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Atlanta Tops Cincinnati 6-5 in OT

Friday, November 18th
Atlanta Tops Cincinnati 6-5 in OT

The Gladiators continued their season long road trip in Cincinnati, OH as they faced-off with their new south division foe, the Cincinnati Cyclones. Atlanta looked to get back in the win column in their only trip to the U.S. Bank Arena this year.

Atlanta notched the opening goal of the contest on the power play and took an early lead. Josh Atkinson and Blake Kessel got the Cyclones out of position with passing at the point. Atkinson then sent a rink-wide pass for Brock Higgs who one-timed the puck into the goal past Cyclones goaltender, Michael Houser.

The Cyclones responded with a tally at the 14:27 mark of the first period. After a successful penalty kill for Cincinnati, Tommy Mele found Nick Huard coming out of the penalty box. The North Bay, ON native went in on a breakaway and sent a backhand shot between the legs of Atlanta goalie, Matt Ginn, for his fourth goal of the season. Sean O'Donnell also recorded a helper on the tying goal that made the score 1-1.

Eric Neiley moved into the team lead in goals with nine 17:48 into the opening frame to put the Gladiators back in the lead. The Warminster, PA native redirected a point shot from Shiplo over the glove of Houser. Kessel registered the secondary assist on the goal that gave him his ninth point in his last five games and increased his league lead in points by a defensemen to 18.

Atlanta went up by two just :53 seconds into the second period. Trevor Mingoia sent Derek Nesbitt into the Cincinnati zone with speed. The Atlanta Captain blasted a slap shot past Houser from the left wing circle to move back into a tie for the team lead in goals with nine.

The Cyclones cut the lead back to one on Kenny Ryan's fourth goal of the season. Cincinnati took advantage of their first power play of the evening when Huard collected his second point of the night on the pass to Ryan on the back door. The Franklin, MI native wristed the puck past Ginn and made the score 3-2, still in favor of Atlanta.

Anthony Richard scored a breakaway goal to tie the game at the 16:00 minute mark of the second period. Troy Vance sent a bank pass out of his own end into the Gladiators zone. Richard beat everyone to the puck and fired a shot through Ginn's five-hole to make the score 3-3.

Atlanta grabbed the lead back from Cincinnati with just :53 left in the middle frame. Shiplo earned his first multi-point night of the year and his first goal of the season on a shot from the point that tipped off a Cyclones defender past Houser. Kessel collected his third assist of the evening while Higgs managed his second helper on the play.

Cincinnati got another marker from Ryan, 2:31 into the third to bring the Cyclones back to even with Atlanta. Richard, in his first game in the ECHL this season, placed a drop pass to Ryan on a 2-on-1 rush. Ryan propelled a slap shot past Ginn to make the score 4-4.

The Cyclones took the lead for the first time in the contest on a flukey shorthanded goal. Craig Dalrymple threw a backhand dump from his own zone down into Atlanta territory. The puck took a crazy bounce up and over the head of Ginn, rang off the crossbar and trickled in over the goal line. The unfortunate goal put the Cyclones in the lead, 5-4 with 7:12 left in regulation.

The Gladiators, after a flurry of chances to tie the game, finally knotted up the score with just 1:11 left in the game. Thomas Frazee won an offensive zone face-off back to Kessel at the point. The Madison, WI native avoided traffic in front of the goal with a wrist shot that was stopped by Nesbitt in the crease. The Seaforth, ON native chipped the puck into the goal and tied the game late on his 10th tally of the season. Kessel earned his fourth assist in the game with the primary helper.

After a scoreless last minute of regulation, the game shifted to overtime with both teams earning a point and looking to gain the extra point in the standings. Justin Buzzeo rushed to hold the puck in at the blue line and placed the disc into the right wing circle to an open Higgs. The Kingston, ON native sent a cross-crease pass to Atkinson who knocked the puck into the goal and won the game for Atlanta.

With the thrilling OT, come from behind win, the Gladiators improved to 8-7-1-1 and 18 points on the year and stay in second place in the South Division. Cincinnati earned one point in the overtime loss and saw their record shift to 7-6-2-0 and remain in third place, one spot behind the Gladiators in the South Division.

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