The Gladiators closed out the preseason with a 4-2 victory over the defending Eastern Conference Champions, the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday night. Patrick D’Amico led the way with two goals including the game-winner. Eric Shand and Phil Lane chipped in with two assists each and Troy Passingham recorded the win in net for Atlanta.
South Carolina earned the game’s first goal just :37 seconds into the contest. Rays captain, Joe Devin collected a pass from Tim McGauley and slipped the puck past Atlanta goaltender, Troy Passingham.
The Gladiators brought the score back to even, 6:14 into the opening period. Patrick D’Amico caught a pass from Phil Lane and sped through the neutral zone. The Winnipeg, MB native managed to split the defense and send a snap shot past Stingrays goalie, Carmine Guerriero.
The equal score did not last long as South Carolina took their lead back :34 second later. Devin earned his second goal on the evening with a backdoor tap-in after an unfortunate bounce off a defender in front. McGauley, just like the first Rays goal, had the lone assist on the play.
Atlanta responded with 3:00 minutes left in the first frame to once again tie the game. Thomas Frazee redirected a Dalton Reum point shot over the shoulder of Guerriero giving the North Vancouver, BC native his second goal in as many preseason games. Derek Nesbitt also was accredited with an assist on the player that sent the two clubs to the locker room tied at two.
Just 2:50 into the middle period, D’Amico notched his second goal of the evening. The third-year pro led a two-on-one rush into the South Carolina zone. D’Amico then faked the pass to Lane on the far side, cut to the middle and wristed a shot into the goal, netting the Gladiators their first lead of the game. Eric Shand also earned a helper on the only goal of the second period.
Nate Todd sealed the victory for the visitors with an empty net goal late in the third period. With the win on the road in Charleston, Atlanta ended the preseason with a record of 1-1.