For the first time in their fifteen-year history, the Atlanta Gladiators welcomed the Allen Americans to the Infinite Energy Arena on Tuesday night. After giving up a goal with less than a minute left, the Gladiators made a miraculous comeback to take the 3-2 shootout win.
After a scoreless opening frame, Atlanta tallied first to take the 1-0 lead 11:37 into the second period. Ben Danford corralled the puck at the near-side hash-mark in the offensive zone and sent a pass towards Colin Jacobs in the slot. The puck hit off the foot of the Texas native and redirected into the net for his seventh goal of the season. Stephen Pierog was credited with the secondary assist on the opening goal.
Just :56 seconds into the third period, Allen potted their first goal to knot the score at 1-1. Joel Chouinard picked up the puck deep in his defensive zone and forwarded a pass up the ice to Zach Pochiro. The former St. Louis Blues draft pick then carried the puck into the offensive zone on a two-on-one and sent a pass to Alex Guptill, who slipped a shot under the pad of Dan Vladar for his team-leading 19th goal of the season.
With only :22 seconds remaining in the game, Allen scored on a shot from the point to go ahead 2-1. Vincent Arseneau stole the puck on a breakout pass and whipped a shot into the top of the net for his 14th goal of the year.
The Gladiators then tied with just 0.4 seconds left in the game to tie the score at 2-2. Taylor Stefishen took a shot that hit the side of the net, but Luke Sandler collected the rebounded and snuck a shot into the net right before time expired. Brady Vail picked up the secondary assist on the tying goal.
After neither team was able to find the back of the net in overtime, Lindsay Sparks scored the game-winning-goal for the Gladiators in the sixth-round of the shootout to give Atlanta the 3-2 victory.
With the win on home ice, Atlanta improved to 25-23-1-2 and remain in third in the South Division with 53 points. Meanwhile, Allen dropped to 24-18-4-2 but still sit in fourth in the Mountain Division with 54 points.
Up next, Atlanta will hit the road for a divisional matchup against Jacksonville on Saturday night. The Gladiators and Icemen will face off at 7:30pm at the Veterans Memorial Arena on February 10th.