NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Forward Chris Clackson scored the game-winner in the third, and goaltender Jeff Jakaitis stood on his head between the pipes for Gwinnett as the Gladiators knocked off the South Carolina Stingrays 2-1 Friday night at North Charleston Coliseum. With the win, Gwinnett (12-8-5-3) pushes its South Division lead up to three points over the Rays (14-10-0-1).
Jakaitis stopped 29 of 30 shots for his seventh win of the season and made several highlight reel stops to preserve the win. Philipp Grubauer fell to the Gladiators for the first time in five tries, turning aside 21 shots.
The only goal of the first period came on a shorthanded three-on-one rush for Gwinnett. Tyler Murovich fed Bryan Brutlag on the breakout, and Brutlag put a perfect pass to the slot that Flache blasted five-hole by Grubauer for his first goal of the season at 10:06.
After a scoreless second period, Clackson gave Gwinnett some breathing room at 7:01 of the third. The forward narrowly kept the puck inside the offense zone, and let loose a wrist shot from the high slot that snuck past a stunned Grubauer to put the Glads up 2-0. Murovich and Brutlag both picked up their second assists of the game, and the Glads were in the driver seat.
A late penalty to Dallas Jackson put the Rays on the powerplay, however, and defenseman Zach Tarkir fired a shot from the middle that was re-directed past Jakaitis to put the Rays within one at 14:35. That was as close as South Carolina would get, as Jakaitis slammed the door shut for Gwinnett's second win in as many nights.
The Rays went 1-for-6 on the powerplay, while Gwinnett failed to capitalize on their lone chance on the man advantage. The Glads are now 5-1 when leading through two periods, while the Rays are 0-10 when trailing after two.