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Gladiators lose to Greenville for second straight night

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Connor Shields scored the game-winner and the Greenville Road Warriors knocked off the Gwinnett Gladiators for the second straight night 3-1 Friday at the BI-LO Center.

Greenville (21-13-1-1) took over first place in the South Division with the win.

Shields extended his point streak to six games early in the third, beating Gwinnett goalie Marc Cheverie on a clean breakaway after a terrific outlet pass from Jyri Niemi at 3:12. Brett Robinson then added his sixth goal in his past seven games at 15:11 to give Greenville a 3-1 win.

It took a while for either team to find the back of the net, but after a scoreless first period the Gladiators (17-11-6-3) got on the board late in the second.

With just 1:50 left, Gwinnett took advantage of a Greenville turnover. Forward Aaron Bendickson, again enlisted for weekend duty, broke into the zone all-alone with Pat Galivan. Bendickson fed a perfect centering pass to Gwinnett's leading scorer who beat goalie Bryan Hince top shelf for a 1-0 lead. Galivan now has a goal in three straight games, and Andy Brandt also got an assist on the play.

But that was the only goal Hince allowed and the Road Warriors found a way to answer before the second came to an end.

With just 28 seconds left in the period, defenseman T.J. Reynolds took a pass in the slot and beat Cheverie with a wrist shot through a screen to draw Greenville even.

Cheverie made 33 saves in a losing cause while Hince won his fourth straight start for the Warriors, stopping 28 of 29 shots.

Both teams meet for the third time in the three days tonight at 7:05 p.m. at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. It is Gwinnett's annual Teddy Bear Toss night where fans can bring a stuffed toy to the game to throw on the ice after the Gladiators' first goal. Those toys will be donated to local children's charities.