DULUTH, GA - The Atlanta Gladiators rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Norfolk Admirals 4-2 in their first meeting with the EC South Division rival on Wednesday night. Tommy Marchin had another stellar night, gathering points in the seventh contest in a row, to lead Atlanta to their fourth straight victory on the eve of Thanksgiving.
Coming to Infinite Energy Arena after winning three of their last four games, the visiting Admirals had a noticeable pep in their step. They notched a 4-2 win Tuesday night in Orlando and, despite being on the second night of a back-to-back, punched the Gladiators in the mouth in the first twenty minutes. D Brayden Sherbinin tapped in a shot that was initially saved by Atlanta G Dan Vladar just ove three minutes into the contest. The Gladiators continued to sputter offensively, allowing Norfolk to dictate the pace. F Roman Ammirato found Zach Franko for the second Admirals' goal of the night with 7:21 to play in the opening frame. The Glads went to the first intermission trailing by the same deficit.
Atlanta opened the middle period on a power play, looking to get their high-powered offense going. They entered the night third in the ECHL on the man-advantage, and it was Marchin with a nifty pass from the edge of the goal crease to find captain Derek Nesbitt open below the backside face-off dot. The veteran's one-time shot cut the Norfolk lead in half and energized the Glads. Atlanta was not able to capitalize on the momentum until nearly thirteen minutes later.
F Dante Hannoun found F Eric Neiley streaking into the offensive zone, creating a two-on-one break with Marchin. Neiley feathered the puck between a defender's legs to find Marchin before Norfolk G Alex Sakellaropoulos made an extraordinary save. Neiley's tenacity paid off as his second effort shuffled the puck below the goalie and leveled the game at two with 6:32 to play in the middle frame. With less than three minutes to play in the period, it was the Gladiators' top scoring threats that connected for the go-ahead tally. Marchin netted his team-leading 9th goal of the season after a feed from Hannoun and Atlanta led 3-2 at the second break.
The Glads' defense, with help from Vladar between the pipes, shut down the Admirals in the final frame. It was newcomer Jake Randolph snagging his first Atlanta goal in the waning minutes to salt the game away. The victory extends the Glads' season-high winning streak to four games.
The Gladiators return to Infinite Energy Arena after the holiday on Friday evening when they host the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 7:35 PM. Friday is Zombie Night, which includes a myriad of promotional efforts. It is the first $5 Frenzy of the season, as fans can get a zombie t-shirt while supplies last. Fans can also meet WWE star Xavier Woods and actor Matt Mangum from The Walking Dead. Other events include a costume contest, face painting, and much more. Secure your tickets today!