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Florida hands Gladiators first shutout loss

Gwinnett’s Nathan Martine (5) clears the puck for netminder Chris Rawlings as Kurtis Bartliff (16) holds back Florida’s Kellan Tochkin (18) during Friday’s game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

Gwinnett’s Nathan Martine (5) clears the puck for netminder Chris Rawlings as Kurtis Bartliff (16) holds back Florida’s Kellan Tochkin (18) during Friday’s game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

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Gladiator Nathan Martine (5) tangles up with Florida’s Trevor Bruess (7) to defend a teammate during Friday’s game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

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With Florida goalie Kristers Gudlevskis out of position, a shot from Gwinnett forward Dirk Southern goes wide of the net as he’s defended by Florida’s Carl Nielsen during Friday’s game at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

DULUTH — After a nine-goal game between the two teams Thursday night, the Gwinnett Gladiators were shut out 3-0 by the Florida Everblades on Friday.

Gwinnett (4-9-0-0) was unable to capitalize on scoring chances throughout the game despite a solid defensive performance. Head coach Rick Emmett knew his team had a good chance to take two in a row from a strong Florida team.

“When you get those opportunities, you have to make the most of them,” Emmett said. “Their opportunities they made good of and we didn’t.”

Just when it looked as if the first intermission would come with the game scoreless, Sacha Guimond fanned on a shot from the point. Florida’s Matthew Pistilli picked up the puck and led an odd-man rush down the ice. He connected with Mathieu Roy who put it past goalie Chris Rawlings for his third goal of the season with just six seconds left in the period to give the Everblades (9-2-1-1) a 1-0 lead.

The second period was goal free, but not without its fair share of drama and scoring opportunities once again for the Gladiators. Just 3:43 into the period, Florida’s Austin Levi was called for a double minor giving Gwinnett a four-minute man advantage. But the Gladiators could not get the equalizer, failing to get a shot on goal until the closing seconds of the power play. Florida, on the other hand, was able to get off three shots while killing the penalty.

There were 13 penalties in the second period and Gwinnett was the beneficiary of the majority of them. Late in the period, the Gladiators had a short 5-on-3 advantage as five Everblades occupied the penalty box at one point. But Gwinnett came up empty again.

The Gladiators outshot Florida 29-26, but went 0-for-5 on the power play, including one 2:57 into the final period when they still trailed by just a single goal. As another chance slipped away and the game was winding down, the Everblades put the pressure on. Kyle Bonis added his eighth and ninth goals of the season at 13:44 and 17:29 to solidify the victory for Florida.

“I think our second chances at times could have been more pronounced or more available to us,” Emmett said. “Any night it’s tough to win back-to-back nights, but teams are doing it in this league and we’re capable of doing and going forward we fully expect to do it as well.”