Donning special Mardi Gras jerseys, the Gladiators looked to get two points on Conference leading Florida on Friday night. The were up 3-1 heading into the third, but gave up two goals in the final stanza and headed to overtime against the Blades. Late in the OT session, Florida's Kevin Lynch fired a shot past Matt Ginn for the win. The Atlanta Gladiators drew first blood against the Florida Everblades, scoring 9:31 into the first period. Derek Nesbitt passed to Max Everson at the point who wristed a shot over the glove of Florida goaltender, Anthony Peters, to give the home team a 1-0 lead. The rookie notched his ninth goal of the season on the play and helped Nesbitt tally his 41st point on the primary assist. Garry Nunn recorded his 27th helper on the secondary assist.A turnover right in front of the Gladiators' net allowed the Florida Everblades to score the equalizing goal with just over two minutes left in the first period. Kevin Lynch poked the puck free from a Gladiator defender right into the path of a streaking Jon DiSalvatore who slotted the puck into the upper-right corner. The veteran netted his fourth goal of the season while Lynch tallied his 19th helper on the assist. The Gladiators retook the lead on a long slap shot off the stick of Ian Barteaux nine minutes into the second frame. Nunn dropped a pass back to Barteaux who one-timed the puck off the post and into the net for the 2-1 Atlanta lead. The goal was Barteaux's third tally of the year, while Nesbitt and Nunn notched their second points of the game on the assists.The newest Gladiator, Shawn Bates scored his first goal with the team to give Atlanta a 3-1 lead with 5:33 left in the second period. Brock Higgs took the puck to the right-side goal line before centering it to the trailing Bates, who notched his first goal in his first game as a Gladiator. Higgs was credited with the primary assist while Justin Buzzeo recorded his 10th helper on the play after he started the rush out of the defensive end.The Everblades tied the game with two quick goals in a span of just 22 seconds in the third. The first came off the stick of Lynch who skated through two defenders, then faked a pass and slotted a shot past the blocker of Gladiators goaltender, Matt Ginn on the powerplay. Florida scored their second straight marker after peppering Ginn with shots directly in front of goal until Carter Sandlak finally converted the equalizer with 11:07 left in the third period.The game went to 3-on-3 overtime after finishing 60 minutes tied at three. With 51 seconds left in overtime, Lynch tallied his second goal of the night to seal the victory and extra point for Florida. Marquardt took the puck right off the faceoff, instantly creating a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Everblades. The Everblades captain skated down the left side and passed to Lynch who shot into the uncovered right side of the net.The Gladiators fell to 25-17-3-1 on the season and earned one point after getting to overtime to put their total at 54 points on the campaign. The Everblades improve to 31-12-0-1 with 63 points, remaining in 1st place in the South Division and Eastern Conference.
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