Kowalski gets year's first shutout
Milam's early goal stands up in win

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Jamie Milam scored 49 seconds into the game and the Gwinnett Gladiators held on to defeat Columbia 2-0 on Friday night at the Carolina Coliseum.

Goaltender Craig Kowalski notched his - and the Gladiators' - first shutout of the season, turning aside all 26 of the Inferno's shots. It was Kowalski's first shutout since he blanked the Inferno 1-0 last March while with the Florida Everblades.

After surviving on Milam's goal and Kowalski's efforts between the pipes for nearly 45 minutes, Lou Dickenson gave Gwinnett a bit of breathing room at 5:29 of the third period.

Dickenson scored his team-leading 28th goal by ripping a slap shot to the near post past goalie Todd Ford. Dickenson extended his point scoring streak to 17 games while tying the Gladiators' all-time team record for most consecutive games with at least one goal (6).

Jeff Campbell improved on his ECHL-best point total by assisting on both goals as the Gladiators snapped Columbia's three-game winning streak.

It was the third straight win for Gwinnett (34-15-5) and lifted the Gladiators into a tie for second place in the division standings with South Carolina, which fell to Texas 6-4 on Friday.

Gwinnett now faces a pair of home games against league-leading Texas. The Wildcatters (41-6-9) are in town for tonight's 7:35 p.m. game and a 4:05 p.m. Sunday matinee.

The Gladiators will be without defenseman Jim Jackson and forward Matt Anderson. Both were called up to the American Hockey League following Friday's win. Jackson just arrived back in Gwinnett from AHL Manitoba on Thursday, made the trip to Columbia and was summoned by AHL Peoria.

Anderson returns to AHL Chicago where he began the season.

It is possible the Wolves would assign a different forward to Gwinnett in time for tonight's showdown with the Wildcatters.

Gwinnett was 0-for-5 on the power play in Friday's win, but interestingly was not whistled for a minor penalty, denying the Inferno the chance to play with a man advantage.