Gladiators squander pair of leads in loss

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Gwinnett Gladiators could not hold a pair of first period leads in a 4-3 loss to the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday night at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Jean-Claude Sawyer gave the Gladiators (26-28-6) a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season just 48 seconds into the period. Charlotte netminder Jeff Jakaitis got a piece of Sawyer's slapshot from just inside the Checkers blue line before the puck rolled into the net. Dirk Southern and Tom Zanoski each had an assist on the goal for Gwinnett that stood for the remainder of the opening period giving Gwinnett a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.

Charlotte tied the contest at one just 2:24 into the second period on the power play on a goal from Lee Falardeau.

Brennan Turner's fourth goal of the season regained the lead for Gwinnett at 9:43 of the second period when he ripped a slapshot from the blue line past Jakaitis for the goal. Matt Siddall and Adam Berti collected the assists on the marker.

Charlotte scored the final two goals of the game both by Mike Bayrack. Bayrack's goals came just two and a half minutes apart in the second period. His first came at 10:29 and his second at 12:41.

Gwinnett answered shorthanded to tie the game at three. Coming off the bench off a line change, Andy Brandt took a centering pass out of the corner and ripped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jakaitis from the slot for the marker. Brandon Kaleniecki had an assist on the shorthanded goal for Gwinnett at 13:29 of the second period.

But Charlotte answered with a goal from Falardeau to give the Checkers the 4-3 win.

Turple finished with 28 saves in the loss for the Gladiators. Gwinnett went 0-for-6 on the power play in the loss while Charlotte capitalized on two of five power play chances in the contest.