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Rays Defeat Gladiators 4-2

Monday, March 28th
Rays Defeat Gladiators 4-2

The Gladiators headed to Charleston Tuesday night for another match-up against the division leading Stingrays. Thomas Frazee and Jake Bolton contributed goals for Atlanta, the latter being the rookie defenseman’s first pro tally, but the Glads fell to the Rays by a final score of 4-2. South Carolina struck first on home ice, as Derek DeBlois found the back of the net 12:21 into the opening frame. Nick Jones sent a shot from the point wide of the net, where it then caromed off the boards and landed on the stick of DeBlois in front the net. The former Michigan Wolverine then outlasted Atlanta goaltender, Matt Ginn, and sent the puck into the open net for his sixth tally of the year. Nick Jones was credited with his 12th helper of the season, while Kelly Zajac picked up his tenth with the secondary assist.The Stingrays would then double their lead, and make it 2-0 off a one-timer from Kelly Zajac 11:02 into the second period. Following a tic-tac-toe passing play, DeBlois sent a pass right to the stick of the Winnipeg native, who then sent a quick shot into the open net. The goal was Zajac's sixth of the year, and his fourth against Atlanta. Meanwhile DeBlois picked up his second point of the night with an assist on the power play tally, and Spencer Humphries put his name on the scoresheet with the secondary helper. It was not long before the home team struck again, as Stephan Vigier deflected in his team-leading 24th goal of the season to make it 3-0 in favor of South Carolina. Zajac won the offensive zone face-off back to Humphries, who then skated the line before sending a shot knee level towards the front of the net. The puck made its way through traffic in front and was tipped in off the stick of Vigier and behind Ginn. Both Zajac and Humphries picked up their second point of the night on the Stingrays second power play goal of the game. The Gladiators would then strike their first of the night at the 10:59 mark of the third to cut South Carolina's lead to two. Thomas Frazee received a pass from Max Everson at the far side and sent a screamer that went straight past Stingrays goaltender Vitek Vanecek. The power play goal was the third-year pro's 14th of the year, while Everson and Derek Nesbitt both tallied an assist on the play.Five minutes later, the Stingrays regained their three goal lead on a tally from Patrick Gaul. The undrafted forward received the puck on a quick breakout from his defensive zone, and then skated through the center of the ice and into the offensive zone. He then made a quick move and took a shot from the near circle that fluttered over the pad of Ginn. Caleb Herbert and Nick Jones both got their first point of the night on Gaul's sixth goal of the year.With just over a minute left in the game Atlanta rookie defenseman Jake Bolton sent a wrist shot from the left point that trickled through Vanecek's legs for his first career professional goal. The power play tally was Atlanta's second of the night, and made the score 4-2 at the 18:59 mark of the final period. Tyler Murovich was credited with his 18th assist on the play, and Mike Merrifield notched his 17th on the secondary helper. Despite their third period performance, Atlanta dropped to 31-29-5-2 with the loss, keeping them in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. South Carolina picked up the win on home ice to improve to 40-18-6-3 on the year, giving them 89 points and keeping them in second place in the Eastern Conference.

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