Having played their past six games at home, Atlanta hit the road as they returned to action in Greenville, SC on Tuesday night. The Gladiators lined up against the Swamp Rabbits for their second matchup of the season and their first at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
Justin Buzzeo opened the game's scoring 5:39 into the opening period. The second year pro wired home a shot from the high shot that beat the Greenville goalie, Mackenzie Skapski. Shane Bakker and Trevor Mingoia were both credited with an assist on Buzzeo’s ninth goal of the season.
The Gladiators would then increase their lead league in first period goals as Eric Neiley found the back of the net for Atlanta’s 31st tally in the opening frame. Josh Atkinson picked up the puck in his defensive zone and marched down the ice where he played the puck to Neiley in front the net. The former Dartmouth College forward tipped the shot over Skapski’s shoulder to increase the lead to 2-0 with 5:21 left in the frame.
Just under three minutes later, Tommy Thompson struck for the Swamp Rabbits and cut the home team’s deficit to 2-1. Bretton Cameron found the puck for Greenville and muscled a pass to the rookie, who then advanced down the ice and beat Matt Ginn, Atlanta’s netminder, with a hard shot from the slot.
Greenville would even the score at 2-2 with a power play goal 16:00 into the middle stanza. Spiro Goulakos wristed a shot from the center point that fluttered through heavy traffic and made its way over Ginn’s glove. Angelo Miceli notched his 16th helper of the year while Matt Prapavessis gained his ninth on the defender’s sixth goal.
Cameron signed his name on the scoresheet once again as the Greenville forward put his team ahead 3-2 just :48 seconds into the final period. Thompson corralled the puck in the neutral zone and sped over the blue line before he sailed a pass to the open Greenville Captain, who redirected the rubber into the goal. The early period strike was Cameron’s eighth of the year, and held on to be the game winner for the home squad.
Joe Houk increased the Swamp Rabbits lead to 4-2, 11:33 into the third with a powerful shot from the point. The undrafted defenseman skated the blue line with the puck before he blasted a shot towards the net that Ginn couldn’t reach. Paul Zanette and Garrett Noonan added their name to the scoresheet on Greenville’s second power play tally of the game.
Unable to hold on to their early lead, Atlanta fell on the road to drop to 10-13-2-1 on the season. This kept the Gladiators in fifth in the ECHL's South Division with 23 points. Greenville sealed their 5-2 win with an empty net goal with :12 seconds left and improved to 12-9-2-0 with the win at home. The Swamp Rabbits stayed in third in the South Division with 26 points following the game's results.