0

Gladiators rally for win in Florida

ESTERO, Fla. - Scotty Bowman, the greatest coach in NHL history and arguably professional sport, came to watch them but the Florida Everblades couldn't pull out another late-game comeback against the ECHL South Division-leading Gwinnett Gladiators on Saturday.

The Gladiators scored three third-period goals and held on to beat the Blades 4-2 in front of 7,356 at Germain Arena. The defeat snapped Florida's four-game winning streak. The Blades (34-17-3), who overcame a third-period deficit to beat the Gladiators in a shootout Friday night, now trail Gwinnett (35-12-7) by six points for first place in the ECHL South.

Gladiators defenseman Matt York scored the game-winner with 16:19 left in the third period. Center Scott Kelman fed York just outside the crease and York wrapped a shot around Blades goalie Kevin Nastiuk.

York tucked a shot inside the right post as Nastiuk dove for the puck. Nastiuk stayed face-down on the ice for a few moments as the Gladiators celebrated. Gwinnett forward Guillaume Desbiens added an empty-net goal with four seconds left.

The Blades lost Saturday's game because of a poor third period. Gwinnett outshot Florida 15-9 in the third period. Gwinnett outshot Florida 35-34 for the game. The Gladiators also went 2-for-3 on the power play in the third period and finished 2-for-6. The Blades, meanwhile, finished 1-for-5 on the man-advantage.

Florida had several quality chances to tie the game in the third period but couldn't break through on goalie Sean Fields (32 saves). Fields stuffed a Dan Sisca breakaway with 3:40 left.

Defenseman John Awe scored a power-play goal 42 seconds into the third period to give the Gladiators a 2-1 lead. Awe, whose club has the ECHL's top-ranked power play, fired a slap shot from the right point. The puck zipped over Blades goalie Kevin Nastiuk's right shoulder and tucked inside the left post.

The Blades tied the game at 2 about two minutes later when forward Paul Cabana ripped a 9-foot shot in the low slot.