CINCINNATI, OHIO --Wednesday night was one to remember for two Gwinnett rookies, as Jonathan Parker scored twice and goaltender Ryan Zapolski picked up the first shutout of his pro career to lead the Gladiators to a 2-0 win at US Bank Arena.
Gwinnett (30-14-7-4) furthers its lead atop the South Division and Eastern Conference, while Cincinnati (24-19-1-7) remains eighth in the East.
Zapolski made 21 saves between the pipes for his second win since joining the Gladiators, while Panthers prospect Brian Foster turned aside 26 shots for the Cyclones.
The only goal of a defense-dominated first period came off the stick of rookie forward Parker. The Sabres prospect sniped a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Foster from the far wing at 11:16 for his second ECHL tally of the season. David Brownschidle and Paul Flache added the assists, and Gwinnett took a 1-0 lead into the second while out-shooting Cincinnati 5-4.
Parker wasn't finished. The forward streaked into the Cyclones zone down the left wing in the second period, and beat Foster high glove side again to push the Gladiators lead to 2-0. The unassisted marker at 11:27 was Parker's third in the past two games, all against Foster, and Gwinnett carried the two-goal lead to the third.
Zapolski slammed the door shut from there on out, and despite only having four active defensemen on the roster the Gladiators shut out Cincinnati 2-0, out-shooting the Cyclones 28-21.
The Gladiators are next in action Saturday night at 7:05 p.m., as they take on the South Carolina Stingrays in North Charleston. Coming up the following weekend is the Gladiators 5th Annual "Pink in the Rink" charity fundraiser -- Friday, March 2 through Sunday, March 4 -- as the Gladiators host both the Trenton Devils and the division rival South Carolina Stingrays at The Arena at Gwinnett Center. For more information on Pink in the Rink, visit gwinnettgladiators.com.