DULUTH, GA - The Atlanta Gladiators edged the Indy Fuel 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Infinite Energy Arena to stop a two-game losing skid. D Joel Messner launched a shot from the blue line in the third period that lifted the Glads to their sixth win of the season to cap off a four-games-in-four-days stretch.
Atlanta opened the contest with a fiery attitude in the defensive zone, something that had been lacking in recent games. Despite the great effort, the visiting Fuel struck first when Graham Knott made the Glads pay for their inability to clear the puck. The Glads' offense finally took shape in the latter minutes of the opening frame. D Chris Forney found D Cody Corbett for a blue line shot that rebounded to D Zach Malatesta. His backhand shot beat Indy G Charles Williams to tie the game. Roughly two minutes later, the home team struck again. Malatesta assist F Tommy Marchin for the second Atlanta goal of the night to give the Glads a 2-1 advantage at the first intermission.
A fiesty and defensive second period was busted open when F Anthony Collins hustled to a puck being played behind the net by the Fuel netminder. New G Chase Marchand was ambushed by Collins, who passed towards the open net-front. The puck skittered to F Avery Peterson, and his put-back extended the Atlanta lead with 13:02 to play in the middle frame. A defensive mishap allowed Indy F Dylan McLaughlin to bring the visitors to within one before the second break.
The Fuel opened the third period with :30 seconds on a power play remaining after a too-many-men penalty in the second. McLaughlin and F Spencer Watson assisted F Matthew Thompson on the game-tying goal just :19 into the final stanza. Despite a physical affair, the Gladiators did not see their first man advantage until 11:00 to play in regulation. The puck found Glads captain Derek Nesbitt in the far-side corner before he dished to Messner at the top of the point. The Lorette, Manitoba native launched a slapshot that found the back of the net with 10:52 to play. Atlanta's stingy defense, led by G Sean Bonar's 34-save performance, held on to secure the victory.
Atlanta next takes the ice Friday evening when they visit the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 7:00 PM. The Gladiators return home on Saturday evening, when they host the Jacksonville Icemen at 7:05 PM. November 23rd is also Joker vs. Batman Night at Infinite Energy Arena! Be sure to secure your tickets and wear your favorite gear for the costume contest.