Gladiators beat Fort Wayne in fight-marred game

Photo: Amanda Hertel  Gwinnett Gladiators forward Evan Bloodoff (10) scores a shorthanded goal on Fort Wayne goaltender Ken Reiter with Tyler Butler (24) and Scott Kishel (4) defending on Friday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Photo: Amanda Hertel Gwinnett Gladiators forward Evan Bloodoff (10) scores a shorthanded goal on Fort Wayne goaltender Ken Reiter with Tyler Butler (24) and Scott Kishel (4) defending on Friday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.


Photo: Amanda Hertel Gwinnett Gladiators' Tyler Murovich fights Fort Wayne's Kaleigh Schrock in the third period of Gwinnett's 3-1 win on Friday night.

DULUTH -- Evan Bloodoff is considered one of the fastest skaters in the Phoenix Coyotes organization and he showed off that speed Friday night.

The sixth-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft scored a breakaway short-handed goal to snap a tie in the closing seconds of the second period and the Gwinnett Gladiators went on to defeat Fort Wayne 3-1.

An empty-net goal by Corey Fienhage with 40 seconds left kept Gwinnett from playing in its 11th straight one-goal game after a 4-3 loss to Fort Wayne on Wednesday night.

In addition to the victory, the crowd of 3,846 in the Arena at Gwinnett Center saw several old-fashioned brawls in the closing seconds as emotions boiled over.

"I thought it was a classless way to end a well-played game," Gladiators coach John Wroblewski said afterward. "Fort Wayne showed no class at all."

The Komets' Kaleigh Schrock went after the Gladiators' Tyler Murovich with 36 seconds left.

"That was an attack," Wroblewski said.

Then Brent Henley of Fort Wayne took on John Scrymgeour with 29 seconds remaining.

There were 17 penalties called in the closing seconds, including five game-misconducts and eight fighting majors.

Maybe it is a good thing that the Gladiators and Komets don't play again this season. They split their four games.

"We're young and feisty," Bloodoff said in an on-ice interview after the game. "We're not backing down from anybody."

The 21-year-old from British Columbia had two goals and an assist at Fort Wayne on Oct. 26 in his second game after being sent down from Portland (AHL). But he had gone six games without a point after a seven-game streak before scoring his eighth goal and running his point total to 12 in 17 games.

After Fort Wayne had forced a tie in the second quarter, Bloodoff put the Gladiators ahead for good with 21 seconds left in the period. The winger corralled the puck in the neutral zone after a clear by goaltender Louis Domingue and sped down the left side.

Just as Fort Wayne defenseman Scott Kishel tried to catch him, Bloodoff flipped the puck over goalie Ken Reiter's left shoulder and high into the net.

In addition to the rare assist, Domingue got his fourth win in five games with a 21-save effort that followed a 1-0 shutout of Orlando last Friday.

Gwinnett, which outshot Fort Wayne 47-15 but fell short in a third-period comeback attempt on Wednesday, never trailed this time.

Gwinnett outshot Fort Wayne 17-4 in the first period and got a power-play goal to take the lead.

Dallas Jackson's fifth goal of the season and the third on the power play came at 11:38 of the first period less than a minute after Fort Wayne's Brandon Maggio was called for a cross check.

The defenseman took a cross-ice pass from Fienhage and let fly with a blast from just outside the left faceoff circle that sailed to the glove side past Reiter, who had the Gladiators' Casey Pierro-Zabotel in front of him.

Doug Jones, who had two goals in Wednesday's loss to the Komets to end a 10-game drought, also got an assist.

Fort Wayne tied it in the second period after the Gladiators missed a chance to go up two goals when Alex Belzile couldn't take advantage of an open net with Reiter out of position.

Josh Brittain fed Maggio on a rush and the defenseman beat Domingue from straight away for his second goal of the season.

Fort Wayne took advantage on Wednesday of a rare off-game by Mike Lee, who came in as the ECHL's leading goaltender. But Domingue was up to the task in the rematch.

The Komets pulled Reiter for an extra attacker with 58 seconds to go, but Domingue made a save and Fienhage flipped the long rebound down the ice for his first goal of the season.

Gwinnett plays at South Carolina tonight, then takes a five-day break after three games in four days. The Gladiators are at Greenville next Friday before hosting the Road Warriors on Dec. 8 and Trenton on Dec. 9.