Derek Nesbitt has had historic night for the Gladiators, however, Atlanta divulged their early lead and fell to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in overtime by a score of 4-3 as they returned to action at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Friday night.
The Swamp Rabbits opened the game’s scoring with a tally 5:35 into the opening frame. Desmond Bergin held the puck in the zone for the home team and sent a quick pass to Matt Prapavessis, who then ripped a one-timer through traffic and over the glove of Dan Vladar. The tally was the Ontario native’s fourth goal of the year and put Greenville ahead 1-0.
Atlanta would then tie the game at the 11:39 mark of the first period. Tyler Murovich found the puck in front of the Greenville net and slid a shot through the legs of goalie, Jeff Malcolm. The Gladiators Alternate Captain’s seventh goal of the year was assisted by Drew Baker and Connor Gaarder to knot the game at 1-1.
Then with 4:36 remaining in the first, the Gladiators struck on the power play to take a 2-1 lead. The Atlanta Captain, Derek Nesbitt, tapped in a goal to notch his 600th career pro point and tied the club record held by Jeff Campbell with his 90th career goal as a Gladiator. The 12th year pro’s 17th goal of the season was assisted by Josh Atkinson and Cason Hohmann.
Tristian King netted his fourth goal of the year just 1:28 into the second period to tie the game at 2-2. The former Allen American won the puck out of the corner and skated to the low slot before he slid a quick shot off the left post for the tying goal. Tommy Thompson and Ahti Oksanen tallied their ninth and sixth assists respectively on the play.
Greenville would retake the lead with a goal from Tohmpson 1:23 into the third period. The product of St. Lawrence University corralled the loose puck in the offensive zone and tossed it toward the net to beat Vladar on the short side. The rookie’s 10th goal of the year was assisted by King and Oksanen.
The Gladiators would then tie the game at 3-3 with only 3:21 remaining as Hohmann deflected in a shot from the near boards. The former Orland Solar Bear was sitting in front of the net in the Greenville zone when Nick Trecapelli sent the puck towards the net, and he was able to tip in the puck for his tenth goal of the year. Trecapelli picked up an assist in his first game as a Gladiator, while Brock Higgs also added a helper on the play.
With the score knotted at 3-3 after 60 minutes of regulation, the teams headed to sudden death overtime to decide the winner. Thompson found the back of the net for the second time in the game just :23 seconds into the extra period to win it for Greenville. The winning mark was the rookies 11th goal of the year and was assisted by Spiro Goulakos and King.
The overtime loss dropped Atlanta to 15-18-5-1 on the season and kept them in sixth in the South Division with 36 points. Greenville picked up their second win in a row and improved to 20-16-2-1 with 43 points which left the Swamp Rabbits in fourth in the division.