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Gajic powers Gladiators past Pilots

From staff reports

Milan Gajic posted his first professional hat trick to help the Gladiators past the Pensacola Ice Pilots 6-2 on Friday night

Pensacola opened up a 1-0 lead on the Gladiators 8:27 into the first period. Pete Gardner picked up the goal as he was able to deflect Dave Turon's slapshot from the right wing point past Gladiators netiminder Sean Fields.

Derek Nesbitt was able to equalize the contest just 22 seconds later as he picked up a rebound in front of the Ice Pilots net and pumped the puck past Pensacola netminder Todd Ford. For Nesbitt, it was his 12th goal of the

season.

Jeff Campbell gave the Gladiators a 2-1 lead 3:02 into the second period as he posted his 14th goal of the season. Taking a pass from John Awe as he moved into the slot, Campbell beat Ford over the shoulder to the far post for the goal.

Milan Gajic pushed the Gladiators lead to 3-1 just 1:46 into third period. John Awe picked off an IcePilots outlet pass and fed a wide open Gajic for the goal.

Gwinnett pushed its lead to 4-1 on Jeff Campbell's second goal of the game as the forward hammered the puck past Ford.

Gajic posted his second goal of the game just 33 seconds later as he was able to slide the puck under Ford. He walking down the right wing side untouched to pick up the unassisted tally for Gwinnett.

Pensacola cut into the Gladiators lead on Mark Rooneem's tally at the 12:20 mark of the third period. Rooneem was able to pick up the puck in the slot and rip it past Fields for the tally.

Gajic rounded out the scoring in the game with his third goal of the contest with just 20 seconds left in the third as he beat Ford on a breakaway for the second time. Scott Kelman posted an assist on Gajic's third goal as he pushed the puck up the win to the rookie forward.

Sean Fields made 30 saves in the win for the Gladiators as Gwinnett won its first game of the season when not scoring a goal on the power play.

The Gwinnett Gladiators continue the 2005-06 ECHL season at the Arena at Gwinnett Center as they host the Columbia Inferno tonight at 7:35 p.m.