ESTERO, Fla. — The Gwinnett Gladiators dropped their second consecutive game against the Florida Everblades in as many days, losing 6-2 at the Germain Arena on Wednesday night.
Gwinnett (12-13-1-4) trailed 2-0 after the first period despite outshooting the Everblades by a 16-7 margin. It looked like Florida took a 1-0 lead at 3:58 of the first period but Gwinnett netminder Billy Sauer reached back behind himself, smothering a loose puck before it crossed the goal line to keep the game scoreless.
The Everblades got their first goal of the contest on a penalty shot at 8:08 of the first period. Mitch Fadden was caught and hooked up by defenseman Paul Flache on a break and drawing the penalty shot opportunity. Fadden was true on the shot, beating Sauer through the five-hole for the go-ahead marker.
The lead was pushed to two goals just 1:18 later as Mike McKenzie ripped a snap-shot from the left wing circle past Sauer for the Everblades second marker. Cederic Lalonde-McNicoll and Matt Beca had the assist on the goal for Florida.
Gwinnett got back into the contest early in the third as Andy Brandt finished a give-and-go with Drew Akins to cut the Everblades lead to 2-1 at 6:08 of the second period. Ian McKenzie also had a helper on the goal.
Florida answered to take a two goal lead on Jared Staal’s 4th goal of the season but it only lasted 54 seconds as Tim Miller answered for Gwinnett to make it 3-2 at 11:45 of the middle period. Miller, Michael Forney and Pat Galivan cycled the puck deep in the Florida zone before Miller jammed the puck past Goepfert.
Just as quickly as the Gladiators cut the lead to a goal, Florida added another marker, this time just 22 seconds after the Gwinnett goal. Mike McKenzie recorded his second goal of the game for the Everblades dancing around a Gladiators defenseman and beating Sauer for the marker. Lalonde-McNicoll had a helper on the marker.
Things got messy following the next shift with line brawl that included both netminders getting tossed from the game which resulted in the Gladiators on a two minute 5-on-3 penalty kill. It took the Everblades just 10 seconds into the power play to push their lead to three goals as Alexandre Imbeault ripped a slapshot from the blue line through traffic and past Chris Carrozzi for the goal at 12:49 of the second period.
Florida added one more with one second on the clock as Staal beat Carrozzi for his second of the night as he finished an odd man rush with Beca for the goal.
Gwinnett went 0-for-5 on the power play while the Everblades converted on one of six power play chances which included a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities.