Gladiators fall to Inferno 5-2

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Gwinnett Gladiators fell behind by five goals to the Columbia Inferno before posting two late third period goals from Chad Painchaud and Matt Anderson, but it wasn't enough in a 5-2 loss to the Inferno on Friday night at the Carolina Coliseum.

With the loss, Gwinnett has solidified third place in the ECHL's South Division and will take on the sixth seed in the South Division in the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Charlotte lost to South Carolina on Friday night. The Gladiators game at home today against Charlotte will determine who the Gladiators play in the first round of the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs. If Gwinnett wins, the Gladiators will face Charlotte in the first round. If the Gladiators lose to the Checkers, the Gladiators will face Columbia in the first round.

Columbia jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the Gladiators at 6:08 of the first period. Sliding down the off wing, Julien Brouillette took a pass out of the corner and snuck the puck past Gladiators netminder Dan Turple to the short side for the goal.

Ralph pushed the Inferno lead to two goals with just 1:30 left in the first period. Ralph found a loose puck in the slot and flicked a second chance opportunity over an outsprawled Turple for the marker. Joel Hanson set up the goal as he worked the puck off the back dasherboard before it was tapped off his stick leaving it in the slot for Ralph.

Columbia extended its lead to 4-0 with a pair of second period goals. Jeremy Schenderling pushed the Columbia lead to 3-0 at 5:18 of the second period. Sliding into an opening in the slot, Schenderling took a pass from Owen Fussey and ripped a snapshot past Turple for the marker.

Brouillette notched his second goal of the game at 8:50 of the second period to give the Inferno the four-goal lead. Brouillette flicked the puck over Turple's shoulder from point blank range for the marker.

Columbia extended its lead to 5-0 in the third period on a goal by Chris Sparre. Working down the right wing, Sparre ripped a slap shot past Turple for the goal from the right wing circle.

Gwinnett posted a pair of goals just 31 seconds apart to cut the Inferno lead to three goals later in the third period.

SideBar: Checkers at Gladiators

When: Today, 7:35 p.m.

Where: Arena at Gwinnett Center