Photo: Amanda Hertel Gladiators' Bradd Nunn shoots on Orlando netminder Patrick Killeen on Friday.
DULUTH -- The Gwinnett Gladiators got off to a good start and controlled the rest of the game to beat Orlando 3-1 on Friday, the second win in as many nights over the Solar Bears.
The division-leading Gladiators play Orlando, the South's basement dwellers, again at home at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
"I thought we played well and did a lot of the little things right," said Justin Bowers, who scored the game's second goal after getting two against the Solar Bears on Thursday. "We got good goaltending, too.
"But there are still areas where we need to get better. We need to be better in front of their net and bang in some more garbage goals. But definitely we will take the win and move on."
The Gladiators (39-25-2-1, 81 points) scored a pair of goals 36 seconds apart to stake themselves to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Defenseman Cody Brookwell teed off on a quick shot from the top of the circle and it trickled under goalie Zoltan Hetenyi at 7:28 of the first period.
Bowers doubled that lead on a sharp-angle shot from below the goal line at 8:04. Bowers' shot hit the side of Hetenyi's mask and, as the goaltender turned his head to look for the puck, sent it into the net.
Hetenyi's bad luck continued when he went to smother an incoming puck with his glove and missed. Scott Arnold followed his own rebound and lifted the puck over Hetenyi for a 3-0 lead at 5:00 of the second period.
That was the end of Hetenyi's night, pulled in favor of Patrick Killeen, who played a night earlier in Gwinnett's comeback win.
"I think our forwards needed to be a little more responsible (after Thursday) and so did our 'D'," Bowers said. "I think our forwards got caught forcing too much offensively and then we weren't ready to work back to our zone defensively. Kind of our 'D' was doing the same thing. They were thinking about offensive chances instead of being simple and played like we're supposed to play.
"I think we made the adjustment pretty well tonight."
Goaltender Louis Domingue had his bid for a fourth shutout spoiled with 52 seconds remaining and Killeen pulled for the extra attacker. Derek Martin's shot skipped over Domingue and rolled over the goal line, but that was all Orlando (26-32-3-3, 58 points) could get.
The two teams finish out the three-game set in a Sunday matinee.
"A team like Orlando is dangerous because they have nothing to lose," Bowers said. "A lot of guys over there are trying to earn contracts for next year. So we have to respect them as a team. We can't take them lightly."