The Atlanta Gladiators took to the ice at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Tuesday night as they matched up with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. A well-rounded team game that saw five different skaters record multiple-point performances gave Atlanta the 6-3 road win.
Greenville opened the games scoring just :44 seconds into the first period to take an early 1-0 lead. Evan Jasper gained possession of the puck behind the Atlanta net and skated to the far side boards before he centered a pass to the slot. There, Joe Basaraba redirected the puck over the shoulder of Sean Bonar for his 16th goal of the season. Carter Sandlak notched the secondary assist on the opening goal.
Atlanta then responded 5:09 into the opening frame to knot the score at 1-1. Brady Vail collected the puck against the boards and chipped a pass forward to Colin Jacobs. The Texas native then left a no-look behind-the-back pass to Darby Llewellyn, who used a quick toe-drag to beat Ty Rimmer and collect his 11th goal of the year.
The Gladiators scored again to make the score 2-1 and their first lead of the night 11:38 into the first. Lindsay Sparks won the race to a puck behind the Greenville net and flung the puck to Jacobs in front of the goal. The fifth-year pro then blasted a one-timer into the back of the net for his ninth of the campaign. Stephen Pierog added his name to the scoresheet with the secondary assist.
Just over three minutes later, Atlanta netted another goal to go up 3-1 at the 14:44 mark of the opening period. Eric Shand tallied his first goal in the ECHL on the play with a shot from the high slot that slipped past Rimmer. Both Vail and Jacobs tallied their second assist of the game on the play.
The Swamp Rabbits responded with a power play goal to cut the deficit to 3-2 at the 16:47 mark of the first. After working the puck around the edge of the offensive zone, Jasper blasted a shot into the back of the net for his 16th of the season. Shane Walsh and Basaraba picked up the helpers on the home team’s second goal of the night.
Atlanta retook their two-goal lead with a tally 17:03 into the opening period. Llewellyn found the puck on his stick, and dangled past the Greenville defender before skating in on Rimmer and firing a shot into the top corner for his second goal of the game. Jacobs and Vail each continued their strong first period with another assist on the play that put them ahead 4-2.
The Gladiators tallied their first power play goal of the night 5:37 into the third period to take a 5-2 lead. Sparks corralled the puck to the right of the net and centered a pass to Phil Lane. The Rochester, NY native then knocked the disc behind him to Shand, who backhanded a shot into the net for his second goal of the game.
The home team then responded with a goal 13:06 into the third to cut the deficit to 5-3. Garret Clemment picked up his third tally of the season by sliding a puck through the legs of Bonar on a breakaway. Walsh notched his second point of the night with an assist, while Sean Flanagan tallied the secondary helper.
The visitors added an empty net goal from Vail with 1:44 remaining in the game to seal the 6-3 victory. With their sixth straight win in Greenville, the Gladiators improved to 27-26-1-2 and remain in third in the South Division with 57 points. Meanwhile, the Swamp Rabbits dropped to 20-29-3-1 on the season and sit in sixth in the division with 44 points.
Up next, Atlanta will travel to Toledo, OH for back-to-back games this weekend. The first game between the Gladiators and Walleye is scheduled for 7:15pm at the Huntington Center on Friday February 23rd.