Atlanta quieted the over 9,000 fans at the Orlando Solar Bears’ home-opener with a 5-4 road win on Saturday night. Matt Ginn backstopped the Gladiators with 39 saves and the win in net while Phil Lane scored the game-winning goal in the third period giving the visitors their second straight road win.
The Gladiators got off to a hot start as they deposited the game’s first goal just 1:02 into the contest. Derek Nesbitt collected a pass from Colin Jacobs behind the net and whistled a one-timer over the left shoulder of Orlando goalie, Cal Heeter from the low slot for his third tally of the season. Alex Gacek earned the secondary assist on The Captian’s third goal in his last two games.
Orlando got the home-opening crowd into the game with a tally 7:59 into the opening period. Jeff King hurled a wrist shot from the point that sailed through traffic in front and beat Atlanta goalie, Matt Ginn to tie the contest at one. Zach Stephan and Mike Monfredo registered the helpers on King’s first goal of the season.
The Solar Bears managed their first lead of the evening just over a minute later. Chris Crane knocked in a rebound from atop of the crease after a Ginn pad stop. Todd Skirving, who took the initial shot, and King notched the assists on Crane’s third of the campaign.
The Gladiators got the game back to even 11:14 into a high-scoring first stanza. Patrick D’Amico was sent into the Orlando zone on a headman feed from Ben Marshall. The Winnipeg native led the 2-on-1 rush, faked a pass across to Phil Lane and wired a shot into the top shelf of the net. D’Amico’s second goal in as many nights tied at match at two as the team’s headed to the intermission.
Atlanta regained the lead at the 4:00 mark of the middle period. Ben Marsahll trailed the play on a 3-on-1 rush and received a pass from Lane in the high slot. The Minnesota native sent a snap shot past Heeter’s glove for his first of the season. Lane was credited with the only assist on the play that gave Atlanta the 3-2 lead.
Orlando responded with two quick power play goals to take the lead once again. First, Josh Winquist blasted his second goal on the season. Max Novak followed that up less than two minutes later with his first goal on the campaign to give the home-side the 4-3 lead.
The Gladiators showed resiliency once again and tied the game at four, 10:19 into the second period. Tanner Pond found a loose puck in the left circle and riffled his first professional goal past Heeter. Former Solar Bear Ben Danford and Josh Atkinson notched the helpers on the forth Atlanta tally.
With the team’s tied in the final period, Atlanta took the lead once again just over four minutes into the frame. Thomas Frazee picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and sped into the Orlando end on a 2-on-1 rush with Lane. The Vancouver, BC native outwaited the sprawled out Solar Bears’ defender and sent a pass across the crease to an open Lane. The Rochester, NY native re-directed the disc into the goal which gave the Gladiators a 5-4 third period lead.
Orlando forced a fierce comeback attempt but late game heroics from Ginn in net sealed the victory for Atlanta. Behind 39 saves from Ginn, Atlanta earned their second straight win and improved their point total to four on the year and record to 2-4-0-0. Orlando dropped to 2-2-0-0 on the and remained at four points and are now tied with the Gladiators in the South Division standings.
Up next, Atlanta turns right around for an afternoon matinee with the Solar Bears tomorrow at 1:30pm at the same Amway Center in Orlando, FL.
Atlanta Spoils Orlando Home-Opener with Dramatic 5-4 Win
Saturday, October 28th
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