Stingrays Win in Shootout, 2-1
DULUTH, Ga. - After coming back and tying up the game in the third period, the Gladiators (10-19-1-1) went into their first shootout of the season, and fell to their division rivals, the South Carolina Stingrays (17-11-1-4), 2-1. Sean Berkstresser scored the only Gladiator goal in regulation, and Mike Lee stopped 32 South Carolina shots on goal.
Despite the low score through regulation, the teams amped up the intensity as the night wore on, with three separate fights breaking out. John Mitchell and Joe Stejskal squared off midway through the first period. Sean Berkstresser challenged the pesky Marcus Perrier two periods later, and with just 21 seconds remaining in regulation, Eric Springer pulled Derek DuBlois in for one more battle. In all, 44 penalty minutes were called, with just three power plays called (Gwinnett was 1-for-2, South Carolina, 0-for-1.)
Following a scoreless, quiet first period, the second period appeared to follow suit, but with just over a minute remaining, the Stingrays broke through first at 18:47. After a save by Lee to his right, the puck kicked out to Scott Ford in the right faceoff circle, and the 11th-year pro slapped it in on the one-timer.
Down 1-0 entering the third, the Gladiators found momentum early in the period off of their power play. Tristin Llewellyn received the puck all alone on the offensive blue line, where he held onto it for a moment, readying his shot. Llewellyn ripped a shot directly on target, and the puck was deflected from the top of the crease by Sean Berkstresser.
Five minutes of overtime would not be enough to determine a winner of this game. For the first time this season, the Gladiators headed into a shootout against South Carolina.
Brandon Hynes was the first to tally a goal, as the "Rays second shooter. As the Gladiators fifth and potentially final shooter, Greg Carey kept the shutout alive by shooting one through Jeff Jakaitis. However, Braden Pimm locked in the win as the sixth Stingray in line.
In his first game back as a Gladiator, after being assigned to the AHL Portland Pirates, Mike Lee stopped 32 out of the 33 shots he faced across regulation and the shootout, while Jeff Jakaitis stopped 25 of 26 for the opposition.
The Gladiators will continue their homestand Saturday, January 10th as they once again face the South Carolina Stingrays for their eighth matchup of the season at 7:05 p.m. Bring the kids out Saturday for our annual Animation Night, featuring Scooby, SpongeBob, and other friends!
For tickets and schedule information, visit the official team website at www.gwinnettgladiators.com or call the main office line at 770-497-5100.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation's premier "AA" hockey league, and are affiliated with the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth - where parking is always free.
As Atlanta's "One and Only" professional hockey team, the Gladiators have established an extraordinary winning tradition and unrivaled commitment to excellence, maintaining a distinctive reputation for affordable and family-friendly sports entertainment. The Gladiators are consistently ranked as one of the top "Things To Do" in the Atlanta area and across the North Georgia region.
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