Looking for the fourth win in as many games against their division foes, the Atlanta Gladiators welcomed the Jacksonville Icemen to the Infinite Energy Arena on Wednesday night. Late heroics from Zach Malatesta proved to be the difference, as his late goal clinched a 2-1 win for the home side.
Jacksonville would open the game’s scoring 7:24 into the second period. Alex Goulet was credited with his eighth goal of the season on the play after he brought the puck into the zone on a breakaway and slipped a shot through the legs of Dan Vladar. Both Elgin Pearce and Chris Dienes tallied an assist on the play.
Atlanta would then respond 12:48 into the middle frame. Brady Vail received a pass from Lindsay Sparks and skated into the zone on a two-on-zero. Instead of sending a pass to the other forward, Vail instead outlasted Austin Lotz and buried his eighth goal of the year. Alex Gacek also notched an assist on the tying goal.
The Gladiators would then take their first lead of the game with only 1:17 left in the third period. Zach Malatesta scored his first professional goal with a quick shot that hit off a defender in front and slipped into the net. Both Ben Danford and Darby Llewellyn notched assists on the game-winning goal.
With the win on home ice, Atlanta improved to 12-8-1-1 on the year and moved into a tie for second in the South Division with 26 points. Meanwhile, Jacksonville dropped to 4-12-2-1 with the loss and remain in seventh in the division with 11 points.
Up next, Atlanta will host Greenville for the first time in the 2017-18 season on Friday Night. The puck drops at 7:35pm between the Gladiators and Swamp Rabbits at the Infinite Energy Arena on December 8th.