DULUTH - Guillaume Desbiens and Scott Mifsud each scored two goals as the Gwinnett Gladiators swamped Pensacola 7-4 on Tuesday night at the Arena at Gwinnett
Desbiens, a rookie right wing on an Atlanta Thrashers contract, hadn't scored yet this season. He remedied that - in spades - on Tuesday, with a pair of goals and an assist on the power play.
"It was my sixth game and I didn't score yet," said an exuberant Desbiens, who had 27 goals last year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. "I just wanted to put one in. I scored and the team scored well right after. We took the lead and never looked back."
It was the third straight win for the Gladiators and moved them into sole possession of second place in the South Division with a 6-1-1 record.
"We played really well," head coach Jeff Pyle said. "We're scoring goals.
"We're making some mistakes, but at this point ... I can nitpick, but it's not anything that makes a big difference.
"It's a good win. Right now, early, win your home games, take the pressure off yourself. We're sitting right where we want to be sitting."
Gwinnett was rolling from the get-go, firing away at goaltender Todd Ford.
The Gladiators outshot Pensacola 21-4 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Gorgeous tic-tack-toe passing on the power play beat Ford at 15:09 of the first period. Ryan Fultz, near the top of the circle, snapped the puck to Jeff Campbell, hanging out to Ford's left behind the goal line. Campbell didn't hesitate, dishing it to Desbiens in the slot. Desbiens unloaded immediately on Ford and picked up his first goal of the season.
Mifsud's second professional tally seemed to spark the offensive blitzkrieg for Gwinnett.
The rookie forward was the recipient of a sweet centering feed from Derek Nesbitt in the corner and tucked the puck under Ford at 8:51.
Desbiens second power-play goal of the night came less than two minutes later, at 10:48 of the second period.
Desbiens' deflected a shot over Ford's shoulder for the 3-0 lead and Pascal Pelletier put Pensacola in a deep hole with a short-handed tally at 14:56.
But Gwinnett got a little sloppy with the 4-0 lead and the Ice Pilots scored twice in 51 seconds to make it 4-2.
"It's kind of hard to keep going really hard when you're up by four goals," Desbiens said. "They scored some goals in the second, but we came back in the third."
Fields was back on his game in the third - and good thing, too, because the Ice Pilots were doing their level best to get even. Fields came up with several impressive saves in the first five minutes of the period and his offense afforded the netminder more than enough breathing room after that initial burst from
Mifsud scored at 5:21 and the Gladiators buried Pensacola on goals by Jeff Campbell and defenseman Danny Eberly.
"Everybody's going well, all the lines are playing well," Desbiens said. "We just have to be careful when we take the lead to make sure we keep it."
Gwinnett finished 3-for-12 on the power play and outshot the Pilots 51-25.