The Atlanta Gladiators traveled to the Huntington Center on Friday evening as they matched up with the Toledo Walleye for the second time this season. Despite getting on the board late in the game, Atlanta was unable to close the gap as they fell to Toledo on Friday night by a score of 3-1.
The Walleye opened the scoring 7:22 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead. A.J. Jenks collected the puck behind the Atlanta net and sent a backhand pass to Shane Berschbach in the slot. The Western Michigan University graduate then directed the puck across to Tyler Barnes, who flipped the puck over the glove of Dan Vladar for his 13th goal of the year.
Toledo then struck on the power play 3:41 into the middle frame to take a 2-0 lead. Davis Vandane held the puck at the near-side boards and sent a pass to Barnes behind the goal-line. The Burnsville, MN native then one-touched a pass to Dylan Sadowy in the slot, where he fired shot into the net for his seventh tally of the season.
Atlanta cut their deficit to 2-1 just 3:45 into the third period. After Phil Lane had the puck roll off his stick on the breakaway, Lindsay Sparks picked up the rebound and attempted to send a pass to the slot. Instead, the puck bounced off the boards and slid to Taylor Doherty at the point, where he blasted a shot past Pat Nagle for his sixth goal of the campaign.
The home side retook their two-goal lead with 4:02 remaining in the third period. Kyle Bonis collected the puck off a turnover in the corner and sent a pass to the middle of the zone. Patrick McCarron then got the puck and wristed a shot over the pad of Vladar to make the score 3-1 in favor of Toledo.
Unable to come back from the early deficit, Atlanta dropped to 27-27-1-2 with the loss and remain in third in the South Division with 57 points. Meanwhile, Toledo improved to 35-14-2-2 with the home win and jumped into first in the Central Division with 74 points.
Up next, the Gladiators and Walleye will match up for the final time this season tomorrow night at the Huntington Center. Puck drop between Atlanta and Toledo is scheduled for 7:30pm on Saturday.