The Atlanta Gladiators (12-15-0-0) scored twice in the third period to erase a deficit and had the only tally in a shootout after a scoreless overtime to defeat the South Carolina Stingrays (21-2-3-1) by a final score of 4-3 Thursday night at the Infinite Energy Center.
The Stingrays scored all three of their goals in the second period with tallies by forwards Andrew Cherniwchan, Cam Askew and Matthew Weis. South Carolina has now earned at least a point in 14 consecutive games with a record of 10-0-3-1 since Nov. 22. Despite taking the loss in the shootout, goaltender Parker Milner stayed unbeaten in regulation this season, stopping 29 shots in the contest.
Nick Bligh gave the Gladiators an early lead, scoring on a redirect in front of the net at 6:19 of the opening frame to make it 1-0 Atlanta.
The Glads held on to their advantage for the remainder of the first, but Cherniwchan changed things quickly at the start of the second. The captain scored off the period’s opening face-off with a spin move and a high backhand shot just 15 seconds into the frame to even the game at 1-1 from forward Cole Ully and defender Tommy Hughes.
Then at 4:09, forward Cam Askew cashed in on his fourth goal of the season after leading a rush into the offensive end. His shot was initially stopped but the rebound glanced past the goal line off an Atlanta defender. After a review, the goal was confirmed and came with assists for forwards Tim Harrison and Jonathan Charbonneau.
Matthew Weis made it 3-1 South Carolina with just 18 seconds left in the second period, also scoring with a bounce off an Atlanta defender after catching up to a long pass out of the Rays’ zone by defenseman Tariq Hammond.
But the Gladiators worked their way back into the game during the final frame and kept the Rays on their heels. First Samuel Asselin scored to cut the SC lead down to 3-2 at 7:09 before Eric Neiley tied the game at 3-3 with a power play goal at 14:31.
A hooking penalty to Rays’ defenseman Tom Parisi gave the Glads more chances to score during overtime, but Milner kept the game going by making six stops in the extra session.
Of the six forwards who got a chance during the shootout, Asselin was the lone attacker to find the back of the net.
Goaltender Chris Nell made 30 saves to take the victory for Atlanta in his first game with the team. The Gladiators were 1-for-4 on the power play in the game, while SC finished at 0-for-3 on the man-advantage. Each club finished with 33 shots on net in the contest.
NEXT GAMEThe Stingrays and Gladiators meet once again on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Infinite Energy Center. South Carolina is back at home in North Charleston on Dec. 28 for a matchup with Orlando at 6:05 p.m.