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Gladiators extend unbeaten streak

DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Gladiators extended their unbeaten streak to seven games with another win over the South Carolina Stingrays, this time 3-0.

Chris Clackson was the hero of the night with two goals, while goaltender Jeff Jakaitis pitched his second straight shutout.

But head coach John Wroblewski wanted to spread the praise around further.

"I don't think (Jakaitis) has had to be extraordinarily good," he said of the streak. "I think other teams have gotten equal goaltending, but he seems to come up with maybe one extra save some of these nights. A lot of it has to be attributed to our defenseman really clearing out pucks and centers playing with good detail, our wings doing their job in our D zone and blocking shots. He's getting some of the kudos, but like everything in the sport, it's a team effort."

There was barely a whistle in the first period of this latest contest, as the two teams seemingly were tired of looking at one another and just wanted to get this five-game home-and-home series over with. The Gladiators got out to a lead on a lucky bounce halfway through. David Stratham centered a pass to the net, but the puck bounced off the skate of the intended recipient right to Clackson who wristed it over Philipp Grubauer before most even located the puck.

At 3:06 of the second period, a similar maneuver led to a goal. Shane Sims' pass bounced in the slot to Justin Milo who displayed great patience in waiting for Grubauer to come out of his net. When he did, Milo roofed the puck behind him from a tight angle.

December star Clackson tried the same trick on Grubauer late in the period. He skated up the right wing to the net, waited for Grubauer to come out, then corralled the puck in just behind him for his second of the contest and seventh of the month.

Wroblewski doesn't believe Clackson has changed anything in his game to become more productive this month.

"Pucks certainly are going in for him right now. To me anything that shows up on the scoreboard from him is a nice bonus. He genuinely wants to be a player. He works as hard as he can every day -- one of our hardest workers -- a great guy in the room. He was a player we wanted to bring in for a lot of reasons. It's great seeing him step up into a role where pucks are going in for him, but if they don't that's fine too. He plays on the edge and that's right where we want him."