The Atlanta Gladiators completed their four-game homestand on Monday evening as they welcomed the South Carolina Stingrays to the Infinite Energy Arena. The visitors made a late comeback to take the 3-2 shootout victory.
South Carolina opened the scoring 16:22 into the first period to take the 1-0 lead. Jake Kamrass stole the puck off a defender’s stick behind the Atlanta net and centered a pass towards the crease. Steven Whitney collected the feed as he stood open in the slot and then took a couple strides to the left where he zipped a shot past Dan Vladar for his 18th goal of the year.
Atlanta brought the score even at 1-1 at the 12:17 mark of the second period. Drew Baker hustled to the boards and kept the puck in the zone at the blue line. The defender then wrapped a pass around the corner to Luke Sandler behind the net. There, Sandler fought through a check and knocked the puck to the front of the net where Taylor Stefishen chopped a shot over the shoulder of Parker Milner for his sixth goal of the season.
The Gladiators then capitalized on a power play at the 14:01 mark of the middle frame to take a 2-1 lead. Phil Lane received a pass in the slot and faked a shot before twisting a pass back to Branden Troock. The Edmonton, AB native then sent a one-touch pass across the zone to Derek Nesbitt, who blasted in a one-timer for his 12th tally of the campaign.
The Stingrays knotted the score at 2-2 with 10:21 remaining in the third period. Whitney carried the puck down the near-side boards in his offensive zone and sent a pass to the center of the slot. Joey Leach corralled the pass between the hash marks and fired a shot past Vladar for his fifth tally of the year. Joe Devin notched the secondary assist on the tying goal.
With the score tied after regulation, the teams headed to overtime. After neither team capitalized in the extra frame, the game went to a shootout.
After all three Gladiator shots were stopped by Milner, Steven Whitney stepped on the ice with a chance to win the game for the visitors. The Michigan State product made no mistake with a wrist shot top-shelf over Vladar to secure the road victory.
Unable to stop the Stingrays in their final matchup of the season, Atlanta dropped to 29-32-2-3 but remain in fourth in the South Division with 63 points. Meanwhile, South Carolina improved to 40-15-6-1 with the road victory and sit in second in the division with 87 points.
Up next, Atlanta will hit the road for a two-game series with Cincinnati on Thursday and Friday. The puck drop for the first game between the Gladiators and Cyclones is scheduled for 7:35pm at the U.S. Bank Arena on March 22nd.