NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. The Gwinnett Gladiators responded to the worst loss in team history with a decisive 5-2 win over division leading South Carolina on the road Friday.
Tom Zanoski had a hat trick to lead the Gladiators' rebound effort. Gwinnett was coming off an 11-3 loss at the hands of Elmira last Saturday and obviously took steps to get back on track.
Zanoski opened the scoring 3:04 into the game and closed it with an empty-netter with 60 seconds to go.
Danny Taylor, who was in net for last Saturday's debacle, made 40 saves as the Gladiators were heavily outshot.
It was the first time in five meetings this season that these two teams didn't have to go beyond regulation to get a final result.
And Gwinnett (7-3-2, 16 points) continues to hold the advantage in the series with a 4-0-1 record against the Stingrays (9-4-4, 22 points).
South Carolina tied the game 1-1 at 6:42, but a minute later, Matt Siddall was awarded a penalty shot. Siddall was on a breakaway and had his stick slashed by Zach Tarkir.
Siddall deked Stingray goalie Todd Ford with a backhand and came back with the forehand to score.
The Gladiators doubled their lead 4:17 into the second period. Siddall fed Scott Mifsud who fired a shot just past the right post. Aaron Brocklehurst crashed the net and pushed the rebound over the line.
South Carolina got back within one as at two-man power play was expiring. Taylor made the first save, but Nikita Kashirsky jumped on the rebound.
Zanoski gave Gwinnett some breathing space back early in the third. At the end of a penalty kill, Zanoski was wide open in the neutral zone. He faked a long slap shot, carried it into the zone and stick-handled around a pair of Stingray defenders. Zanoski capped the effort by shoring top shelf on the backhand.