Gladiators fall to Stingrays, 6-4
North Charleston, SC - Jeff Mason posted a pair of goals for the Gladiators but could not hold a late first period lead in a 6-4 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays on Firday night at the North Charleston Coliseum. Gwinnett falls to 26-27-6 on the season with the loss but remain in fourth place in the ECHL's South Division.
South Carolina took a 1-0 lead on the Gladiators on a goal by Spencer Carbery at 6:30 of the first period. Carbury was able to take a centering pass in the slot and then beat Gwinnett netminder Joe Fallon from point blank range for the marker. Travis Morin and Victor Dovgan had the assists as they set up the goal for the stingrays.
Gwinnett answered on the power play at 8:49 of the first period. Mason found a loose puck in the slot and flicked it past Stignrays netminder James Reimer for his 11 goal of the season. His 11 goals on the year ties a career high for the defenseman. Jean-Claude Sawyer and Pat Bateman had the assist on the goal for Gwinnett.
Keith Johnson regained the lead for the Stingrays. Johnson was able to slip down the right wing before ripping a slapshot from the top of the right wing circle that eluded Fallon to give South Carolina a 2-1 lead. Maxime Lacroix and Josh Godfrey collected helpers on the marker for South Carolina.
In his first game back with Gwinnett after being assigned from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, Matt Siddall tied the game at two. Working down the right wing, Siddall ripped a snapshot past Reimer on the power play for his 12th goal of the season. Adam Berti and Tom Zanoski set up Siddall on the goal at 16:48 of the first period for Gwinnett.
The Gladiators took their only lead of the game at 18:57 of the first period on Pat Bateman's 18th goal of the season. Bateman slipped through a pair of Stingrays defenesmen before rolling the puck around Reimer in the slot for the marker. Dirk Southern and Zanoski set up Bateman for the Gladiators goal.
South Carolina pulled back even with Gwinnett in the second period on the power play. Lacroix beat Fallon from point blank range out of a pile up in the slot for the goal. Godfrey and Morin each collected an assist for South Carolina on the goal at 3:30 of the second period.
Nikita Kashirsky pushed the Stingrays into the lead at 18:04 of the second period. Kashirsky was able to find a rebound in the right wing circle before ripping a snapshot past Fallon to give South Carolina a 4-3 lead. Godfrey had his third assist of the game on the goal while Pierre-Luc O'Brien also had a helper on the maker.
Gwinnett battled back in the third to tie the game at four on Mason's second goal of the game and his 12th of the year. Mason picked up a rebound in the right wing cirlce and beat an out of position Reimer for the goal. Bateman and Southern each picked up their second assist of the game on the goal at 1:06 of the third period for Gwinnett.
Carbury added his second goal of the game to give the Stingrays a 5-4 lead on the Gladiators at 5:40 of the third period. Patrick Wellar and Matt Scherer collected the assists on the go-ahead goal for South Carolina.
Shorthanded and with Fallon pulled in favor of an extra attacker, the Gladiators could not equalize the contest as south Carolina added an empty net goal to put the game away with just 26 seconds left in the third period. Jeff Corey had the empty net - power play goal for th Stingrays. Wellar and Kashirsky collected the assists on the goal for South Carolina.
In his first game since being reassigned from AHL Rockford, Fallon finished with 36 saves in the losing effort for Gwinnett. Both teams posted three power play goals on eight chances in the contest.
The Gladiators continue the 2008-09 season on Saturday, March 14th as they travel to Charlotte to take on the Charlotte Checkers at 4:05 p.m.
Began in 1988-89 with five teams playing in four states, the Premier AA' Hockey League has grown into a coast-to-coast league that will have 23 teams in 16 states and British Columbia playing 864 games from Oct. 17, 2008 to Apr. 4, 2009. Eighteen of the 23 teams have played at least five years in their current city.
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the ECHL averaged 4,174 per game last season, marking the fourth year in row and the 16th time in the last 18 years that the league has averaged over 4,000 fans. The league has drawn over four million fans each of the last five years and 11 times in the past 12 seasons.
The Gwinnett Gladiators open their sixth season as a proud member of the ECHL in October of 2008 - season ticket packages are on sale now. In addition, the Gladiators offer several unique multi-game ticket packages as well as discounted group rates, suite rentals, and birthday parties. For more information call 770-497-5100 or log on to gwinnettgladiators.com.
The Gladiators are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and play all home games at the spectacular 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, where parking is always free.
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