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Gladiators battle back, but fall in OT to Idaho

DULUTH — Despite a good showing from their special teams, the Gwinnett Gladiators lost 6-5 in overtime to Idaho on Sunday.

The Steelheads got the game-winner 1:04 into overtime, banging away on top of goalie Louis Domingue. It was a very similar goal to Gwinnett's first of the game. Both netminders disputed both goals. Both counted and the Steelheads evened the series after falling to the Gladiators a night earlier.

Gwinnett (27-17-2-1, 57 points) scored twice on the power play and once short-handed in a back-and-forth battle against a West Coast visitor.

The teams combined for five goals in the second period and ended up tied 4-4. The Gladiators scored three straight to change a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead before Idaho answered to even it up late.

Jason Clark started the comeback with a power-play goal 2:01 into the second. Rookie defenseman Sacha Guimond dropped down to the top of the circle and fed a backhanded pass to Clark in the slot. Clark hammered it home, his second goal of the season.

Gwinnett tied it on a short-handed goal by Doug Jones and Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Jones stole the puck in the neutral zone and danced in for a shot on goal. The rebound kicked over to the far post where Pierro-Zabotel was there to shovel a backhander past sprawling goalie Tyler Beskorowany at 14:08.

The Gladiators took their first lead at 15:51 on a putback from captain Andy Brandt. Scott Arnold drove the net, getting off the initial shot, but also colliding with Beskorowany. Brandt banged the rebound for a 4-3 lead at 15:51. Beskorowany, who played last season with AHL Texas, appealed to the ref and didn't get the interference call he wanted.

The Steelheads tied it on their second power-play tally at 17:49 to tie it 4-4 and then grabbed a 5-4 lead on an unassisted shot from the top of the circle by James Isaacs.

But that advantage was short-lived. The Gladiators tied it 35 seconds later. Joey Haddad rushed into the Idaho zone, driving through the circle and ripped a wrister five-hole.

Both goals were scored during 4-on-4 play.

Only three of the game's 10 goals in regulation were scored at full strength.

Idaho (27-11-1-4, 59 points) scored first on a 5-on-3 when Jones (unsportsmanlike conduct) and Alex Belzile (slashing) went to the box at the same time. Rookie Austin Fyten was open on the backdoor and smashed the cross-crease feed past goalie Louis Domingue at 8:30.

The Gladiators tied it on power play at 13:31, banging away during a scrum on top of Beskorowany. Belzile finally pushed the puck over the line as Beskorowany fell backward.

But the Steelheads jumped in front again on a goal Domingue certainly would want back.

Ian Watters carried the puck through the neutral zone, alone but picking up speed. He snapped off a shot as he crossed the blue line and started to turn to go to the bench for a line change. Watters looked as surprised as anyone when it ended up in the net behind Domingue for a 2-1 lead at 15:03.

Idaho pushed its lead to 3-1 just 14 seconds into the second period. Justin Taylor won a battle in the corner and got it to David Toews along the wall. Toews found Ben Ondrus alone on the far post and he didn't miss the open net.