Gladiators lose, but move to first in division

ESTERO, Fla. The Gwinnett Gladiators battled all the way back from a 3-0 third period deficit, but fell in overtime 4-3 to the Florida Everblades Friday night at Germain Arena. With the point the Gladiators (10-6-4-2) move into sole possession of first place in the South Division.

After a scoreless second period trailing 3-0, the Gladiators kick-started their comeback at 7:46 of the third. Forward Nikita Kashirsky put a low wrist shot along the far goal line that caught Blades (10-9-1-1) goalie John Muse off-guard, slipping between his legs to drop Gwinnett's deficit to 3-1. Colin Vock picked up the lone assist.

Pat Galivan then buried his 10th goal of the season on the power play at 10:13, banking a shot from behind the net off Muse and in to make it a one-goal game. Aaron Bendickson had an assist in his first game back with Gwinnett this season with Will Colbert getting the second helper.

The comeback was capped with just 37.3 seconds left in the third, as with the goalie pulled Galivan found Bryan Brutlag alone on the near side and he lifted a shot over Muse to draw the Glads even.

With 3:42 into the extra period, Florida forward Matt Beca hammered home a rebound off the near side past Marc Cheverie to seal the 4-3 Blades OT win. Florida outshot Gwinnett 35-28 while the Glads went 1-for-3 on the power play, holding the Blades third-ranked unit to an 0-for-3 night.

Florida jumped all over Gwinnett in the opening period. Mike McKenzie cashed in on a point blank one-timer to put Florida up 1-0. Just 25 seconds later Trevor Bruess blasted a shot from the high-mid-point past Cheverie off a blocked shot to give the Blades a two-goal cushion. Scott Pitt added a goal at 10:17, beating Cheverie five-hole on a rebound in front to make it 3-0 going into the first intermission.