Despite a valiant late push the Gwinnett Gladiators fell short Saturday night at the Amway Center, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Orlando Solar Bears.
John Curry made 28 saves for Orlando (1-2) between the pipes, including several highlight reel stops down the stretch to protect a one-goal Solar Bear lead. Louis Domingue took the loss for the Gladiators (0-3), making 21 saves.
Dirk Southern managed to solve Curry and tie the game at two just 70 seconds into the third period, taking an Evan Bloodoff pass and rifling a shot in low glove side. The even score was short-lived however, as Scott Tanski hammered home a one-timer from Ian Slater just 1:24 later for what proved to be the game-winner.
Gwinnett has several chances on the power play late in the period, but Curry stood tall and Eric Baier buried an empty-netter with one second left to seal the 4-2 Solar Bears win.
Orlando jumped out to a lead just 19 seconds into the game, as C.J. Severyn beat Domingue with a low wrister from the slot. The Solar Bears pushed the lead to two at 17:04, with Kory Nagy cashing in on a short-handed two-on-one.
Gwinnett answered just 1:50 later though. After Keven Veilleux was denied on a breakaway a minute prior, Dirk Southern found Veilleux alone in the low slot, and the Coyotes prospect deked out Curry and lifted a shot over the keeper’s glove to cut the deficit to one. Joey Haddad had the second assist.
The Gladiators threatened several times in the second period, but Orlando was able to preserve its 2-1 lead into the third.
Both teams meet again Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the Amway Center, before returning to Gwinnett for a 7:05 p.m. matchup next Wednesday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
The Gladiators are members of the ECHL, the nation’s premier “AA” hockey league and are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL. All home games are played at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
For all the latest team news, contests, and more visit GwinnettGladiators.com, or “like” the Gladiators on Facebook (Facebook.com/GwinnettGladiators), and follow the team on Twitter (Twitter.com/GWTGladiators).