EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Five different Gladiators found the back of the net Sunday at the Ford Center, as Gwinnett cruised to a 5-2 win over the Evansville IceMen.
The Gladiators (4-3-1-0) finished their five-game road trip with a 4-1 record, and kept the IceMen (0-6-1-0) winless on the season. Goalie Ryan Zapolski stopped 29 of 31 shots in his first start of the season, while Rob Madore (23 saves) took the loss for Evansville.
Gladiators defenseman Dallas Jackson drew first blood, snapping a shot over the right shoulder of Madore from the far circle at 5:15 with Chris Clackson assisting. Evansville had a quick answer however, as Daniel Tetrault put a one-timer from in close past Ryan Zapolski to tie the game 33 seconds later.
The lone goal of the second period came on a scuffle in front of the Evansville net on a Gladiators power play. Gwinnett had one shot stopped by Madore, another blocked by a sliding defenseman in the crease, but it was Clackson at the right place at the right time as he slid in the rebound for a 2-1 Gladiators lead at 15:17. Casey Pierro-Zabotel picked up the assist, and Gwinnett carried the lead into the third.
Early in the period, Christian Ouellet gave the Gladiators some breathing room. The forward scooped the puck off the near boards, worked his way to the crease and deked out Madore before tucking the puck inside the far post for a 3-1 lead at 2:03.
Doug Jones pushed the lead to three goals with a wicked snap shot from the far circle at 6:56 with Pierro-Zabotel assisting. Coming into action Sunday Jones had been tied for the ECHL lead in rookie scoring. Evansville tried to make a game of it at 15:13 with a power play goal from Josh Beaulieu, but a Tyler Murovich empty-netter courtesy of Evan Bloodoff and Ryan Donald sealed the 5-2 Gladiators win.
Gwinnett returns home for its next game against the Orlando Solar Bears on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:05 p.m.