Glads Lose Late Lead in Weekend Finale
ESTERO, Fla. - The Atlanta Gladiators (20-15-2-1) fell 3-2 to the Florida Everblades (20-11-3-3) at Hertz Arena on Saturday night. The Glads led 2-1 into the third period, but the Blades tabbed a couple of late goals to sneak past Atlanta.
BOX SCORE Highlights of Atlanta's 3-2 loss to Florida First Star: Nathan Perkovich (FLA) - game-winning goal
Second Star: Avery Peterson (FLA) - shorthanded goal
Third Star: Gabe Guertler (ATL) - power-play goal
Florida struck first when a bouncing puck found Blake Winiecki, and the league's leading point scorer knocked it into the net after a scramble in front of Atlanta goaltender Chris Nell (6:16).
The Gladiators went on to bag two shorthanded goals to finish out the first period. Two of the ECHL's best shorthanded players, Cody Sylvester and Mike Pelech, got to work with eight-and-a-half minutes left in the second. Sylvester stole the puck at neutral ice and then fed Pelech in front to tie the game at 1-1 (11:34). The goal gave Pelech 605 ECHL points for his career, tying him for seventh all-time with Wes Goldie.
Gabe Guertler bagged Atlanta's second shortie after dangling around Florida goaltender Tomas Vomacka for his 11th tally of the season (14:13). Mitchell Hoelscher started the play and picked up an assist to give him points in his first six Gladiators games.
The winds changed in the third period when Avery Peterson stepped ahead on a shorthanded breakaway for Florida and tied the game at 2-2 (12:22).
Towards the end of regulation, the Everblades took a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal from Nathan Perkovich (18:49).
The Glads could not answer back and fell 3-2. Nell finished his night with 28 saves on 31 shots.
The Gladiators take the ice next on Friday against the Jacksonville Icemen (21-9-2-1) at 7:30 PM at Gas South Arena.
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