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Special Teams Roars to Life in Gladiators Win

November 25, 2021 - ECHL (ECHL) - Atlanta Gladiators News Release

DULUTH, Ga. - The Atlanta Gladiators (7-4-1-0) edged the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (5-7-0-0) by a score of 4-3 at Gas South Arena on the Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians Home Ice on Thursday night. Hugo Roy led the way for Atlanta with two goals, while Derek Topatigh and Tim Davison both provided two assists. The Gladiators converted on two power-play opportunities and also added a shorthanded goal.

Greenville jumped ahead early in the first period when Liam Pecararo intercepted a pass in the Atlanta zone and wrapped the puck around Gladiators goaltender Tyler Parks (0:51).

The Swamp Rabbits created a variety of scoring chances throughout the first period and were given a power play to end the frame. Shorthanded, Hugo Roy stole the puck at center ice for Atlanta and dashed ahead on a breakaway. Roy pulled the puck to his forehand and beat Greenville's Evan Fitzpatrick on the glove side to tie the game at 1-1 with almost no time remaining in the frame (19:59).

Atlanta carried the momentum into a power-play opportunity early in the second period. Captain Derek Nesbitt created a chance in front of the Greenville net, and Roy knocked in the rebound for his second goal of the night (3:27). The power-play tally marked the first goal in 18 man-advantage opportunities for Atlanta.

Special teams got back to work minutes later in the second when Mike Pelech rifled a shot into the top right corner of the net for a 3-1 Atlanta advantage (7:31).

With six-and-a-half minutes left in the second stanza, defenseman Derek Topatigh sent a puck towards the Greenville net. Parked in front of the near post, Gabe Guertler tipped the waist-high shot past Fitzpatrick to give the Gladiators a 4-1 lead (13:31).

Pecararo netted his second of the night early in the third to cut Atlanta's lead down to 4-2 (1:44).

Luke Nogard was assessed a double minor for a high stick on Greenville's Frank Hora late in the third, and Tim Davison was given a cross-checking minor moments later. The Swamp Rabbits pulled Fitzpatrick from the crease for a 6-on-3 advantage, and Diego Cuglietta tapped in his fourth goal of the season to make it a one-goal game (18:49).

With Greenville threatening again late in the third, Parks stood tall with several key saves, and defenseman Anthony Florentino sacrificed his body to block a last-second shot and seal a 4-3 Gladiators win. Parks finished the night with 42 saves on 45 shots.

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