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Milam scores winner for Gladiators

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Gwinnett Gladiators overcame a two-goal deficit and Jamie Milam scored the game-winner to knock off the Charlotte Checkers 4-3 on Friday night at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

The victory, Gwinnett's fourth straight, gave the Gladiators sole possession of first place in the South Division with a 5-1-0 record. Charlotte (4-2-0) failed to hold onto a 2-0 lead against Gwinnett and dropped into a tie for second place with Texas.

Charlotte's Dusty Jamieson posted his league-leading eighth goal of the season with 3:44 left in the first period during a 4-on-3 power-play and the Checkers beat goalie Dan Turple again 55 seconds later.

The Gladiators scored three unanswered goals in the second period before Charlotte tied it at 3.

Gwinnett's Mike Vigilante collected an outlet pass from Brad Schell and zipped behind the Charlotte defense to beat goalie Alex Westlund on a breakaway. Vigilante's goal, his fifth of the season, came 1:31 into the second period and was soon followed by Joel Stepp's game-tying tally.

Stepp took a pass from Chad Painchaud in the right-wing faceoff circle and whipped a shot at Westlund that rolled up the netminder's shoulder and into the back of the net at 5:17.

The Gladiators took a 3-2 lead on Jeff Campbell's power play goal just 7:44 into the second period. Parked in the right-wing corner, Campbell cleared the puck off of Westlund's skate and into the net.

Charlotte tied the game with just 18 seconds left in the period when Jamieson rolled the puck past a Gladiator in the slot to a wide-open Mark Lee. Lee beat Turple from point blank range.

Then Milam made his first professional goal count big.

Working on the power play early in the third, Stepp and Scott Mifsud set up Milam, who was at the point. Milam, a rookie and younger brother of former Gladiator defenseman Troy Milam, unloaded a slap shot from just inside the blue line that beat Westlund at 6:40 of the third period.

Turple won his third consecutive start for the Gladiators making 28 saves.