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Galivan leads Gladiators' comeback against Trenton

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DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Gladiators got their first lead of the game with 1:45 left in regulation and defeated lowly Trenton 8-6 in an offensive blitzkrieg Friday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

The Gladiators added an empty netter after Pat Galivan's second goal of the game finally pushed them past the Titans. Galivan deflected a laser from the point by defenseman Dallas Jackson and snapped Gwinnett's three-game losing streak with a wild finish.

"Across the board, we didn't play with enough detail," head coach John Wroblewski said. "Across the board, our work ethic wasn't very good. Across the board, we played a very average hockey game.

"While there were very, very unique and special individual performances, those don't overshadow the fact that as a team we were not very good tonight."

Galivan added three assists to his two goals. Tyler Murovich had two goals and an assist. Justin Milo and Bryan Brutlag each had a goal and an assist. Those performances helped the Gladiators get back on a winning track after losing four of their last five.

"I wouldn't call this game a success by any means," Wroblewski said. "I'm extremely grateful for the guys who put goals and points up on the board tonight. But their production didn't come from an overabundance of having the hardest wrist shot or the hardest slap shot of being the best passer.

"Their production came because of their defining skill -- and that's effort, hard work and pride. That's something that we can build off of, but it's something we have to get to uniformly."

Trenton, last in the Eastern Conference, held off the Gladiators for 58 minutes. The game was tied four times, but Gwinnett (31-17-7-4, 73 points) scored the last four goals and walked away with two big points.

"We've been on a skid and these are the games you can turn a season around on," Brutlag said. "We haven't fallen off the face of the earth or anything. We're still (a point out of) first place right now.

"I think it's confidence more than anything. We've had a lot of new guys come in. It's different playing with them, but they fit in well. We've got a great team."

Gwinnett played catch-up for the first 30 minutes and an furious exchange of four goals in just under four minutes left the game right where it started. Tied.

The offenses found another gear at 6:43 of the second period when Trenton scored the first of two goals less than 90 seconds apart to grab a 4-2 lead.

That spelled the end of goalie Ryan Zapolski's night. Joe Palmer took over between the pipes and the Gladiators responded with their own pair of goals in a 45-second span.

First Brutlag slid through the slot and scored on the backhand at 9:49.

Murovich brought Gwinnett even at 10:34, slamming home a rebound. Murovich and Milo broke into the zone on a 2-on-1 rush. Milo's shot was turned away by goalie Dave Caruso -- and right to Murovich, who buried his 16th goal of the season.

Trenton scored twice more -- these just 1:54 apart early in the third period -- to leave the Gladiators with a 6-4 hole to climb out of.

The rally started when Andy Brandt jammed a bouncing rebound over Caruso, a former Gladiator, at 10:23 of the third. Brandt pushed his second attempt from the post up and over the Roswell native to make it 6-5.

Defenseman Corey Fienhage jumped on a loose puck in the high slot to make it an even dozen goals scored. Fienhage, recently reassigned from the AHL, buried a heavy shot at 14:55.

Galivan's team-leading 22nd goal of the season completed the comeback as Gwinnett played the first of three games in as many days.

"I was talking to guys on the bench and oddly enough, it kind of felt like we were in control of the game," Brutlag said. "We kind of gave them what they got."