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Glads Strike Down Thunder in 5-4 OT Thriller

February 18, 2020 - ECHL (ECHL) - Atlanta Gladiators News Release

Atlanta Gladiators forward Eric Neiley (left) vs. the Adirondack Thunder
Atlanta Gladiators forward Eric Neiley (left) vs. the Adirondack Thunder
(Atlanta Gladiators)

DULUTH, GA - The Atlanta Gladiators took down the Adirondack Thunder 5-4 in overtime Tuesday night to gain ground in the ECHL South Division playoff race. Rookie Samuel Asselin gathered three points (2G, 1A) in the contest, including the game-winner in overtime to give Atlanta their 22nd win of the season.

The Glads began the weekday affair with a solid effort in the defensive zone, breaking up any chance the visitors had to establish a rhythm. It was Adirondack finally breaking through in the opening frame, when former Gladiators F Casey Pierro-Zabotel and F John Edwardh assisted F Matt Sulhany on his 18th goal of the year to give the Thunder the lead after twenty minutes.

Defense took a back seat in the middle period, as the teams combined for five goals in the second. The Glads got on the board when D Joel Messner found F Logan Nelson streaking through the neutral zone, springing a two-on-one opportunity. Nelson found his friend and fellow forward Anthony Collins to tie the game at one. Six and a half minutes into the period, Atlanta struck again. C Derek Nesbitt gathered the puck at the right halfboards before finding Asselin at the goal line. The skilled rookie zipped a pass through the goal crease before F Thomas Frazee buried the back-side chance to give the Glads a 2-1 lead.

With about 11:00 minutes to play in the second, Adirondack rebounded when F Nikita Popugaev netted his ninth goal of the campaign to tie the game at two. Frazee regained the lead once again for Atlanta when he routed a pass from D Josh Thrower across the goal line, confirmed by a replay review. Asselin kept the officials busy in the replay booth when F Scott Conway and Messner assisted him on a lightning-quick one-timer. Upon review, the score stood and Atlanta held a 4-2 advantage after forty minutes of play.

Eager to respond, the Thunder cut the lead in half just :31 seconds into the third frame. F Ludvig Larsson netted his third goal of the year on an unassisted tally. Just when it looked like Atlanta was regaining momentum, the Thunder struck again. D Michael Sdao and F Ara Nazarian found F Ryan Walker for his eighth goal of the season to tie the game at four with 13:47 to play in regulation. Despite the back-and-forth action, neither side claimed a game-winner within sixty minutes, sending the game to overtime.

It only took :34 seconds of three-on-three in the extra frame to decide the game's victor. After a face-off win in the offensive zone, the Thunder turned the puck over at the blue line. That allowed Asselin to fly into a breakaway with the game on his stick. He snuck the puck under Adirondack G Eamon McAdam to cap off the thrilling night with the overtime win.

The Gladiators return to home ice this weekend when they host the Orlando Solar Bears at 7:35 PM Friday and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 2:05 PM Sunday. Fans are encouraged to snag their tickets to Friday's OrthoAtlanta Health & Wellness Night and Sunday's Youth Sports Day today!

Images from this story

Atlanta Gladiators forward Eric Neiley (left) vs. the Adirondack Thunder
Atlanta Gladiators forward Eric Neiley (left) vs. the Adirondack Thunder


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