Looking to bounce back after Firday night's defeat by Greenville, Atlanta hit the road for thier first of five trips to the North Charleston Coliseum to face-off with the Stingrays. After the Gladiators obtained a four-goal lead in the third, South Carolina battled back only to eventually fall to Atlanta 5-4 on Sunday afternoon.
South Carolina managed the game's first goal 12:45 into the opening period. Dominic Monardo chipped the puck into the Atlanta zone from neutral ice behind the Gladiator defense. Rob Flick won the race to the loose and puck and moved in on a short breakaway. The London, ON native would snap a shot past the blocker of Atlanta's goaltender, Dan Vladar, for his 19th tally of the season and gave South Carolina a 1-0 lead.
The Gladiators would get an equalizer with just over three minutes remaining on the first period. Tyler Murovich intercepted a Stingray clearing attempt in the high slot. The seventh-year pro then spun and sent a quick shot towards the South Carolina net. The wrister caught South Carolina goalie, Parker Milner, off-guard as the puck hit off the glove of the Pittsburgh, PA native and trickled into the back of the net. The ninth goal of the season for Murovich was unassisted.
Just over a minute later, the former Stingray, Drew Baker gave Atlanta the lead for the first time of the afternoon. After a flurry of chances in front of the goal for Atlanta, South Carolina cleared the puck to the point where the Alpharetta, GA native batted it down keeping the play alive. The veteran defender wasted no time and blasted a shot on goal that beat Milner who had failed to recover after multiple shots from the Gladiators moment prior. The third goal of the year for Baker was also unassisted and sent the teams to the locker rooms with the Gladiators leading 2-1.
Carrying the momentum into the middle frame, The Gladiators extended their lead to three, 3:39 into the period. Josh Atkinson picked up a point in his seventh straight game when he found Tyler Murovich in the right wing circle. The veteran forward managed his second point of the night as he sent the puck to Connor Gaarder in the high slot where he slammed a one-timer towards the goal. The puck ricocheted off of a defender standing in front and slid past Milner. The maker was Gaarder's fourth of the season and sixth point with Atlanta in seven games.
Atlanta increased their lead to three on a power play goal at the 17:54 mark of the second stanza. The league's best road power play struck again for the 16th time this season when Brock Higgs potted the puck into the Stingray net on the rebound of a Derek Nesbitt shot. Atkinson earned his second point of the afternoon with the secondary assist on the fourth Gladiator tally of the game.
The Gladiators picked up right where they left off in the third and made the score 5-1, 5:44 into the final period. Gaarder received a pass rom A.J. White at the top of the circles and lasered a wrist shot off the cross bar into the goal past Milner. Gaarder's second of the night and fifth of the season gave the Gladiators a four-goal cushion.
South Carolina stormed back with three goals to make the score 5-4. First, Patrick Gaul knocked in a rebound at the 7:10 mark of the third kickstarting the Rays comeback attempt. The Stingrays would add back-to-back power play goals from Olivier Archambault and Steven McParland at the 8:51 and 15:43 marks making it just a one-goal hockey game late in the third frame.
After a bevy of chances for South Carolina and 18 third period shots, Vladar and the Gladiators held on to defeat the Stingrays 5-4. With earning the two points in the victory, Atlanta improved to 41 points and passed Cincinnati for the fifth spot in the South Division standings. South Carolina managed no points in the losing effort and remained at 49 points on the season and tied for third place in the division.