Despite a successful power play unit, the Atlanta Gladiators fell to the Florida Everblades by a score of 5-3 at Germain Arena on Friday night.
The Gladiators opened the game's scoring with a power play tally 8:11 into the first period. Tommy Vannelli took a shot from the point that was tipped in front by Eric Neiley, and then trickled behind the Florida goalie Anthony Peters. Justin Buzzeo then tapped the loose puck into the net for his 16th goal of the season to put Atlanta ahead 1-0.
Florida would then tie the game a minute and a half later. Stephan MacAulay was credited with first goal of the year after he knocked in a rebound that was loose in the crease. John McCarron and Chase Golightly both notched an assist on the tying goal.
Neiley then netted his 20th goal of the season to give Atlanta its second power play tally of the night. The product of Dartmouth College was able to pound in a rebound from the top the crease to put his team ahead. Mark Naclerio added his name to the score sheet with an assist on the play, while Buzzeo also picked up his second point of the game with a helper.
The Everblades would draw back even with only :33 seconds remaining in the opening frame. After he received a lead pass from MacAulay, Brant Harris lined a shot over Vladar’s blocker for his 21st goal of the year. The goal came shorthanded for Florida and made the score 2-2 as the game headed to the second period.
Matt Berry gave the home team their first lead of the night 7:53 into the second period. MacAulay delivered a pass to Clark Bishop in the offensive zone and the forward skated the puck behind the net before he found Berry open the slot. The former Michigan State Spartan then wristed a shot into the goal for his 16th tally of the season to put his team ahead 3-2.
A power play tally at the 13:01 mark of the second period would double the lead for Florida and give them a 4-2 lead. Michael Kirkpatrick kept the puck in the zone for the Everblades and directed a pass to Josh Wesley who was able to set up a quick shot for Harris. The Florida captain then buried his second goal of the game with a wrist shot from the far circle.
Atlanta would then bring their deficit to just one halfway through the third period. Trevor Mingoia was able to find the back of the net for his 17th goal of the year with a wrist shot from the low slot. The goal, which made the score 4-3, came at 10:16 of the third and was assisted by Vannelli, his second point of the game.
Florida would take the decisive lead with just :59 seconds remaining on a goal by Evan Bloodoff. The tally was the sixth year pro’s fifth of the season and was assisted by both Wesley and McCarron and sealed the 5-3 win for the home side.
The loss dropped Atlanta to 17-23-6-1 and kept the team in sixth in the South Division with 41 points. Meanwhile, Florida increased their lead in the first spot in the division with a record of 32-9-2-2 and 68 points.