'Blades Offense Stifled in 2-1 Loss to Atlanta
ESTERO, Fla. - Nolan LaPorte and Luke Stork registered goals and Sean Bonar made 25 saves to give the Atlanta Gladiators a 2-1 win over the Florida Everblades on Friday night at Hertz Arena.
Florida (22-7-5-0, 49 pts.) scored first, but Atlanta (8-18-5-1, 22 pts.) had the final two scores of the night to snap an 18-game losing streak against the 'Blades and hand Florida its first home loss in 13 games.
Florida broke the scoreless tie at 5:18 of the second period on Blake Winiecki's ninth goal of the season. On a rush led by Justin Auger and Winiecki, the 'Blades rushed into the Gladiators zone on a two-on-one. As Auger got to the right circle, he sent a tape-to-tape pass to Winiecki who one-timed past the blocker of Bonar for the goal. The assist for Auger extended his point streak to six games.
The Gladiators answered back at 12:04 of the second with a power-play goal from LaPorte to tie the game. A David Mazurek pass from the point found Joel Messner at the bottom of the left circle. LaPorte then picked up a loose puck in the right circle fired a shot past a sliding Phillips for the tally.
Atlanta took its first lead of the game a few minutes later at 15:12 of the period when a pass from Derek Nesbitt found Stork in the slot for a shot that beat Phillips on the blocker side.
The 'Blades spent the majority of the third period in the Gladiators' end, outshooting the Gladiators 10-3 in the final frame. Florida pulled Phillips for an extra attacker with 1:40 to play but was unable to put one past Bonar.
Phillips stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced in his first home loss of the season.
Florida wraps up the first of two straight weekends at home with the series finale against the Gladiators on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
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