the night 2:54 into the final stanza, and hold out Atlanta for the remainder of the period for the win. Noreau propelled a slapshot into the net from the point for his third goal of the year, to put the home team ahead 3-2. Noreau recorded his second point of the game on the marker while Mike Pelech notched an assist along with Alex Ranger. Failing to respond to the Admirals' third-period goal, Atlanta drops to 19-11-2 with the loss, giving them 40 points on the year, good for fourth in the conference. Norfolk improves to 11-21-2 with the win at home, giving them 24 points, placing them in fourteenth in the Eastern conference.Photo: Norfolk Admirals / John Wright
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