Checkers' 5-goal 2nd sinks Gwinnett

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The wheels came off in the second period and the Gwinnett Gladiators couldn't stop the bleeding in a 9-4 loss to the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday.

It was by far the team's worst road loss, though not the biggest margin of defeat this season.

The Gladiators (17-14-4, 38 points) had a chance to tie Charlotte (19-13-4, 42 points) in the ECHL South standings, but allowed five goals in a second-period meltdown.

Gwinnett actually led 3-2 after the first period on goals by Chris Higgins, Matt Siddall and Tom Zanoski.

Charlotte scored two goals to take a 4-3 lead eight minutes into the second, but Higgins lit the lamp again to tie it on the power play halfway through the period.

Then things got ugly. Less than three minutes later, the Checkers regained their lead on a goal by Michel Leveille and rolled from there. Nine different Charlotte players scored in the decisive victory, but Leveille was the most top point-getter with a goal and three assists.