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Gladiators fall to Stingrays 5-2

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC -- Maxime Lacroix posted a hat trick to lift the South Carolina Stingrays to a 5-2 win over the Gwinnett Gladiators on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.

Gwinnett (30-15-7-4) remains in first in the South Division and Eastern Conference, while the Stingrays (30-22-3-1) remain in third.

South Carolina finished 3-for-9 on the power play, while Gwinnett went 2-for-7 in a penalty-filled contest.

South Carolina built up its lead to 4-0 in the second period, as Lacroix scored twice to cap his hat trick.

But the Gladiators answered, starting with a Tyler Murovich power-play goal at 12:36 off assists from Bryan Brutlag and Justin Milo.

Milo added another power-play goal at 17:40 to cut the deficit back to two. Brutlag and Paul Flache assisted as the Gladiators bombarded Rays goaltender Philipp Grubauer with a series of chances before Milo finally snuck a shot passed him through traffic from the bottom of the far circle.

Despite the late rally Gwinnett was unable to mount much of a comeback in the third, and the only goal of the frame came on a Rays power play at 8:57 off the stick of former Gladiator Chris Higgins.