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Second Period Surge Leads Atlanta to 6-2 Victory in Cincinnati

Thursday, March 22nd
Second Period Surge Leads Atlanta to 6-2 Victory in Cincinnati

The Atlanta Gladiators hit the road for a two-game series with the Cincinnati Cyclones starting on Thursday night. A four-goal middle frame proved to be the difference for the Gladiators as they skated to a 6-2 victory in Chuck Weber’s return to Cincinnati at the U.S. Bank Arena.

Cincinnati opened the game’s scoring 6:06 into the first period. Eric Diodati skated the puck into the offensive zone on the rush and sent a behind the back pass to the center of the point. Alex Kile got the loose puck first and blasted a slap shot into the back of the net for his 13th goal of the season. Eric Knodel picked up the secondary assist on the goal that made the score 1-0.

Atlanta then responded to knot the score at 1-1 at the 14:49 mark of the opening frame. Davis Vandane fired the puck wide of the net from the point, but Branden Troock collected the rebound off the boards and sent a shot towards net. Jason Kasdorf made the pad save on the first shot, but Lindsay Sparks took the rebound and slipped the puck into the back of the net for his 14th goal of the year.

The Cyclones regained their lead just :27 seconds into the second period. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda carried the puck into the Gladiators zone and centered a pass to Justin Vaive. The Buffalo, NY native then lifted a shot over the blocker of Dan Vladar for his 28th goal of the year. Jesse Schultz notched the secondary helper on the tally.

Less than a minute later, Atlanta responded to tie the game at 2-2. Darby Llewellyn knocked the puck off the stick of a defender in the slot and sent a pass to Sparks. The Gladiators leader in points then wristed a shot that rang off the post and directed into the net for his second goal of the night.

The Gladiators then took their first lead of the game 3:40 into the middle frame. Troock found the puck on his stick after it ricocheted off the skates of a Cincinnati defender and sent a pass to the high-point. There, Joe Gatenby collected the puck and snapped a shot through traffic and into the back of the net for his first professional goal in his first game.

Just under two minutes later, Atlanta struck again to increase their lead to 4-2. Phil Lane knocked the puck loose in a battle on the far-side boards and directed it across the zone. Tanner Pond was first to the puck and sent a shot towards the net that was deflected into the goal by captain Derek Nesbitt. The goal was Nesbitt’s 13th of the season and came at the 5:33 mark of the second.

The Gladiators continued their second period onslaught with another goal at the 8:13 mark. Stephen Pierog intercepted a pass at his defensive blue line and directed a breakout pass up the ice. Sparks took the puck with speed and entered the offensive zone on a breakaway, where he made a backhand move to bury his third goal of the night and give Atlanta the 5-2 lead.

Phil Lane added an empty net goal for the Gladiators late in the third period to secure the 6-2 victory. With the deciding win on the road, Atlanta improved to 30-32-2-3 and remain in fourth in the South Division with 65 points. Meanwhile, Cincinnati dropped to 35-26-3-0 but still sit in third in the Central Division with 73 points.

Up next, the two teams will face off once again tomorrow night at the U.S. Bank Arena. The puck drop for the second of back-to-back games between the Gladiators and Cyclones is scheduled for 7:35pm on Friday.

Upcoming Home Games

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South Carolina Stingrays
Atlanta Gladiators
Sunday, March 10th
South Carolina Stingrays @ Atlanta Gladiators
Puck Drops:
3:00 PM EDT
Gas South Arena
South Carolina Stingrays
SC South Carolina Stingrays
at
Atlanta Gladiators
ATL Atlanta Gladiators
Gas South Arena
Toledo Walleye
Atlanta Gladiators
Sunday, March 17th
Toledo Walleye @ Atlanta Gladiators
Puck Drops:
3:00 PM EDT
Gas South Arena
Toledo Walleye
TOL Toledo Walleye
at
Atlanta Gladiators
ATL Atlanta Gladiators
Gas South Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
Atlanta Gladiators
Friday, March 22nd
Trois-Rivières Lions @ Atlanta Gladiators
Puck Drops:
7:30 PM EDT
Gas South Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
TR Trois-Rivières Lions
at
Atlanta Gladiators
ATL Atlanta Gladiators
Gas South Arena

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