Gladiators blanked by Stingrays

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Gwinnett Gladiators were shut out by South Carolina 2-0 in the first half of a home-and-home set with the Stingrays on Friday.

Gladiators netminder Kevin Nastiuk made 33 saves, but got no help on offense. Gwinnett has a dismal two wins in its last 11 games and is at the bottom of the South Division at 12-15-4.

Nastiuk has lost his last six straight starts.

South Carolina is vying for the top spot in the division with a 19-8-3 record and travels to Gwinnett for a 7:05 p.m. game today.

The Stingrays took a 1-0 lead on the Gladiators at 9:04 of the first period. Former Gladiator Bryson Busniuk capitalized on a turnover to pick up the goal. Busniuk was able to beat Nastiuk over the shoulder for the marker from the left wing circle.

South Carolina had opportunities to extend its lead in the second stanza but didn't convert. The Stingrays celebrated an apparent goal about eight minutes into the period, but it was waived off by referee Steve Patafie as hitting the crossbar.

The Stingrays then had another goal disallowed, this one coming about 15 minutes into the period. Patafie waived off the marker, saying the puck was kicked past Nastiuk.

With just 1:50 left in the second period, South Carolina could not convert on a penalty shot opportunity.

Matt Siddall was whistled for covering the puck with his hand in the goal crease, awarding the penalty shot to the Stingrays. Travis Morin couldn't get a good shot away on Nastiuk.

The puck rolled off the forward's stick and trickled into Nastiuk's pad, keeping the Stingrays lead to just one goal.

The Gladiators had a chance to get even at 14:08 of the third period with a penalty shot chance.

But former ECHL MVP Brad Schell fired his shot in the chest pads of goalie Bobby Goepfert, who was the guilty party in the penalty shot chance. Goepfert threw his stick to draw the call.

Gwinnett pulled Nastiuk with over a minute remaining in the third period but failed to get a puck past Goepfert and South Carolina added an empty-netter.