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Gladiators explode for huge win at Mississippi

BILOXI, Miss. - The Gwinnett Gladiators crushed Mississippi with a third-period blitzkrieg and set a new franchise record for goals in a 9-2 bludgeoning of the Sea Wolves on Saturday.

Leading from the start and ahead 4-2 after two periods, the Gladiators unleashed a torrent of goals in the third to crush Mississippi. One night after losing to the Sea Wolves in a shootout, Gwinnett cruised to victory.

Brad Schell and Bruce Graham each had a pair of goals to lead the offensive effort. Nine players finished with more than one point in the contest, including rookie defenseman Scott Marchesi who led with three (on a goal and two assists).

Goaltender Kevin Nastiuk made 21 saves and Gwinnett (9-6-4) moved into a tie for third place with Mississippi in the ECHL's South Division. The Gladiators return home today to play Charlotte at 4:05 p.m. for their third game in as many days.

A pair of goals from Jordan Fox and Pat Bateman 71 seconds apart got Gwinnett going in the first period.

The Gladiators took a 3-0 lead on Marchesi's third goal of the season. Keeping the puck in at the blue line on a power play, Marchesi whipped a wrist shot from the top of the left wing circle through traffic and beat goalie Jeremy Duchesne. Fox and Bateman collected the assists on the goal for Gwinnett at 3:25 of the second period.

Schell pushed the lead to 4-1 with another power-play tally at 11:14. Schell slipped in over the Mississippi blue line and used his rarely seen slapshot from the top of the circle to beat Duchesne. It chased Duchesne from the Mississippi net in favor of Ryan Munce.

But Munce didn't fare any better.

Gwinnett exploded for a season-high five goals in the third period. The Gladiators posted two on the power play while setting a new all-time team record for most goals in a game.

Jeff Dunne got the scoring going for Gwinnett just 46 into the third beating Munce from the bottom of the left wing circle.

Graham gave Gwinnett a 6-2 lead at 2:26 of the third period on a second effort in the slot.

Dan Sullivan then pushed the lead to 7-2 as he capitalized on a turnover in the slot and beat Munce for the unassisted marker at 5:47.

Graham's second goal of the contest on the power play at 9:32 of the third pushed the Gwinnett lead to 8-2. Parked in the slot, Graham ripped a slapshot over the shoulder of Munce. Matt Siddall and Marchesi had the assists on the power play goal for Gwinnett.

Schell's second goal of the game at 13:27 of the third period was the final dagger and surpassed the team record for most goals in a game. Travis Fuller and Dunne notched the assist on the power-play goal for Gwinnett.

The Gladiators went 5-for-6 on the man advantage while holding Mississippi scoreless on its four chances.