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Gladiators continue upswing, win third straight

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Brad Phillips made 34 saves and the Gwinnett Gladiators ended their weekend futility with their third straight victory, a 3-2 triumph Sunday over the Fort Wayne Komets at Allen County Memorial Coliseum.

Bobby Hughes chipped in two assists against his old team for the Gladiators (10-17-0-2), with Maxime Legault burying the winner in the third. The victory was Gwinnett’s first on a Saturday or Sunday this season (1-12).

Both teams swapped goals in the opening period. Brandon Marino’s team-leading 13th tally of the season put the Komets (11-11-1-4) ahead at 7:26, but the Gladiators bounced back. Coyotes prospect Josh Currie cut down the left wing side of the Komets zone, deked to the slot, and let a wrister fly over the glove of Ben Meisner to tie the game at 17:07. Antoine Corbin and Hughes had the assists.

The lone goal of the second period came from long distance. A little over eight minutes into the stanza, Brenden Walker took an outlet pass from Kirill Tulupov and let a slap shot loose from the just inside the red line that flew under the glove of Meisner to push Gwinnett ahead 2-1 through 40 minutes.

In the third, Legault bought the Gladiators some breathing room, putting a shot past Meisner from the far side on the power play at 10:21 with assists coming from Brett Lyon and Rob Kwiet, two former Komets.

Fort Wayne cut the lead in half, with a two-man advantage coupled with an empty net, the 6-on-3 edge led to a goal from the low slot for Simon Denis-Pepin with just 39 seconds to go in the third. The Gladiators stood tall the rest of the way though to improve to 7-0 when leading after two.

Gwinnett is next in action Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. in Evansville.