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Two-Goal Third Period Gives Greenville 4-3 Road Win in Atlanta

Friday, December 8th
Two-Goal Third Period Gives Greenville 4-3 Road Win in Atlanta

The Atlanta Gladiators welcomed their in-division rivals the Greenville Swamp Rabbits to the Infinite Energy Arena for the first time this season on Friday night. A third-period surge from the visitors was the deciding factor, as two goals in the final frame gave the Swamp Rabbits the 4-3 victory.

The Gladiators would open the scoring on their first shift of the game, just :15 seconds into the first period. Derek Nesbitt stole the puck in the neutral zone and chipped it forward to Lindsay Sparks. The Oakville, ON native then carried the puck into the offensive zone and left a drop pass for Brady Vail, who then wristed a shot through the pads of Ty Rimmer for his ninth goal of the season.

Greenville would then bring the game back even with 18:11 left in the second period. Sean Flanagan kept the puck in his offensive zone and wristed a shot from the point that hit off the leg-pad of Dan Vladar. Evan Jasper collected the rebound in-front and circled around the defender before he slotted a shot in the open net to tie the game at 1-1.

Atlanta then took the lead back 13:52 into the middle frame with a power-play tally. Sparks once again carried the puck into the offensive zone for the Gladiators and found Vail open in the corner. The former Windsor Spitfire then sent a pass to the point where Josh Atkinson blasted a shot in for his third goal of the season.

The Swamp Rabbits then tied the game at 2-2 at the 14:14 mark of the second. Branden Troock was credited with his 12th goal of the year after he collected his own rebound in front of the Atlanta net and lifted a shot over Vladar. Both Jasper and Alan McPherson tallied an assist on the play.

Just :06 seconds of playing time later, Atlanta regained their one-goal lead. Alex Gacek knocked the puck off a Greenville defenders stick at the blue-line and hit it over to Luke Sandler. The former SPHL Champion then lined a shot from the high-slot that beat Rimmer blocker side to give the Gladiators a 3-2 lead on his fifth goal of the year. Tanner Pond also added his name to the scoresheet with the secondary assist on the play.

The visitors would respond :18 seconds into the third period, when they scored again to knot the game at 3-3. Flanagan picked up the loose puck on the far boards and tossed a shot towards the net. The puck hit off the pad of Vladar and rebounded to Troock, who took a shot into the open net for his second goal of the game.

Greenville would then take their first lead of the night with 10:44 to go in the third period. Joe Basaraba carried the puck on a two-on-one into the Atlanta zone and sent a pass over to Derek Sutliffe. The Las Vegas native then circled around the back of the Gladiators net and tucked the puck in on a wraparound for his first ECHL goal.

Unable to defeat Greenville on home ice, the Gladiators fell to 12-9-1-1 on the year and dropped to fourth in the South Division with 26 points. Meanwhile, the Swamp Rabbits improved to 13-9-2-0 with the road victory and now sit in third in the division with 28 points.

Up next, Atlanta will travel to the North Charleston Coliseum for a showdown with South Carolina tomorrow night. The puck drops at 7:00 between the Gladiators and Stingrays on Saturday evening.

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