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Rays and Shine: Glads top SC as point streak reaches five

Wednesday, February 26th
Rays and Shine: Glads top SC as point streak reaches five

N. CHARLESTON, SC – The Atlanta Gladiators rallied to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays in Wednesday’s Education Day contest that commenced at 10:30 AM. The Gladiators rallied from a 2-0 first period deficit before F Eric Neiley registered the fifth Atlanta hat trick of the season to rally the visitors.

The ECHL South Division leaders welcomed Atlanta into the North Charleston Coliseum for the second time in the last week, after the Glads fell short in a 5-4 shootout loss on Saturday night. The Stingrays jumped to an early advantage after Atlanta committed a tripping penalty just shy of the six-minute mark. Only :09 seconds into the man-advantage, D Kristofers Bindulis and F Max Novak assisted F Cameron Askew on his 10th goal of the season to take the 1-0 lead. Despite being outshot in the first period, the Glads looked to see out the opening frame with a one-goal deficit. With 2:05 to play in the first, F Steve Whitney found D Jesse Lees before he fed F Alec Marsh for the second South Carolina goal of the opening frame.

From that point on, the visiting Gladiators outshot the ‘Rays 24 to 13. G Sean Bonar, making his first start since December 21st, stood tall behind the rejuvenated Glads’ defense. Atlanta’s luck began to turn later in the middle frame, when F Samuel Asselin and F Luke Nogard combined to find Neiley to get the visitors on the board with 5:17 to play in the second. Just over two minutes later, the team’s point leader struck again. Neiley expertly batted down an attempted South Carolina pass at the left halfboards before gathering the puck near the face-off dot. His wristshot beat G Parker Milner for the second time to knot the game at two before the second intermission.

In a tense third period, it was the streaking Gladiators that inched ahead. Nogard and Asselin teamed up again on a puck stolen in the neutral zone. The team’s leading goal scorer took the puck below the right face-off circle and into Milner’s goal crease before dishing across to Neiley. The assistant captain buried the chance to give Atlanta their first lead after video review confirmation. The Glads’ defense clamped down for the final minutes as the Stingrays emptied their net.

The victory is Atlanta’s fourth in the last five games, and the fifth straight game with a point earned. They pull within two points of Greenville for the fourth and final ECHL South Division playoff spot. The Gladiators return to home ice this Friday night when they host the Orlando Solars Bears at 7:35 PM for the first night of Hockey Fights Cancer Weekend.  Fans can secure $19 premium seats for the rest of the season here!

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