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Late goal ends Gladiators' win streak at eight

DULUTH -- Gwinnett goaltender Mike Lee has left opponents shaking their heads time and time again this season.

It was the Gladiators shooters, though, who were left frustrated Saturday night.

Nathan Lieuwen made 33 saves for Greenville and Steven Delisle beat Lee on a shot from the point with 5.7 seconds left as the Road Warriors snapped Gwinnett's eight-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory.

The loss, before a disappointed crowd of 5,460 in the Arena at Gwinnett Center, kept the Gladiators from setting a Gwinnett record for consecutive wins and dropped them into a tie for first place in the ECHL's South Division with Greenville at 23 points.

It looked like overtime was ahead until Greenville, who had been kept in the game early by Lieuwen, struck unexpectedly.

The Road Warriors (11-4-0-1) moved the puck to the point and Delisle let fly with a shot that sailed through heavy traffic in front of the net and past Lee high to his glove side.

It was Delisle's first goal of the season. Sean Berkstresser and Brandon Wong got assists on the game winner.

Lee, who was coming off his second honor as ECHL goaltender of the week, made 27 saves, including 12 in the final period. But he couldn't get the Gladiators to overtime.

Ryland Galiardi had a power-play goal for Gwinnett in the second period after Brenden Connolly had scored earlier in the frame for Greenville.

The Gladiators (11-4-1-0) came in with 11 victories in their past 12 games and their eight-game winning streak had tied the Gwinnett record first set during the 2005-2006 season.

The Gladiators play at South Carolina today and then return home to play back-to-back games with Orlando on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Gwinnett dominated the first period, out-shooting Greenville 16-6. But the Gladiators couldn't get the puck past the 6-foot-5 Lieuwen, who came in with an unimpressive 3.49 goals-against average and .887 save percentage.

When someone finally scored 4:01 into the second period it was Greenville. Connolly picked off the puck near the blue line and skated in on Lee, lifting a shot over the Gwinnett goalie's glove. It was Connolly's seventh goal.

Lee came into the game with a 1.82 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

The Gladiators tied in at 9:23 of the period on a power play. Dallas Jackson's shot from the point was deflected and Galiardi slipped the puck between Lieuwen's pads and into the net for his seventh goal. Casey Pierro-Zabotel also had an assist on the play.

Gwinnett's Justin Weller drove a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for driving Connolly into the end boards 5:40 into the third period. But Gwinnett was able to keep the game tied despite having Greenville spend more than a minute with a two-man advantage after further penalties.

Greenville was 0-for-5 on the power play and Gwinnett 1-for-3.

It was the second time that the Road Warriors had won at the Arena this season. They did it in overtime on Oct. 20, winning 3-2. Gwinnett had a regulation victory at Greenville the next day, the 4-3 decision getting them on track after starting 0-2-1-0.

All the news hadn't been good for the Gladiators. Veteran forward Joey Haddad had to go on the 21-day injured reserve list because of an undisclosed upper body issue and defenseman Sean Duddy retired to return to school in pursuit of a law degree.

Gwinnett signed rookie forward Alex Belzile, but he didn't play against Greenville. The 21-year-old had 92 points in 63 games last season with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.