JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Atlanta Gladiators could not stand up to the scoring barrage of the hosting Jacksonville Icemen Friday night, and fell 7-3 in the contest. Jacksonville F Mike Hedden tallied five points (1G, 4A) and led the way in Jacksonville's third win of the season.
After a slow, defensive start, the Icemen ripped off the first five goals of the contest from five different skaters. Hedden, Garret Ross, Maxime Fortier, Chase Lang, and Brendan Warren each found the back of the net over a 16-minute stretch from the end of the first period to the early parts of the second. Atlanta finally got off the mat with 9:00 to play in the middle frame. D Joel Messner sent a shot into the crease that was redirected by F Luke Nogard and by Jacksonville G Adam Carlson.
Fortier would strike again for Jacksonville less than five minutes later to reclaim the five-goal advantage. F Logan Nelson struck for the Gladiators, thanks to assists from F Dante Hannoun and F Tommy Marchin, with less than three minutes to play in the second period. F Nick Bligh continued his scoring ways against Jacksonville when he slotted the puck by Carlson with 11:32 to play in the game. Atlanta could not generate enough offense down the stretch to overcome the early deficit. D Graeme Craig added the seventh and final score for the home team with 4:34 to play and Jacksonville would cruise to the home win.
The Gladiators return to Infinite Energy Arena Saturday evening when they host the Florida Everblades at 7:05 PM. Fans can still secure their doubleheader tickets to also see Fort Bragg and Fort Benning club hockey teams square off in a charity game at 2:30 PM as a part of Heroes Night. Any fans with tickets to Saturday night's game that would like to attend the 2:30 PM game are asked for a $5 donation that benefits the Veteran's Empowerment Organization.
Atlanta hosts the Indy Fuel on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 PM, and hosts the favorite characters of many boys and girls on Princess and Pirates Day. Kids of all ages can meet some of their favorites like Anna, Elsa, Moana, Captain Hook, and more by securing a spot in the character luncheon at 11:30 AM.