The Atlanta Gladiators were able to open the scoring in their first away matchup of the 2017 calendar year, however they could not hold off the visitors as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits powered their way to a 6-3 victory at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Wednesday night.
Atlanta struck first for the fifth time in the past 17 games as Trevor Mingoia found the back of the net 4:07 into the first period. Jake Bolton managed to hold the puck in the offensive zone after Greenville attempted to clear, and pushed it forward to Mark Naclerio. The former Brown University captain then connected on a pass to Mingoia in the high slot, where he wristed a shot over the blocker off the Swamp Rabbits goalie, Jeff Malcolm. The tally was Mingoia’s 12th of the year and put the Gladiators ahead 1-0.
Trevor Gerling would then tie the game at 1-1 with a goal 8:49 into the opening frame. The second year pro was stopped by Atlanta goaltender, Daniel Vladar, on his first shot, however, the puck rebounded directly onto his stick blade and he snapped in his eighth of the year from the low slot. Paul Zanette and Tommy Thompson were both credited with an assist on the tying goal.
Less than one minute of playing time later, the home team would take their first lead of the night. After he received a pass from Brandon Alderson, Greenville alternate captain Tyler Brown noticed Joe Houk wide open to the left of Vladar and sailed the forward a pass. Houk then beat the Gladiators' netminder with a shot over the pads to put his team ahead 2-1 on his eighth goal of the season.
Thompson then struck 3:57 into the middle frame to put Greenville ahead 3-1. The rookie gathered the puck in the middle of the offensive zone after a tic-tac-toe passing play, and lined a wrist shot into the top corner of the net for his eighth tally of the year, and second point of the night. Brown and Houk also doubled their point totals with assists on the Swamp Rabbit goal.
Greenville would then add to their lead and make the score 4-1 with 11:10 remaining in the middle stanza. Maxime St-Cyr collected the puck in front of the Gladiators net and beat Vladar with a quick shot for his first goal with Greenville in four games with the team. Desmond Bergin added his name to the score sheet with an assist after he floated the pass to St-Cyr.
Justin Buzzeo would then cut the deficit to 4-2 for the Gladiators with his 11th goal of the year at the 13:15 mark in the second. Drew Baker blasted a shot from the near circle that was tipped over the left shoulder of Malcolm in front of the blue paint by the second year pro. Naclerio also added his second helper of the night with the secondary assist.
The Swamp Rabbits would quickly regain their three goal lead as Brown continued to have success and found the net to put the home squad up 5-2. The Ontario native tallied his third point of the game after a puck fortuitously caromed off the end boards and into his possession in the low slot. Brown made no mistake as he buried the shot in with 4:51 remaining in the middle period. Alderson notched his second assist of the night, while Troy Donnay picked up his first helper of the game on the play.
Just 3:15 into the third Alderson wired a slap shot that sailed over the glove of Atlanta’s replacement goalie, Matt Ginn, and put Greenville ahead 6-2. The fourth year pro created a turnover in front of the Gladiators blue line to set up his unassisted shot that found the net for his 11th tally of the year.
Atlanta would find the net to cut the score to 6-3 with a power play goal 9:47 into the final period. After a cross-ice passing play between Corey Syvret and Buzzeo, Malcom made a quick save on the first chance before Mingoia knocked in the rebound for his second tally of the night.
The loss dropped Atlanta to 14-17-4-1 on the season and kept the Gladiators in sixth in the South Division with 33 points. Greenville was able to brake their losing streak and improved to 18-14-2-1 on the year which placed them in fourth in the division with 39 points