Gladiators Season Ends with Overtime Loss to Florida
For the second times in as many nights, the Atlanta Gladiators took the ice at the Infinite Energy Arena for a matchup with the Florida Everblades in the South Division Semifinals. Atlanta battled their way to overtime with Florida before the Everblades notched an early OT goal to end the Gladiators season.
After neither team was able to find the back of the net in the opening frame, Atlanta struck at the 8:30 mark of the second period to take a 1-0 lead. Taylor Doherty intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and directed a pass up to Darby Llewellyn. The rookie forward then broke into the offensive zone and sent a saucer-pass to the slot, where Tanner Pond knocked the puck through the legs to Martin Ouellette for his first professional playoff goal.
The Everblades then knotted the game at 1-1 just 3:30 into the third period. Spencer Smallman skated the puck out of his defensive zone and sent a pass across the ice to David Dziurzynski. The Lloydminster, AB native brought the puck into the offensive zone and tapped a pass forward to Justin Kea, who took a few strides before he lined a shot into the back of the net for his second goal of the postseason.
Just over :30 seconds of playing time later, the Gladiators responded to take a 2-1 lead. Joe Gatenby was credited with the first playoff goal of his professional career after he took a wrist shot from the point that slid past the pad of Ouellette. Ryan Lannon added his name to the scoresheet with an assist on the play, while Pond doubled his point total for the night with the secondary helper.
Florida tallied to make the score 2-2 and tie the game once again at the 9:17 mark of the third. Smallman forced a turnover on the near side boards and chipped the puck back to the point. There, Matt Mackenzie collected the loose puck and faked a shot before he delivered a pass to Kea, who fired a shot from the slot that fluttered past Sean Bonar for his second of the game.
With the score still even after sixty minutes of play, the teams headed to overtime to decide a winner. At the 1:48 mark of the overtime period, John McCarron potted home a power play goal on their eighth man-advantage opportunity of the contest to give Florida the victory, and the 4-0 series win.
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