Slow Start Halts Glads in 3-2 Loss to Norfolk
The Gladiators continued their five-game road trip in Norfolk, VA for a South Division showdown with the Admirals. Despite a 37 save performance from Dan Vladar in net, a slow start cost the visitors who ultimately fell 3-2 to the Admirals Friday night.
Norfolk opened up the game's scoring 9:09 into the first period. Patrick D'Amico corralled the puck behind the Glads' net and sent a pass to the slot to a wide-open Chase Harrison. The defender fired a shot that was stopped by Atlanta goalie, Dan Vladar but slipped behind him near the goal-line. Darik Angeli rushed to the loose puck and slammed the puck into the goal for his 22nd tally on the campaign.
The home-side doubled their lead with a strike 5:45 into the middle frame. Domenic Alberga sent a cross-ice pass to Alex Pompeo who riffled a one-timer past Vladar's blocker to give the Admirals the 2-0 lead. Angeli received credit for the secondary assist giving him a multi-point night.
The Gladiators cut the lead in half with a mark 8:10 into the second period. Phil Lane collected a pass from Stephen Pierog in the corner. The former Arizona Coyotes draft pick then skated into the slot and whistled a shot past the glove of Norfolk's goalie, Ty Reichenbach, for his 27th goal of the season.
Just :40 seconds later Atlanta got the score back to even. Pierog sent a pass across the middle of his offensive zone that found Ryan Lannon speeding towards the back post. The 35-year-old one-timed the puck between the legs of Reichenbach for his third tally of the season. Derek Nesbitt earned his first point of the game with the second helper on the tying goal.
With the teams tied at two in the third period, Norfolk was awarded a late power play and connected to take the 3-2 lead. Brodie Dupont took a slap shot from the far circle that was stopped by Vladar but trickled behind him. In an attempt to clear the puck away, the disc went in off a Gladiator to give Norfolk the lead again with just over four minutes remaining in the game.
Atlanta had some good looks late but were unable to score the equalizer and dropped the contest to the Admirals, 3-2. With their third straight loss the Gladiators dropped to 27-29-1-2 and remained at 57 points and in fourth place in the South Division. Norfolk earned their 22 win of the year and pulled to within seven points of the Gladiators in the standings.
Up next, the Gladiators will battle with the same Admirals at the Norfolk Scope Arena at 7:00pm tomorrow night.
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