Photo: Amanda Hertel Gwinnett Gladiators' forward Justin Milo edges out the competition in the 6-1 victory over the Greenville Road Warriors on Friday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center
DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Gladiators pulled away from Greenville in the second period and buried the Warriors in the third.
The Gladiators spread the scoring around and rolled to a 6-1 win in their home opener Friday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. The same two teams meet again tonight at 7:05 p.m.
Five players lit the lamp and goalie Marc Cheverie made 36 saves as the Gladiators treated the nearly 5,500 on hand to a convincing victory.
"It was a team effort for sure and that's the way I want it," head coach John Wroblewski said. "There were a number of guys who did their jobs away from the puck that did a tremendous job. Guys like Andy Brandt and Justin Milo. Ty Murovich. Those guys didn't get rewarded with a lot of points tonight, but I thought they went out an executed.
"And I was really happy for a couple of the young kids getting themselves goals tonight."
Rookie Tyler Helfrich led the offensive effort with a two goals just 18 seconds apart and two assists, helping slam the door on Greenville in the third. But Helfrich, claimed off waivers earlier this week, was just one of eight players with points in the game.
"A lot of guys made a lot of small sacrifices and maybe making the simple play rather than the fancy one," Cheverie said. "It was a real team effort and everyone stepped up. It was certainly not a one-man show."
The Gladiators found their stride in the second period after a stilted first where the teams finished tied on power-play goals less than two minutes apart.
Gwinnett scored first, to the delight of the home crowd, with one second left on its first man advantage. Tyler Murovich won the drawn back to defenseman Corey Fienhage. The rookie assigned by AHL Rochester lobbed a shot from the right point that eluded Greenville goalie Jerry Kuhn at 6:42.
The Warriors answered at 8:27 when Brendan Connolly was left unguarded on the backdoor. The rebound kicked to Connolly, who easily lifted it into the open net.
"I really liked our first period up until the point we scored," Wroblewski said. "Then we let off the gas a little bit there. It was a combination of things and you have to give Greenville credit. They turned it up a notch after that.
"But I really liked our persistence throughout the game and it showed with some great goals."
Gwinnett jumped all over Greenville in the second, keeping play primarily in the Warriors' zone.
Bryan Brutlag and Brad Miller both beat Kuhn in the first 5:08 of the period to grab a 3-1 lead.
Brutlag corralled a loose puck near the top of the circle and his turnaround shot ripped past Kuhn at 3:24.
Miller, a hometown boy playing in front of family and friends for the first time in a decade, drove in from the blue line to score at 5:08.
First Miller did an outstanding job just keeping the puck in at the blue line. Then the Alpharetta native danced through heavy traffic and slid across the crease. Miller was patient, getting Kuhn to go down and lifting the puck into the top of the net at the far post for a 3-1 lead.
The goal and an assist on the final goal by Pat Galivan -- ripped home at 15:45 of the third -- means $70 donated to the fight against breast cancer. Miller has promised to donate $50 for each goal and $20 for every assist during October.
"To give our guys credit, we did a great job of bending but not breaking," Wroblewski said. "Guys really bought into the adjustments we tried to make. It helps when Chevy is standing tall in the net."