The Gladiators returned to action on Friday night as they welcomed in the Swamp Rabbits for the teams’ second matchup in as many nights. An offensive outburst by Greenville gave the visitors an 8-3 victory over Atlanta at the Infinite Energy Arena on Friday night.
Greenville opened the scoring for the second night in a row with a goal at the 8:36 mark into the first period. Desmond Bergin tallied the goal for the Swamp Rabbits with a shot from the point that maneuvered through traffic and into the back of the net. The rookie’s seventh goal of the year was assisted by Angelo Miceli and Matt Prapavessis.
The visitors would then double their lead to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal 16:51 into the opening frame. Tommy Thompson dove to knock a loose puck over to Tristian King in the neutral zone. The Minnesota native then dashed into the zone on a breakaway and made a quick forehand-backhand move to beat Atlanta goalie, Matt Ginn, on the glove side for his fifth goal of the season.
With only :19 seconds remaining in the first, Ahti Oksanen found the net to give the Swamp Rabbits a 3-0 lead. After a shot came in from the point and the puck was loose in the scrum in front, the Finnish rookie tapped it in for his eighth goal of the year. Both Miceli and Prapavessis added their second assist of the night on the play.
Atlanta would finally get onto the board 1:52 into the second period. Trevor Mingoia corralled the puck in his offensive zone and then cut towards the middle to take a quick shot over the blocker of Greenville goaltender, Jeff Malcolm. The goal was the product of Providence University’s 14th of the season and was assisted by Mark Naclerio and Derek Nesbitt.
The Gladiators then cut their deficit to one after Tyler Murovich struck 17:16 into the middle frame to make it 3-2. After he received a pass from Connor Gaarder at the far circle, the Atlanta Alternate Captain ripped a shot over Malcolm’s glove for his eighth mark of the season as he fell to his knees.
Just two minutes of playing time later, Greenville struck again to regain their two goal lead. Michael Joly wrapped the puck around the boards in his offensive zone where it then took a bounce off the kick plate and out to the front of the net. There Miceli stood and tapped the puck into the open goal for his sixth goal of the season. Joly and Joe Houk were both credited with an assist on the play.
The Swamp Rabbits would find the net once again 5:17 into the third to go ahead 5-2. Thompson was credited with his 14th goal of the season after the puck ricocheted off his stick and floated over Ginn’s shoulder. The tally was assisted by Oksanen and Bergin.
Less than two minutes later Matt Johnson poked a rebound through the legs of Ginn to put the visitors up 6-2. The goal was Johnson’s fourth of the season and was assited by Joly at the 7:04 mark in the final period.
Atlanta then added a power play tally with only 9:09 remaining to cut the score to 6-3. Josh Atkinson notched his sixth goal of the year by knocking in a loose puck in a scrum in front of the net. Mingoia added his second point of the night with an assist, while Brock Higgs was credited with the secondary helper.
Miceli then found the net for his fourth point of the night to put Greenville ahead 7-3. The Quebec native netted his seventh of the year after he received a pass from Troy Donnay and then worked through the zone before he took the shot. Oksanen would later add his second of the night to put Greenville ahead 8-3, the game's eventual final score.
The loss dropped Atlanta’s record to 16-19-6-1 and kept the Gladiators in sixth in the South Division with 39 points. Meanwhile, Greenville improved to 23-16-3-1 with the win and jumped into second in the division with 50 points.