After falling just short of a victory on Saturday evening in Indianapolis, IN, the Gladiators had revenge on their minds in the second of back-to-back duels with the Indy Fuel at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
For the second straight game, Indy scored first and took the 1-0 lead, 1:34 into the opening period. Tyler Barnes, who was sent to the Fuel from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL earlier in the day, tapped a rebound across the goal-line for his first tally of the season. Randy Cure, who took the initial shot from the point that was stopped by Atlanta starting goalie, Matt Ginn, earned the primary assist on the Barnes' first goal of the season.
Atlanta responded and tied the game at the 7:02 mark of the first period. Josh Atkinson fired a shot from the right point that was redirected into the net by Thomas Frazee past Indy goalie, Eric Levine. Rookie forward, A.J. White, collected the secondary assist on Frazee's ninth goal of the season.
Derek Nesbitt gave the Gladiators their first lead of the two-game set against Indy, 12:03 into the first frame.
Colin Jacobs stripped the puck off of the stick of an Indy defender, and drifted into the Fuel zone on a 2-on-1 rush with Nesbitt. Jacobs moved a backhand saucer pass over to the Captain who blasted his 11th goal of the season into the net.
Nesbitt added a second tally shortly after his first notch and increased his ECHL lead in goals. Frazee won the face-off in his offensive zone to the veteran forward who wasted no time and took a quick shot on goal. The puck sailed past a maze of skaters in front of the net and beat Levine to put Atlanta up 3-1, just four seconds into a their first power play.
Alex Wideman registered his fourth point against the Gladiators on the weekend when he scored 2:08 into the middle period. Barnes received a pass from Nick Mattson in the left wing circle and sent a shot towards the net that was deflected to Wideman standing to the right of the goal. Wideman put the puck between the legs of Ginn for his sixth tally of the year and brought the score to 3-2 in favor of Atlanta.
The Gladiators went back up by two after a Justin Buzzeo goal made the score 4-2 at the 4:29 mark of the second. Josh Atkinson shifted in and out of Fuel defenders and slid a pass to an open Buzzeo in the right wing circle. The Windsor, ON native went top shelf with a wrist shot past Levine to extend his point streak to 10 games.
Indy came back with two quick goals to tie the game at four in the middle period. First, at the 16:39 mark, Josh Carlsson's point shot beat Ginn over the left shoulder. This was followed :50 seconds later by Matt Rupert's second goal of the year that evened the score.
Atlanta regained the lead in the third period with Shane Bakker's first goal as a Gladiator. Drew Baker took a slap shot from the right point that was denied by Levine. The rebound went right to Bakker standing in the low slot where the former Wheeling Nailer put a backhand shot into the goal to make the score 5-4. White managed his second assist of the game on the tally that came with 14:04 remaining in the third.
Just :19 seconds later, Indy tied the game once again. Wideman picked up his second goal of the night on a wrist shot from the left wing that beat Ginn high over the left shoulder. The helpers went to Anthony Beauregard and Barnes, which gave him a single game franchise record fourth assist and fifth point of the contest.
Late in the third period, Kevin Lynch took advantage of a neutral zone turnover by the Gladiators and gained his fourth goal on the year. The Michigan native earned his second point of the evening when he sniped a snap shot past Ginn off the rush. The unassisted goal put the Fuel in the lead, 6-5 with 3:45 remaining in the game.
Atlanta was unable to comeback and tie the score as the horn sounded and dropped the contest to the Fuel.
The Gladiators stayed at 18 points and had their record change to 8-9-1-1. Indy increased their win streak to five games with the 6-5 win and improved their record to 7-6-1-0 with 15 points in the standings.