CHARLOTTE - Jeff Campbell notched his 22nd goal of the season and also posted two assists to lead the Gwinnett Gladiators past the Charlotte Checkers 6-2 on Friday night at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
With the win, the Gladiators remain in sole possession of second place in the ECHL's South Division and have clinched home ice advantage in the first round of the 2008 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Gwinnett will open the Kelly Cup playoffs at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on April 8 at 7:05 p.m.
Blake Bellefeuille got the Checkers on the board with 2:31 left in the first period. Sliding over the Gladiators blue line, Bellefeuille beat Gladiators goalie Dan Turple to the glove side. Turple got a piece of the puck but it deflected off his glove and into the back of the net for the marker.
Bryson Busniuk equalized the contest on the power play with his 5th goal of the season. Parked along the goal line, Busniuk picked up a rebound along the goal line and ripped the puck past Charlotte netminder Chris Holt for the goal. Andy Brandt and Jeff Campbell collected the assists on the goal.
Charlotte regained the lead at 2-1 at 5:22 of the second period. Finding a loose puck in a pile up in front of the Gladiators net, Tom Pyatt slipped the puck past Turple for the marker.
Mike Hamilton tied the game at 2-2 just four minutes later for the Gladiators. Hamilton ripped a one-time slap shot past Holt at 9:15 of the second period from the right wing circle. Matt Anderson posted an assist on the goal digging the puck out of the corner and finding Hamilton wide open in the slot.
Gwinnett took its first lead of the game on Jamie Milam's 13th goal of the season. Milam ripped a slapshot from the left wing point past Holt at 3:19 of the third period. Brad Schell collected the assist on the power play for Gwinnett
Matt Anderson gave the Gladiators a 4-2 lead on the Checkers at 7:09 of the third period. Tomas Pospisil collected an assist on the goal as the Gladiators moved into the Charlotte zone on an odd man rush to set up the marker. Hamilton also had an assist on the goal for Gwinnett.
Gwinnett took a 5-2 lead on the Checkers on Campbell's 22nd goal of the season. Sliding thorough the slot, Campbell took a centering pass from Busniuk before slipping the puck past Holt for the marker. Schell also had an assist on the goal for Gwinnett at 13:45 of the third period. The marker came on the power play for Gwinnett.
Pospisil rounded out the scoring for the Gladiators with an unassisted goal for the Gladiators at 15:51 of the third period.
Turple finished with 30 saves in the win for Gwinnett.