The Atlanta Gladiators completed a stretch of three games in three days with a matchup against the Orlando Solar Bears at the Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday night. A strong offensive showing from the visitors, including five skaters with a multi-point game, made the difference as Orlando took the 6-0 win.
Orlando would strike first just 3:44 into the opening frame. Jeff King collected a pass from J.J. Piccinich in the neutral zone and carried the puck deep where he circled around the Atlanta defense. King then found Josh Winquist open in the slot, where he fired a shot that hit off the post and then redirected off the back of Gladiators goalie Sean Bonar to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Solar Bears then doubled their lead to 2-0 with 5:35 left in the first period. Kristian Pospisil took possession of the puck at the near-side hash marks after an interception and centered a pass to Max Novak in the slot. The third-year pro then wired a shot that beat Bonar on the blocker side for his 13th goal of the year.
Just 1:39 into the second period, Orlando struck again to increase their lead to 3-0. Piccinich brought the puck into the offensive zone and left a drop pass off the boards to Winquist. The St. Albert, AB native then wristed a shot towards goal that hit off the skate of a defender and redirected into the net for his second goal of the game. Mike Monfredo tallied the secondary assist on the play.
The visitors netted their second power play goal of the game at the 15:43 mark of the middle frame to take a 4-0 lead. Hunter Fejes was credited with his 22nd goal of the year after he tried to make a pass that instead hit off the skate of a defender and slid into the back of the net. Both Pospisil and Monfredo picked up their second point of the contest on the special teams goal.
Orlando scored their third power play goal just 1:30 into the third period to take a 5-0 lead. Piccinich continued his strong night and netted his third point of the game with a shot from the far circle that hit off a defender and went in. Monfredo and Pospisil were awarded another assist on the play.
Less than a minute of playing time later, the Solar Bears scored once again to go up 6-0. Martins Dzierkals tallied the goal after his shot from the slot sailed over the pad of Dan Vladar to light the lamp. Chris Crane added his name to the scoresheet with the primary assist, while Novak picked up the secondary helper.
Unable to take their third victory straight, Atlanta dropped to 24-23-1-2 but remain in third in the South Division with 51 points. Meanwhile, Orlando improved to 20-20-5-1 with the road win and jumped to fourth in the division with 46 points.
Up next, Atlanta will take the rest of the weekend off before they play host to Allen on Tuesday evening. The matchup between the Gladiators and Americans is scheduled for 7:05pm at the Infinite Energy Arena on February 6th.