Stingrays Blank Gladiators in Season Finale
The Gwinnett Gladiators played host, for the final game of the 2009-10 season, against South Division rival South Carolina Stingrays in front of 5,995 fans in the Arena at Gwinnett Center Saturday night. Still in the race for the number one seed, South Carolina came out ready to play and blanked the Gladiators 3-0. The loss marked the fifth consecutive for the Gladiators; a disappointing ending to the season.
The Stingrays got off to a quick start with 10 Shots in the first 9 minutes of the game, but Gladiators' goaltender David Brown stopped every single shot thrown at him. However, at 16:54 of the first period the Stingrays lit up the scoreboard when Gregg Johnson roofed a shot above David Brown to make it 1-0. Just 11 seconds later, South Carolina tallied another goal off the stick of Derek Keller. The Gladiators managed only four shots on goal in the first period.
The Stingrays continued the scoring at 10:34 of the second period on a defensive breakdown by Gwinnett and some fancy stick work from Dylan Yeo, making the score 3-0. Much of the second period was highlighted by some big hits from both teams and some excellent goaltending by Gladiators goalie David Brown, who stopped 11 of 12 shots. Brown made several spectacular saves to keep the game in reach for the Gladiators. The Gladiators were held to only 2 shots on goal in the second period, despite having several opportunities to score.
In the third period, South Carolina's defense clamped down on the Gladiators, breaking up every chance the Gladiators had. Again, the Stingrays held the Gladiators to four shots in the final period, giving Gwinnett a game total of 10 shots on goal. South Carolina finished with a total of 35 shots. This was the second time all season that Gladiators were shutout, the only other occurrence came back on February 19 against the same South Carolina Stingrays.
Only six penalty minutes were given out during the game. The Gladiators killed off the only power play in the first period on a Phil Youngclaus hooking penalty at 1:53.
David Brown stopped 32 of 35 shots, while Beau Erickson, a University of Connecticut product, stopped 10 of 10 shots for South Carolina, earning his first professional shutout. It was the fewest number of shots by the Gladiators all season, and just two more than the league's season low of eight by Trenton.
The loss leaves the Gladiators with a final record of 31-33-5-3. This was the second straight season the Gladiators finished below .500 and the first time in history the Gladiators will not be in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
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