ORLANDO, Fl. - The Gladiators concluded a three-game road trip Sunday afternoon against the Orlando Solar Bears at Amway Center. Sean Bonar made 35 saves to give his team and chance but a lack of offense by the Glads gave Orlando the 2-1 win.
The home team struck first in Atlanta’s fourth Sunday afternoon matinee of the season. It began with a takeaway at the Atlanta blue line. Hunter Fejes sparked the two-on-one break for Orlando. His snap-shot was stopped by goalie Sean Bonar, but the fortunate rebound landed on the blade of Mitch Hults’ stick. He buried a wide open, back-side shot to draw first blood at the 10:36 mark of the first period.
The Gladiators brought more pressure in the middle period, outshooting the Solar Bears 12-4 at one point in the period. Their valiant effort was snuffed out when Orlando doubled their lead. Dylan Fitze forced a sharp-angle shot on net that was stopped by Bonar. The rebound allowed Fitze a better chance, but he was again stifled by the Delta, BC native. On the third attempt, Fitze beat a diving Bonar to give the home team a 2-0 lead with just :16 seconds to play in the middle frame.
Atlanta’s defense led the way in the final period as they never relented again. The Gladiators drew within one goal after a flurry of chances on the offensive end. Vytal Cote’s blue line shot was redirected multiple times, finding Justin MacDonald, Nick Bligh, and Derek Nesbitt before crossing the goal line with 6:17 remaining in the game. Despite the pressure, Atlanta could not find the game-tying goal in the final minutes of regulation.
The Gladiators return home Wednesday night, December 19th at 7:35 pm as they host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the first game of a six-game homestand through the final week of the year.