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Glads Roast Rabbits 5-3

Friday, January 15th
Glads Roast Rabbits 5-3

Facing a division rival for the second night in a row, the Gladiators looked to further their lead in the standings over Greenville as the Swamp Rabbits rolled into town. Thanks to six players turning in two point nights against the Swamp Rabbits, Atlanta easily cruised to a 5-3 victory. Patrick D'Amico opened up the scoring for the Atlanta Gladiators 6:18 into the first period. Eric Neiley found the Winnipeg native who wristed a shot past the glove of Swamp Rabbits goaltender, Mackenzie Skapski, and into the top right corner of the net to take the one-goal advantage. Greenville answered back just over a minute later to tie the game at one. Ryan Rashid carried the puck up ice, eventually centering it to Darian Dziurzynski who was able to push it through the legs of Gladiators goaltender, Matt Ginn, for the equalizer. Dziurzynski picked up his 10th goal of the year while Rashid and Zack LaRue picked up their 12th and 2nd assist, respectively.The Gladiators regained the lead at the 12:12 mark of the first period on D'Amico's second goal of the night. Skapski blocked an initial shot from Neiley, but D'Amico was waiting right outside the crease to knock the rebound through the five-hole of the Swamp Rabbit goaltender. The two teams traded goals within 45 seconds to make the score 2-3 with 6:06 remaining in the second period. Matt Register hit a slap shot that deflected off Thomas Frazee and then off the stick of Brock Higgs past Skapski for his 14th goal and 25th point of the year while Vinny Saponari took advantage of a Greenville 2-on-1 opportunity, wristing a shot from the right point just past the glove of Ginn to cut the lead back to one. Mike Merrifield regained the two-goal advantage for the Gladiators at the 7:55 mark of the third period as J.T. Barnett passed to Tyler Shiplo, who shot from the right point. The puck bounced off the right pad of Skapski on the initial save and slid to Merrifield who shot it into the net. The Gladiators would add another goal with 8:25 left in the third period off the stick of Higgs. The forward took advantage of another rebounded puck around the crease as he slotted a saved Shiplo shot into the net to make the score 5-2. Dziurzynski scored a short-handed goal with just under three minutes left in the third to cut the score to 5-3 when the forward found himself on a breakaway and powered it past the stick of Ginn. The Gladiators have won nine of their last 11, and claimed at least one point in 10 of those games. Atlanta improves to 24-12-2 and 50 points while the Swamp Rabbits fall to 18-14-6 and stay at 42 points on the season.

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