Gwinnett netminder Chris Rawlings makes a huge save on a breakaway from South Carolina's Chad Painchaud (10) during Sunday's game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center (Photo: Amanda Hertel).
DULUTH — Through the first 30 minutes of play, the Gwinnett Gladiators held a lead and were holding firm on defense, but after 60 minutes, it was the South Carolina Stingrays that came out on top.
The Stingrays won 4-2 and swept the three-game weekend series between the two teams.
Maxime Legault gave the Gladiators an early 1-0 lead in the first period when he cashed in on a Josh Currie shot that squeaked through the Stingrays starting goaltender Adam Morrison and stayed in the crease. Jeremie Malouin also picked up an assist on the goal at 2:29. Gladiators goaltender Chris Rawlings was sterling in the first, making all 10 saves on the 10 shots he faced.
The Gladiators (1-7-0-0) kept the momentum of the first period going through the early part of the second, peppering opportunities in on Morrison. At 2:14 of the second period, Kurtis Bartliff doubled up the Gwinnett lead by scoring on a wrap-around chance. He picked up the puck behind the net immediately after Malouin was stumped out front from point blank range.
From there, the Stingrays (7-0-0-1) scored two of their own in the second when Peter Boyd scored on a broken play at 7:54, and Jordan Owens deflected a shot from Igor Gongalsky on the power play at 14:00. Though South Carolina had taken the advantage on opportunities later in the second, Rawlings was able to stonewall a late breakaway opportunity from Chad Painchaud with under 30 seconds left when Painchaud received a loose puck as he was crossing over his offensive blue line. Despite the dekes from right out front, the North Delta, British Columbia native stuck with Painchaud and made the save.
Peter Boyd lit the lamp again at 2:19 to start the third period, and then laid a dangerous knee-on-knee hit on Josh Currie around the eight minute mark. Legault defended his teammate - who returned to play minutes later - and dropped the gloves with Boyd, but it was South Carolina that fed off the controversial non-call, scoring their fourth unanswered goal at 8:28 on Owens’ second tally of the night.