GREENVILLE, SC - The Atlanta Gladiators came up short in a 6-5 contest Friday night against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Tommy Marchin led the Glads with two goals, but the scrappy road team could not overcome two separate three-goal deficits.
Greenville's Cedric Lacroix opened the scoring with a blue-line shot less than three minutes into the contest. Sam Asselin and Eric Neiley aided Marchin in his first tally that leveled the game later in the opening frame. From that point, it was the home team that dictated the play. The Swamp Rabbits ripped off three goals in a three-minute span, including capitalizing on a power play and snagging a short-handed score. Down three goals at the first intermission, Glads head coach Jeff Pyle pulled G Sean Bonar in favor of the newly-acquired Martin Ouellette.
Only :22 seconds into the second period, the Glads showed their closest South Division rival they would not go down without a fight. Marchin sniped a wrist shot from the slot to bring Atlanta back within striking distance. Greenville responded with a tally of their own from Michael Pelech to extend the lead to 5-2. A long-range blast from D Zach Malatesta brought Atlanta closer yet again in the closing minutes of the second period. A tally from the team's scoring leader, Scott Conway, early in the third period rejuvinated an Atlanta squad that battled through adversity most of the night. Once again, the Swamp Rabbits had a response. In the face of oppressive momentum by the Gladiators, Kamerin Nault chipped a backhand shot past Ouellette to extend Greenville's lead to 6-4 with 14:03 to play in regulation.
Despite the deficit, Atlanta battled to within one again. Derek Nesbitt sparked a two-on-one breakaway on the penalty kill, feeding Joel Messner for the fifth Atlanta goal of the night. The final push would not find a tying goal in the waning minutes, as the Gladiators dropped their first game since opening night.
Atlanta renews the rivalry with the Swamp Rabbits in Greenville Saturday evening at 7:05 PM. The Gladiators return home on Sunday, November 3rd at 2:05 PM with an exciting array of promotions: the Dia de los Muertos bobblehead giveaway, a limited edition long sleeve shirt commerorating the day, and a VIP meet and greet experience with a select number of Atlanta United FC players. Get your tickets today by clicking here!