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Greenville surges past Gladiators with three-goal 2nd

Gwinnett’s Philippe Halley breakaway attempt is spoiled by Greenville’s Charlie Dodero. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

Gwinnett’s Philippe Halley breakaway attempt is spoiled by Greenville’s Charlie Dodero. (Photo: Amanda Hertel)

DULUTH — The Gwinnett Gladiators negated power plays with penalties four times and were shut out for the second time in just over a week Saturday.

This time it was Greenville blanking the Gladiators in a 3-0 affair that gave the 5,419 on hand at the Arena at Gwinnett Center little to cheer.

It was the second loss to the Road Warriors in as many days and increases the ground Gwinnett (5-12-0-0) must make up in order to climb out of the ECHL South Division’s basement.

“They scored three goals in matter of seven minutes,” Gladiators head coach Rick Emmett said. “They scored two goals in 3 ½ minutes last night. So I’d say that’s pretty consistent (a storyline).”

Greenville (7-7-1-1) dominated the second period and raced out to the 3-0 lead. Maybe frustrated by a number of near misses and unsavory bounces in the first period, the Gladiators were adrift in the second period. They spent most of it defending and never got much set up in the way of offense, a marked departure from the opening 20 minutes.

“That’s just it, it’s going OK (in the first),” Emmett said. “Just OK. Guys aren’t getting the job done with the puck on their stick.”

The Road Warriors weathered an early storm and put the pressure on after the first intermission.

A snappy passing play, capped by Marc-Olivier Vallerand on the backdoor, was the first parry at 2:28.

Sean Berkstresser broke out of his season-long goal less drought in a big way with the next two goals at 5:03 and 9:35.

He hammered a point-blank shot by goalie Peter Delmas and persevered after a 3-on-1 was defused. Gwinnett’s Kirill Tulupov did an excellent job defending the original chance, but the Gladiators failed to gain control of the puck and Berkstresser made them pay.

“(It wasn’t the goalie’s fault) tonight or last night,” Emmett said.

Gwinnett had a brief surge to start the third, but that quickly faded and Greenville pushed its lead over the Gladiators in the division standings to six points.

The team has a few days off before playing against former Gwinnett head coach Jeff Pyle’s Evansville IceMen on Thanksgiving.