Gladiators' Sauer shuts out Stingrays

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Billy Sauer stopped all 32 shots he faced, including a late flurry from South Carolina in the third period, to lead the Gwinnett Gladiators to a 1-0 victory Friday night at the North Charleston Coliseum.

After two defensive, scoreless periods, the Gladiators (11-4-0-4, 26 points) started the third on the power play.

Just as the advantage expired, Andy Brandt took a pass from Matt Francis and beat goalie Shane Connelly with a low wrist shot from the far circle. Brandt’s goal 1:16 into the third was the only one of the game, thanks to Sauer.

The Stingrays had their chances to equalize, particularly on a late power-play chance over the last 82 seconds of the game. The puck never left Gwinnett’s zone, but Sauer stood on his head and kept South Carolina off the board.

The Gladiators were outshot 32-13 and failed to score on their only power play during a disciplined game. South Carolina went 0-for-3 on the power play to extend Gwinnett’s streak to 29 straight successful penalty kills.

The Gladiators wrap up a marathon stretch of seven games in nine days tonight with a 7:05 p.m. game against Toledo. The Walleye rallied to defeat Gwinnett in a shootout Thursday, a game that inspired the ire of head coach Jeff Pyle.

The Gladiators, who lead the league’s point race, responded with a stout effort against division rival South Carolina.