Gladiators let another lead slip away

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - For the second night in a row, the Gwinnett Gladiators led a lead slip away.

The South Carolina Stingrays scored three of their four goals on the power play and overcame a one-goal deficit three times to defeat Gwinnett 4-3 on Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.

It was the first time in nearly a year that the Gladiators gave up three power-play goals in a road game.

The only even-strength goal for South Carolina was the winner, scored at 11:35 of the third period by Pierre-Luc O'Brien. It was the Stingrays' first lead.

The Gladiators made a couple pushes to tie the game down the stretch and had a power play of their own for most of the last two minutes. But no equalizing goal was to be had and Gwinnett fell behind the Stingrays into third place in the ECHL South Division standings.

The Gladiators (22-10-4, 48 points) are winless in their last three games and play again tonight at home against Mississippi.

Gwinnett hardly yielded a point to South Carolina (24-12-2, 50 points) last season and was 2-1-1 against the Stingrays this year coming into Friday's game.

The Gladiators led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 before allowing South Carolina to score the final two goals of the game. On Thursday night, Gwinnett led Charlotte 4-2 with less than 3 minutes remaining in regulation only to see the Checkers tie it and eventually win in overtime.

Lou Dickenson gave the Gladiators a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal 3:16 into game. Dickenson stripped a South Carolina defenseman of the puck in the neutral zone and beat netminder Josh Johnson on a breakaway for the goal.

A 5-on-3 power play goal by Cail MacLean in the last 3 minutes of the first period tied it 1-1.

Gwinnett regained its advantage early in the second period on Matt Anderson's sixth goal of the season. Anderson found a loose puck in a scrum in front of the net and tapped the puck past Johnson. Jeff Campbell and Dickenson notched the assists on the power-play goal for the Gladiators.

South Carolina answered - on the power play - 7:33 into the second period. Nate Kiser ripped a slap shot from the right wing point past Craig Kowalski.

Andy Brandt gave Gwinnett its third lead of the game just over a minute later. Brandt finished an odd-man rush as he beat Johnson to the short side for his eighth goal of the season. Campbell had an assist on the goal, flicking the puck behind himself across to Brandt to set up the goal.

The Gladiators' final lead last five minutes as Travis Morin sent the game into the second intermission tied 3-3.

Kowalski finished with 25 saves in the loss and Gwinnett was 2-for-6 on the power play.


When: Today, 7:35 p.m.

Where: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth

Tickets: Available through Ticketmaster or at the arena box office.