Berti goal saves Gladiators in OT

ESTERO, Fla. Adam Berti helped the Gladiators save themselves against Florida on Tuesday with an overtime goal that gave Gwinnett a 4-3 victory.

The Gladiators (23-19-3-2) saw an early two-goal advantage evaporate in the second period as Brandon Buck notched a hat trick for the Everblades (24-19-2-5), but Gwinnett's Tim Miller would answer to force the overtime.

It took nearly the full first period, but the Gladiators were able to get on the scoreboard first as Chad Denny struck for Gwinnett.

Gwinnett kept attacking after gaining the lead and struck again before the end of the period. Mike McLean dumped a puck into the attacking zone that bounced off a stick and deflected on goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu. Beckford-Tseu made the initial stop, but he could not find the rebound as McLean crashed the net and banged the rebound home for a 2-0 lead.

Florida answered at the 9:35 mark of the second period as Buck struck with the man advantage to cut the Gladiators' lead in half.

Buck would score again to tie the game with an even-strength goal at the 17:02 mark of the second period.

Buck added his third goal to put Florida up by one before the intermission. Two quick outlet passes from Benn Olson and Guthrie allowed Buck to fly past the Gladiator defense and blast a shot past Taylor and into the net.

The Gladiators were outshot 11-5 in the second period.

Mike McLean added his second goal of the night as the equalizer in the third period. A mad scramble behind the net saw the puck pop out along the goal line. McLean was able to dig it free and deposited it in the back of the net and forced an overtime period.

The Gladiators' captain Berti played the part of the hero at the 3:11 mark in overtime to seal the victory for Gwinnett. Berti and Higgins completed a give-and-go in the neutral zone allowing Berti to walk in along the left side. Berti carried the puck into the slot and picked the water bottle of the top right corner of the net to win the game for Gwinnett.