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Gladiators bury Stingrays in 8-3 win

The Gwinnett Gladiators tied a team record for goals in a game with an 8-3 victory over South Carolina on Friday in North Charleson, S.C.

It was the second win of the season for Gwinnett - both have come against the Stingrays. The Gladiators, who got two goals from veteran left winger Mike Vigilante on Friday, also defeated South Carolina in the season opener a week ago.

It was also goalie Davis Caruso's second victory against South Carolina as the Roswell native made 27 saves.

"The boys came out flying," Gwinnett head coach Jeff Pyle said. "We skated well and moved the puck well.

"The penalty kill was really good and the power play was solid. Overall, I was really happy with the way everyone played."

Vigilante opened the scoring with his third tally of the season, walking down the wing and sliding a puck through the legs of goalie Darren Machesney 4:19 into the game. Defensemen Scott Lehman and Jamie Milam picked up assists on the power-play goal.

"Vig just drove the net and that got us going," Pyle said. "Then (Brad Schell's) power play had a couple after that."

Schell, Gwinnett's top point-getter this season, doubled the Gladiators' lead with his third goal of the year. Corralling a puck in the slot that bounced off the back of the referee, Schell ripped a snap shot over the shoulder of Machesney at 8:05 of the first.

Jon Awe, who with rookie Colton Fretter assisted on that power-play goal, added another just over three minutes later. Again working with the man advantage, Awe beat Machesney at 12:17 with a slap shot from the point. Schell and Jeff Campbell earned assists, but the 3-0 lead didn't last too long. South Carolina scored on a power-play of its own at 15:28 when Jarrett Konkle finished a flurry in front of Caruso.

The Stingrays were swamped in the second as goals by rookie Andy Contois and Vigilante gave the Gladiators a 5-1 lead. Contois picked up a loose puck in the slot and scored his second goal of the season 4:39 into the period. It was the first even-strength goal of the game.

Vigilante potted his second tally of the game much as he did the first - rolling down the side boards and flipping a shot past Machesney at 11:18. Scott Mifsud had his first point of the season, an assist, on the goal as he hooked up with Paul Flache to get Vigilante the puck.

Machesney was lifted in favor of Davis Parley and South Carolina made it 5-2 on Matt Reid's power-play goal, off a scramble in the slot, at 15:56.

Campbell, last year's ECHL MVP, got a feed from Schell and deked Parley for a goal with 44 seconds left in the period before Reid made it 6-3 on a penalty shot in the third.

The Gladiators power-play finished 4-for-8 as Fretter scored halfway through the third.

Joel Stepp rounded out the offensive outburst with an unassisted tally and Gwinnett improved to 2-1-0.

"We did a lot of things well," Pyle said. "For having three days of practice, the penalty kill was really good.

"Now we've set the table to win at home."

The Gladiators play tonight at the Arena at Gwinnett Center against Columbia before rounding out the week with a return trip to South Carolina on Sunday.