Gladiators hang on vs. Elmira

ELMIRA, N.Y. — Chris Poli scored twice, and the Gladiators withstood a late third period push by the Elmira Jackals on Saturday night, hanging on for a 4-3 win on the road at First Arena.

Gwinnett (5-0-0-2) is now the only team in the ECHL to not have a regulation loss.

A.J. Perry scored two third period goals for Elmira (3-1-2-0) to cut a three-goal deficit down to one, but Gwinnett held on late and Chris Carrozzi (35 saves) made several big saves down the stretch to preserve the win.

Poli’s two goals give him three on the season, all of them coming in the last two games. Veteran Derek Nesbitt added a goal and an assist.

The Gladiators needed just 1:54 to draw first blood. Nesbitt beat goalie Marco Cousineau with a low slapshot from the far faceoff circle to give Gwinnett the early edge.

Poli then added his second goal in as many days at the 11:03 mark on the power play, pushing the lead to 2-0.

Elmira answered late in the period with a powerplay goal of its own, as reigning ECHL Rookie of the Year Justin Donati tallied his fourth of the season at 17:26 to make it a one goal game.

The power play goal by Elmira snapped a string of 18 penalties killed in a row by Gwinnett since the start of the three-game road trip.

The Glads took control in the second period. Drew Paris blasted a shot from the blueline just five seconds into a power play at 4:51 that was redirected in by Ryan Garbitt for his fifth of the season, and Poli beat Cousineau on a slapshot from just inside the blueline at 17:44 to give the Gladiators a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the third. The Gladiators return home Monday to take on the South Carolina Stingrays. It will be Gwinnett’s fourth game in five days.