The Atlanta Gladiators took a lead into the third period but three Jacksonville goals in the final frame gave the Icemen the 4-3 win. Brady Vail, Luke Sandler and Colin Sullivan scored for the visitors in their first loss of the season to Jacksonville.
After a scoreless first period Atlanta broke the scoreless tie 7:42 into the second period. With just :02 seconds left in a power play, Colin Jacobs blasted a slap shot from the right circle. Standing in front, Luke Sandler redirected the puck en route to the net and it hit off the Icemen goalie, Austin Lotz and trickled across the goal-line. Derek Nesbitt recorded his 250th point as a Gladiator with the secondary assist on Sanlder’s sixth goal of the year.
Jacksonville responded just over two minutes later. Tim Daly stole the puck from the Glads trying to clear the zone and moved in on a short range 3-on-1 rush. Christino DiGiacinto received the puck from Daly and slid the disc cross-crease to Jimmy Lodge. The former Winnipeg Jets draft puck deaked around Atlanta goalie, Sean Bonar and potted his seventh goal of the season tying the game at one.
Making the most of another man-advantage, the Gladiators regained their lead 13:56 into the second frame. Ben Danford moved the puck around the Icemen zone before finding Josh Atkinson who swung a quick pass to the left circle to a wide-open Brady Vail. The North Carolina native tried to find Phil Lane standing in front but the puck instead went off a Jacksonville defender and into the net.
Jacksonville tied the game once again just :18 seconds into the final period. Tyson Fawcett found a loose puck in a net scramble and chipped the puck in over a sprawling Bonar. Cameron Critchlow and Tim Daly notched the helpers on Fawcett’s 5th goal of the season.
The Icemen took their first lead of the evening at the 5:47 mark of the third period. Bonar skated all the way out to the Atlanta blue line and tried to clear a loose puck. Bobby MacIntyre chipped it away from the Atlanta netminder and placed the puck in a vacant net. Dajon Mingo was given the lone assist on the Icemen go-ahead goal.
Jacksonville added an insurance goal with just over nine minutes remaining in the final stanza. Tanner Eberle collected a cross-crease pass from DiGiacinto and one-timed the puck in just past the left post. Lodge earned his second point of the night with the non-primary helper.
The Gladiators brought the game back to within one with a late short-handed goal. Colin Sullivan skated the puck coast-to-coast and riffled a shot over the glove of Lotz for his first professional tally. The unassisted goal brought the game close but Atlanta was unable to complete a comeback and fell to the Icemen for the first time this season.
With the road loss, the Gladiators dropped their record to 12-5-2-2 but remain in the fourth and final playoff spot in the South Division playoff race with 26 points. Jacksonville earned their 6th win on the season and moved to 16 points on the season.
Up next, The Gladiators play their last game before the holiday break in North Charleston, SC against the Stingrays tomorrow night. Puck drop at the North Charleston Coliseum is set for 7:05pm.
Three-Goal Third Period Gives Icemen First Win Over Gladiators
Thursday, December 21st
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