Gladiators win fifth straight on Jones' OT goal

ORLANDO, Fla. — Marietta native Doug Jones’ overtime tally lifted the Gwinnett Gladiators to their fifth straight win Wednesday night, 2-1 over the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center.

The win keeps Gwinnett (8-3-1-0) atop the South Division and the Eastern Conference. After starting the season 0-2-1-0, the Gladiators have won eight of their last nine games.

Gwinnett forward Tony Lucia took the puck off an Orlando (5-4-1-1) giveaway in the extra period and raced in on goaltender John Curry. Lucia’s initial shot was stopped, but the rebound trickled out to the near side and Jones was there to hammer it home for his seventh tally of the season at 2:05 to end the night.

Mike Lee continued his hot play between the pipes for the Gladiators, stopping 26 of 27 shots for the win. He has now allowed only four goals in his last four starts, posting a 3-1 record over that stretch.

Coyotes prospect Evan Bloodoff picked up the lone goal of the first shorthanded, finishing a 2-on-1 rush with Christian Ouellet to make it a 1-0 game at 16:51. With the goal, Bloodoff extended his point streak to a Gladiators season high five games, and he now has at least a point in six of eight games with Gwinnett.

Orlando drew even in the second period, as Matthew Sisca’s third goal of the season at 4:24 sent the game into the third tied at 1-1.

Both teams struggled on the man advantage, with Gwinnett going 0-for-5 and Orlando going 0-for-6.

The Gladiators are right back in action Thursday night at 7 p.m. from the Amway Center for another matchup with the Solar Bears.