Gladiators fall to Greenville 3-1 in final period

GREENVILLE, S.C.-- Brendan Connolly scored the go ahead goal for the Road Warriors in the third, helping Greenville top Gwinnett 3-1 Thursday night at the BI-LO Center. Gwinnett (10-7-5-2) despite the loss stays atop the South Division and the Eastern Conference with 27 points while the Warriors (12-8-0-0) move into a tie for third with Florida at 24 points.

Greenville forward Marc-Olivier Vallerand set up the winning marker, working his way around behind the net and swinging the puck to the slot. Connolly was waiting, and put a quick shot between the legs of Gladiators goaltender Jeff Jakaitis at 9:13 with TJ Reynolds also assisting.

Connor Shields tacked on an empty-netter at 18:44 to seal the Greenville win. Jakaitis was solid for the Glads making his first start since being recalled to the AHL in mid-November, stopping 30 of 32 shots. Jason Missiaen on the other end was spectacular for the Warriors turning away all but one of Gwinnett's 32 shots.

There were only six penalty minutes between the two teams, with Gwinnett failing to capitalize on its lone power play chance and Greenville being held to an 0-for-2 night.

After a scoreless opening period Greenville opened the scoring early in the second. Defenseman Lee Baldwin took a centering pass from Kale Kerbashian and beat Jakaitis high for his second goal of the season at 3:40. It was Baldwin's second goal of the season.

Another defenseman potted his second goal of the season, but this time it was for Gwinnett just 1:06 later. Dave Strathman broke into the Warriors zone and rifled a wrist shot over the glove of Missiaen. The puck shot right out of the net leading to a lengthy review, but the marker stood and the Glads drew even. Ryley Grantham and Colin Vock had the helpers, and the game headed into the final period tied.