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Offensive Explosion Gives Glads Win Over Cyclones

Saturday, January 14th
Offensive Explosion Gives Glads Win Over Cyclones

Powered by a three-goal second period, and a multi-point night for six separate players, the Gladiators offense thrived as they returned to action at home and defeated the Cincinnati Cyclones by a score of 6-2 at the Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday night.

Cincinnati jumped out to the early lead, as the visitors found the net just :25 seconds into the game. After Nick Huard cleared the puck deep into the Atlanta zone, Jaynen Rissling corralled it behind the net. From there the Edmonton, AB native pushed the puck to the front where Seth Ambroz jammed at it until it trickled through the pads of Matt Ginn. The goal was the University of Minnesota grad’s fourth of the year and put his team ahead 1-0.

The Gladiators would then strike back with only 1:49 remaining in the opening period to tie the game at 1-1. Jake Bolton gathered the puck in his defensive zone and looked up ice to see Connor Gaarder open at the boards. The defenseman then launched a pass up to Gaarder, who fired a shot from the far circle. The puck then rebounded off the pad of Cincinnati goalie, Mark Visentin, and landed on the blade of Mark Naclerio, who put in the rebound for his first goal of the season.

Just over two minutes into the second period, Josh Atkinson gave the home team their first lead and put the Gladiators ahead 2-1. Dalton Reum was able to find the puck in the neutral zone for Atlanta and sent a pass up to Brock Higgs. The Gladiators' alternate captain then faked a shot and sent the puck to Atkinson. The rookie then buried the shot for his fourth tally of the year.

Less than two minutes later, Atlanta would double their lead and take a 3-1 advantage over the Cyclones. Jake Bolton ripped a slap shot from the far point that sailed over the glove of Visentin for the defenseman’s first goal of the season. Both Reum and Higgs added their second assists of the night on the play.

Atlanta would then continue their strong second period effort and find the net again to put them ahead 4-1 just 4:45 into the middle stanza. Atkinson kept the puck in the offensive zone and delivered a pass to the stick of Gaarder. The second year pro then stickhandled around the goalie and lost the puck in the crease, where Naclerio swooped in and tapped the puck across the goal-line for his second marker of the night.

The Cyclones cut their deficit to 4-2 at the 12:42 mark of the second with a goal off the stick of Peter Leblanc. The former Washington Capital picked up the puck in the offensive zone off a turnover and lined a shot that went directly over Ginn’s blocker. The goal was unassisted and came as the Ontario native’s ninth of the season.

Justin Buzzeo would then add his 12th goal of the year to give Atlanta the 5-2 lead at the 12:28 mark of the third. The 2016-17 All-Star representative for the Gladiators skated into the zone with the puck and held off both Cyclones defenders before he deked Visentin and wristed a quick shot into the net. Atkinson added his third point of the game on the play, while Trevor Mingoia also put his name on the scoresheet.

The Gladiators were not done, as Brock Higgs was able to net his 12th goal of the season just over a minute later. After his first shot was stopped, the R.P.I. product picked up his own rebound and slid it past Visentin to put Atlanta ahead 6-2. Daniel Bahntge and Tyler Murovich both tallied an assist on the Higgs goal.

Atlanta’s win on home ice improved their record to 15-17-4-1, however, they remained in sixth in the South division with 35 points. The Cyclones dropped to 17-14-4-0 with the loss, and remained in fifth in the division with 38 points.

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