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Gladiators squander lead, lose to Lynx

AUGUSTA - The Gwinnett Gladiators gave up four power play goals in a 5-4 loss to the Augusta Lynx on Friday Night at the James Brown Arena in Augusta.

Gwinnett falls to 15-8-4 on the season in the loss.

Augusta took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal just 3:07 into the first period. B.J. Bittner slipped right though the Gladiators defense at the Gwinnett blue line before sliding the puck past Gladiators goaltender Dan Turple on a breakaway for the goal. Jamie Johnson and Nathan Saunders had the assists on the goal for the Lynx.

Gwinnett stormed back in the second period to take a 3-2 lead. The Gladiators used a pair of shorthanded goals to jump ahead of the Lynx. Colton Fretter posted the first goal of the period for Gwinnett as he finished a 2-on-1 shorthanded break with Brad Schell for the marker. Fretter slipped the puck past Augusta netminder Mike Brodeur at 4:52 into the second period for the goal.

Joel Stepp gave the Gladiators a 2-1 lead as he posted his eighth goal of the season for Gwinnett. Another shorthanded goal for the Gladiators, Stepp corralled a loose puck just inside the blue line and ripped a slapshot past Brodeur for the tally at 8:37 of the second period. Scott Lehman had an assist on the marker.

Gwinnett took a 3-1 lead on Fretter's second goal of the game and his 18th of the season as he punched the puck past Brodeur at the 12:19 mark of the second period. Schell again added an assist on the goal as he set up Fretter in the high slot for the tally.

Augusta got back within a goal with 4:05 left in the second period. Jamie Johnson cut the Gladiators lead to 3-2 as he posted the second power play goal of the game for the Lynx. Ryan Lang and Sean Blanchard hooked up to pick up the assists on the marker for Augusta.

Gwinnett took a 4-2 lead on Blue Bennefield's fifth goal of the season just over four minutes into the third period.

Taking a feed from Joel Stepp, Bennefield flipped the puck past Brodeur for the marker.

Augusta fought back to score three unanswered goals to post the 5-4 win over the Gladiators. Eric Lundberg posted the first goal for Augusta at the 11:02 mark of the third, ripping a shot past Turple for the goal. Lang collected an assist on the marker.

Bittner posted his second goal of the game on the power play at the 14:13 mark of the third period to tie the game at 4-4. Sliding into the slot, Bittner flipped the puck past Turple for the tally. Louis Goulet and Lundberg had the assists on the power play goal for Augusta.

Mike Erickson collected the game winner for the Lynx jamming the puck past Turple from point blank range in the slot less than a minute after Bittner's marker.

Taking a pass from Jamie Johnson behind the Augusta net, Erickson beat Turple for the game winning power play goal.

Turple finished with 20 saves for the Gladiators in the loss while Gwinnett posted two shorthanded goals and no power play goals, in the loss.

Augusta finished with four power play goals in the win on eight chances.