Captain Derek Nesbitt turned in a three point night off of two goals and an assist, plus newcomers Jimmy Murray and David Morley each had two point performances, to help earn the Gladiators a 6-4 victory over the Everblades. Goaltender Matt Ginn made 28 saves in the Friday night win. The home side jumped on the scoreboard first 5:24 into the game with a powerplay tally. Everblades captain Matt Marquardt blasted a one-time slap shot from the right wing circle in between the legs of Gladiators netminder Matt Ginn. Marquardt's 14th goal of the season was assisted by Kevin Lynch and Chase Golightly.Florida posted their second mark of the game with 10:59 left in the first period. John DiSalvatore sent a wrist shot from the hash marks that was deflected in by Corey Cowick for his 15th goal of the year. Ralph Cuddemi also notched an assist on the play that gave the Everblades a 2-0 lead. Atlanta cut the lead in half when Derek Nesbitt found the back of the net for the 26th time this season. Rookies Josh Atkinson and Jimmy Murray recorded their first career points and assists setting up the captain for a one-timer from the high slot that beat Florida goalie Rasmus Tirronen. Florida regained a two goal lead with an early goal to start period two. Brenden O'Donnell collected his fourth goal in as many games taking advantage of the second Florida powerplay. Matt Willows registered the primary assist while Lynch managed his second point of the evening on the secondary helper. The Gladiators started the comeback with an Eric Neiley goal at the 10:13 mark of the second. Kevin Albers and Atkinson moved the puck back and forth in the Atlanta zone which allowed the Dartmouth product to sneak behind the defense. Albers sent Neiley in on the breakaway where the rookie forward beat Tirronen for his seventh of the season. Shortly thereafter the Gladiators equaled the score when former Everblade Mike Merrifield earned his sixth tally on the year. Thomas Frazee sprung Merrifield in all alone with Tirronen on a headman pass. The Michigan State product beat the Florida goaltender between the legs tying the game at three. Atlanta then went into the lead for the first time with under two minutes to go in the middle stanza. After Nesbitt had two shots stopped, Frazee sent a third shot along the ice into the goal. David Morley became the third Gladiator to record their first career point in the game when he tallied the secondary assist on the powerplay goal that put the visitors up 4-3 going into the third period. Florida tied the game with the first goal in the third just over two minutes in. Willows increased his league-lead in points among rookies when he walked out of the corner and beat Ginn for his 23rd goal on the campaign. O'Donnell picked up his second point of the night on the primary assist alongside Lynch and his third helper. Atlanta took their second lead of the night on the first professional goal for Murray 12:45 into the third period. Morley, the fellow St. Cloud State product sent a pass to Murray in the neutral zone and the Darien, IL native deked the Florida defense and scored on a forehand-backhand move. Jake Bolton produced his first career assist on the secondary helper that gave Murray and Morley multi-point nights. Nesbitt added an empty netter that gave him a three point game, his 27th mark of the season and the victory for the Gladiators. In the road win, Atlanta kept their playoff hopes alive and improved to 71 points on the season. The Everblades were unable to make up any ground on the south leading Stingrays in the loss and remained at 88 points.
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